How to count calories to lose weight (101 Guide)

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How To Count Calories 101

The easiest way to lose weight and burn fat is to know how to count calories. Ok, this is not rocket science, calories are basically energy, just as the fat stored in your belly. In order to lose weight you need to eat less than what your body uses so it takes its energy in your fat. If you eat more than what you need, your body will store the excess energy in fat.

By knowing how to count your calories you can wisely chose what you eat to get full, satisfy your nutritional needs and lose fat.

What is a calorie and how many should I eat

A calorie is the energy needed to raise the temperature of 1g of water by 1 °C. The calories we count in food are actually kilocalories (1000 calories).

In order to burn 1 pound of fat you'll need to burn 3600 calories.

So the amount of calories you need will depend on your metabolism speed and your daily activity. The more muscles you build, the more calories you burn daily.

It is said that each pound of muscle burns 70 calories/day at rest! 

"Cardio is like paying off a credit card bill, strength training is like paying for a house. Both useful but only one builds an asset." 

Find out about how many calories you need every day : Daily Calorie CalculatorThis calculator will give you your BMR (basal metabolic rate) as well as how many calories you need to eat for your weight loss needs. You need to cut 500 to 1000 calories from your menu daily to lose 1-2 pounds.

  • (500x7=3500/week, so you lose about 1 pound)
  • (1000x7=7000/week so you'd lose about 2 pounds).

Nutritionists will usually tell you that it is healthy to lose 2 pounds/week. You don't want to go under 1200 calories as that could slow your metabolism down, you will feel your energy drop and re-bounce as soon as you start eating again. Plus you'll lose muscles (if you want to get skinny fat go for it but you'll re-bounce).

In order to lose weight you need to chose wisely where you take your calories from. It's really important to eat enough protein to cut your hunger and preserve your muscles in order to burn fat. Find out how many grams of proteins you need : Protein Calculator and multiply by 4 to know how many calories from protein you need.

How do I count my calories?

Most likely you'll need a food balance and measuring cups. You can find that at Walmart or any store of that kind. So here is the amount of calories in each macronutrient :

  • Proteins : 4 calories per gram
  • Carbohydrates : 4 calories per gram
  • Fats : 9 calories per gram
  • Alcohol : 7 calories per gram

An easy trick to lose weight : get ride of starch and only eat carbohydrates with a lot of fibers. Drop bread, potatoes, pasta and white rice. Keep your carbs under 100g/day and eat healthy fats.

Also make sure you have enough proteins to keep you full and preserve your muscles, not your fat!

You should have around 80% of your body mass (lb) of proteins (in g).

Exemple : if you weight 100 lb, you should have 80g of proteins per day.

Whey Protein Optimum Nutrition

I like to add a whey protein powder to my diet as it tastes good and adds proteins to my diet.

Just know that eating a lot of carbohydrates will raise your insulin level and make you hungry as fat will keep you full longer.

Now to keep track of my calories I use a calorie counter (MyNetDiary) on my phone as it allows me to scan food (they have a free version and also a website for pc). There's a lot of other apps you could chose from. If you lose more or less than 2 pounds per week you can adjust the amount of calories you eat daily.

How to count calories

My Net Diary typical day.

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Author: Myriam

Fitness passionate, civil engineer and now blogger. After losing 45 pounds in a year and maintaining for a few years, I decided to create my website to share my nutrition tips and workouts to help other people achieve their fitness goals and maintain it.

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9 Comments

  1. I have been online on line above 3 hours recently, still We under no circumstances discovered almost any fascinating article such as your own. It truly is wonderful truly worth adequate for me. In person, in the event that almost all site owners plus people made fantastic content as you does, the web is usually a whole lot more handy than previously.

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  2. I have read your blog and find it extremely helpful. However I’m lost and confused with the daily intakes.
    My daily protein calculator suggests 77.3g per day. Do I divide this by 3 to cover my three meals? Does this also apply for the carb and fats?
    I’m a 50 year old female weighing 160 pounds, 5.4 inches tall.

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    • As long as the total is around that at the end of the day it’s fine but I like to have a bit of protein, carbohydrates and fat at every meal. Just note that they are grams of protein, not meat as meat contains water, fat and other things.

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  3. Thank you so much! This was sooo helpful, I’m definitely pinning this so I can refer back to it. I’ve been looking for an article like this for a while and your’s was just perfect! 🙂 God bless you!

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  4. do you recommend the metabolic cooking book?

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  5. I’m a bit confused. I used the calculator to determine that I needed: 108g protein, 23g carb and 147 g fat per day. 108 protein x4 is 412 calories from protein. I get that but then you say to eat 80% of your weight in protein. If I do that I’d be consuming more than 240 grams –more than double the amount the calculator gave me. Am I missing something? Thanks!

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  6. I have looked at various macro charts in the past and I might as well have been reading a Chinese report as they were highly confusing and incomprehensible to me. Your chart, however, is the exception. So easy to use and fully comprehensible. Thank you so much for making the ketogenic way of eating a pleasure just by knowing how to track.

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