Calorie counting can seem like a daunting process, and most people’s biggest fear is that they won’t have enough time to do it. So I thought I’d provide some tips on how to make counting calories easier.
I get it, sometimes it’s hard, and downright frustrating.
But don’t worry, because I got your back.
All you gotta do, is read this whole article.
No skipping, no skimming.
Read the article left to right, top to bottom, then read it backwards, and then one more time while standing on your head.
I guess you can skip the last part if you really want to.
Okay so we got a deal? Let’s do it.
How To Make Calorie Counting Easier
Does Calorie Counting Work?
For some, calorie counting is a great tool to bring some awareness of how much you’re actually eating.
For others, calorie counting can lead down a dark hole of obsessing about every gram of spinach, and if you go one calorie over your target, it triggers a complete breakdown.
The key is knowing which type you are.
So if you are the type of person that feels anxious by the idea of tracking their food intake, as to what it might do to your relationship with food, then this option might not be for you.
If you struggle with an eating disorder, calorie counting is not for you. And your first priority should be working on that. I highly suggest visiting psychologytoday.com and seek out a licensed mental health professional to help you.
However, if this is not an issue for you, than calorie counting can be an amazing tool for not only weight loss, but also increased strength, and gaining muscle.
Just ask my online coaching client, Kate
Who’s lost 30 pounds over the last 9 months working with me, all while counting her calories.
Thankfully, she wears those douchey sunglasses in every progress picture, for the lulz.
You can also ask my online coaching client, Heidi.
Who’s lost 45 pounds over the course of about 10 months working with me. Again, all while counting her calories.
And she used a lot of the strategies I’m going to outline below. And she still enjoyed some pizza from time to time.
Unfortunately, she didn’t wear any douchey sunglasses though.
Calorie counting works so well because weight loss comes down to being in a calorie deficit.
Weight loss, gain, or maintenance ultimately comes down to a simple equation of energy balance.
And if you are tracking your calories, this gives you a direct view as to whether you are taking in the correct amount of calories for your goals.
When you want to save money, it’s a good idea to keep track of a financial budget.
It’s a lot easier to save money if you are keeping track of your finances, and where your money is going.
It’s a lot easier to hit your goals if you keep track of your calories, and what you are eating.
How To Make Calorie Counting Easier
Tip #1 Don’t Change Things Up All The Time
Important to remember, that this is an article on how to make calorie counting easier.
So before you pushback at this and say “Nick, I don’t want to to eat the same thing all the time.” I get it.
But it is going to make it easier.
The more you change up your diet, and have different recipes and foods, the harder tracking calories is going to become.
The cool thing about MyFitnessPal is that it remembers your habits.
If you’re having similar foods, you can literally copy and paste them from one day to the next.
I’m the type of person that has the same breakfast every day.
And every morning, when I start tracking my calories, I swipe from the right to “Add Breakfast From Yesterday”
Not only does this save you time in opening the app, and selecting the foods that go in.
It also saves you time on making the decision of what to make for meals, and what to buy at the grocery store.
It creates a habit, and once a habit is formed, it’s easier to stick to.
Tip #2 Foods With Barcodes Can Be Your Friend
“But Nick, calorie tracking takes so much time.”
How much time does it really take to open your phone and scan a barcode?
You did it with restaurant menus for all of 2020, and it took you all of 7.3 seconds.
The great thing about foods with a barcode is, you know exactly how many calories are in the package.
Not only that, but there is little to no preparation involved.
Take this yogurt for example
It’s as easy as scanning the barcode, opening the lid, inserting spoon, and increasing enjoyment.
You don’t have to worry about how much is in each serving, because it’s already portioned out.
Okay fine, sometimes it’s more complex than that.
Let’s take this package of rice for example.
It’s still as simple as scan the barcode, follow instructions, enjoy delicious rice within a minute.
Food with a barcode are convenient. And if you’re worried about how much time it’s going to take to count your calories, convenience is key.
Tip #3 It Pays To Plan Ahead
I’ve already touched on how it pays off to eat similar foods, and how this helps you to not have to think too much about what you’re eating.
So if you already have an idea of how you’re day is going to look, you can log it all ahead of time.
Either the night before, or morning of, start entering what you plan on having into MyFitnessPal, that way you don’t have to do it throughout the day.
So now, you’re day is already setup ahead of you, all you have to do is follow the plan you’ve laid out.
Sure, it takes a little front end work to set this up. But it shouldn’t take you any more than 10 minutes of your day, and it leads to less time worrying about decision making.
If you end up deviating from the plan a bit, you can always go back and edit, you’ve still got a great groundwork set up for yourself.
How To Make Counting Calories Eaiser
Tip #4 Estimate When You Have To
But hold on, Nick! I just got my white New Balance sneakers all polished up, and my wife and I are going out to Outback Steakhouse tonight to split a Bloomin’ Onion!
No problem, search for the entrée, appetizers, drinks, etc., you’re having today, most chain restaurants have their calories in MyFitnessPal.
Going out to the local town diner? No problem there either.
Search for a dish that’s relatively close to what you had. It may be a few calories off in either direction, but at least you’re close.
A lot of people get deterred from calorie tracking when they go out to eat. You don’t have to let it come to a grinding halt the minute you want to go to lunch with your co-workers at the office.
You can stay on track and go out to eat.
It may not be perfect, but it at least gives you a bit of accountability.
Tip #5 Eat The Right Amount Of Calories
The most common reason people feel restricted around calorie counting isn’t from the counting of calories itself.
It comes from the over-restriction of calories.
Many people trying to lose weight will set their calorie target to 1,200 calories, which you should not be doing.
If you set your calorie target too low, it’s going to be nearly impossible to stick to.
So if you really want to make calorie counting easier. Find the correct amount of calories for your goal.
You can do that by getting my Free Calorie Calculator, and find out what your goal calorie target is.
How To Make Counting Calories Easier
How To Make Calorie Counting Easier: Final Thoughts
Okay so there you have it. If you want to make calorie counting easier, keep it simple.
The less you can overcomplicate everything, the more successful you’re going to be.
I hope you enjoyed this article, and if you have any thoughts, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.
So the last time I used that app, I had an online trainer that had me worrying about macro and micro nutrients, all the small details. For me, I just want to count calories, “good” or “bad”. So I need to pay attention to any of the other numbers? My calorie intake based on your calculator was ~1700.
Hey Sondra! This is a great question.
I don’t think worrying about the small details is necessary for 99% of people. Especially if you’re just concerned with being a little healthier overall.
The only other thing I’d suggest to keep track of is protein. A good rule of thumb is 0.7-1 * your bodyweight in pounds. That’s how many grams you should eat. As long as calories and protein are in check, you’re good!