How to Actually Count
Here’s where the magic happens.
Plenty of women think that counting calories takes hours every day, or is a massive constraint on their time, but it absolutely isn’t.
In fact, it can take as little as 2 minutes per day using an app on your phone.
The most popular app (meaning it’s among the most user-friendly and has the biggest database) is My Fitness Pal, so it would make sense for you to use that, though if you’ve experimented with others and preferred those, that’s fine too.
Now, whenever you eat something, you need to put it into My Fitness Pal.
This might sound like it takes an age, but it doesn’t.
Let’s say your breakfast was 2 poached eggs on a slice of whole-grain toast, with ½ an avocado and a medium non-fat latte. You’d just search for these in the app, input the amounts of the foods you had, and you’d see a running total of your day’s calories and macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate and fat) so far.
Clearly, by the end of the day, your goal is to hit your protein intake and your calorie intake as you worked out above.
I’d suggest for the first few weeks, you plan your day’s eating the night before if possible, just so you don’t get to the evening and either see that you have loads of food to eat, or that you’ve already gone over and are still hungry.
This isn’t horseshoes…
How Close is Close Enough?
A common question is how close do you need to be.
After all, 96 grams of protein, or 1,511 calories can seem pretty specific.
You need to be accurate, but there’s no need to be perfect. Ideally you’ll hit at least 0.7 grams of protein per pound, if not 1 gram per pound, and get within 5% of your desired calorie intake.
That means if you’re shooting for, say, 1,420 then anywhere from around 1350 and 1490 is acceptable.
That should make it a lot easier.
What About Weighing?
With the method outlined here, you are going to need to look at portion sizes and maybe even weigh some stuff out.
Bodybuilders and athletes will weigh everything they eat so they can track it accurately, but if you’re just looking to lose fat fast, then there’s no need for you to do that.
Weighing more calorie-dense items such as nuts, peanut butter, pasta, rice, dried fruit and so on is preferable, as estimating amounts of these can mean you’re grossly over-consuming calories.
For packaged foods that already come in servings, like bagels, sliced bread, microwave meals and the like, you can just add these into My Fitness Pal as servings.
When it comes to lower-calorie foods like lean meats, fruits and vegetables, the best thing to do is roughly guesstimate your serving size, and then put it into the app as that serving.
Is it possible to gain fat by over-eating chicken and broccoli?
Yes, but the chances of that happening are about the same as me flying solo across the Atlantic on a kite.
Hopefully you get the idea with this. In theory, the more accurate you are with your tracking, weighing and measuring, the better, but it shouldn’t rule your life, and provided you’re sensible with it, you’ll be absolutely fine.
This might be a small sacrifice, but remember, the beauty of dieting like this means that no food is ever off limits,
If you want a glass of wine, pour yourself one, then input it into My Fitness Pal.
Out for dinner with friends? No dramas, look up the restaurant on the app, or find the nutrition information online, put it in, and you’re all set.
On that note, if you do ever go out for food, say to a local independent place that doesn’t provide nutritional information, don’t sweat it. Just estimate what you had, or pick something similar from My Fitness Pal, and you’ll be fine.