Friday, October 21, 2011
Counting Calories, Easy As Pie!
I'm one who believes that if you eat a healthy, nutrient rich meal for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a couple snacks, a calorie balance should follow pretty effortlessly (at least when compared to a processed food diet.) However you should never just assume that you're consuming the correct number of calories to lose, maintain, or gain weight. Guess work here usually leads to wrong answers, unfortunately.
So how do you go about counting calories? It seems like a pretty daunting task at first thought, I mean I'm willing to bet a lot of stuff you eat you either won't remember the serving size you had, or plain won't know the nutritional information of the food. Plus, it's not going to be easy to add up all those calories in your head, and you'd definitely lose any little piece of paper you tried to write it down on. If only there was a system that would easily keep track of your calories, and might also let you know exactly how many calories were in each food you eat. If only!
Oh wait, we live in the 21st century. There are hundreds of programs that will count your calories for you, and most of these programs have a little search bar where you can type in any sort of food you ate, and it'll bring up the nutritional information for that food (or a similar one) so you can write it down. It's like a little heavenly gift! And these programs will make sure you stay right on track for caloric intake. Here are a few of my favorite calorie counters:
Livestrong.com calorie counting app.
I use this one every single day. I have it on my iPhone, and I can almost guarantee it's my most utilized app. In this app you can search a database of thousands upon thousands of foods, all complete with nutritional information, enter what serving size you had, and it will automatically enter the correct number of calories into your daily total. You can also do custom entries if it doesn't happen to have your food but you know the nutritional information anyway. You can also enter your caloric goal for the day, and it'll tell you how close you are to it.
This app also can keep track of calories burned, and has an equally large list of exercises/activities and how many calories each one burns per minute. Pretty darn nifty. I'd highly recommend this app, it's helped me out for months.
Online Calorie Counters:
These are the same deal as the app, with a few more foods to choose from, and a bigger screen to work on. These websites are incredibly numerous, so I see no excuse for not trying them out. Such Websites include CalorieKing.com, TheCaloriecounter.com, livestrong.com, everydayhealth.com, the list goes on. All offer that neat little search bar and a huge lists of foods with all the nutrition information you could ever need. Don't be blind to what your food contains. Try one of these out today.
Again I personally recommend livestrong.com, they seem to be the most easy to use and have the most free features.
Automatic Diet Creators:
One of the more interesting websites I've come across regarding diets and calories is a site called Swoleme.com. This website will generate a diet for you based on your desired macros (ratios of carbs/protein/fat that are optimal for your goals.) Macros can be tricky to figure out, and while theoretically it's only the number of calories at the end of the day that will determine whether you lose weight or not, having the right ratio balance could definitely speed up the process.
This website can generate a diet for you based on how many calories you'd like to eat in how many meals. Not sure about how many you need to eat? No problem! Swoleme has a calorie calculator that you can enter your height, weight, age, and activity level into to find out how many calories you'd need to eat to maintain your weight, lose some weight, or bulk up a little. And based on my calculations, it's numbers for me are right on the money.
This website shows you macro graphs, tells you what they mean, and what these particular macros are optimal for. Probably one of the best calorie/diet related websites out there in my opinion. Try it out now!
A little example of what Swoleme looks like.
I'll put a link at the bottom of the article.
So now it's your turn. Download an app, try out one of those websites, or do a little research and find a site that works even better for you than one I mentioned. And if you find one, please come back to this article and post it in the comments section, I'd really like to see what you found.
There's really no limit to how helpful these programs can be. Keep counting, keep eating, and good luck!
Swoleme.com Diet Generator