Understanding calories is important in a weight loss program. In order to lose weight, your body has to burn more calories than it takes in. If you are eating 3500 calories a day, and you burn 2000 calories a day, you will gain weight. If, on the other hand, you burn 4000 calories a day, it will take you 7 days to lose one pound. Put simply, your body must burn 3500 calories for each pound lost.
1. The average adult needs about 2000 calories a day to maintain their body weight. Knowing how many calories are in the foods you eat is essential if you want to lose weight. The first thing you should do is make a list of the foods you eat. Go online or go to your local library and look for reference material listing the calories in a normal portion size of each food item. If the normal portion size of a cantaloupe is one cup, and that one cup has 60 calories, you can figure out how many calories were in the portion you ate.
2. Another way to find the calorie count in food is to read the label. Every item in the grocery store has a label with nutrition information. Try to stay away from food that has saturated fats, lots of sugar and high calorie counts. The labels also have the standard serving size, on which the nutritional information is based. Eating the normal serving size allows you to control your caloric intake. Most fast-food restaurants now have nutritional information posted for their food products. Restaurants will supply this information if asked.
3. While a lot of food products come pre-packaged by portion, many do not. Products such as cereal and pasta, for instance, will need to be measured by portion. Cereal nutrition percentages and calories are based on a one-cup serving. To count the calories you’ll need to know how many cups you actually eat. Some food products are portioned by slice, such as bread or candy. Others are measured by weight. Still others are pre-packaged in single-serving size. You might want to invest in a small kitchen food scale, if you are really serious about counting calories to boost your weight loss.
4. Now that you know how to count calories, you can determine how many are in the food you eat every day. Knowing this will help you decide how many calories you need to burn in order to lose weight. Don’t go overboard and try to burn all the calories you take in a day. You will be left feeling tired and sluggish. Losing a couple of pounds a week is enough. A slow steady pace is much healthier and gives you a better chance at maintaining your goal weight once you have reached it.
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