Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How Many Calories Should I be Eating?

Food. It's so good. If you don't think so you are crazy. It is a huge part of our lifestyle. So many of our social events revolve around food; parties, meetings, celebrations, etc. It's absolutely impossible to get away from it. So, stop trying to. Instead learn to get along with it. Developing a positive relationship with food is essential to a happy, healthy life.

I have had several people ask me how many calories they should be consuming, so I figured I'd offer some help.
Because you see; I love food...
 My mouth is watering as we speak.
Seee....told you. I love it.

Caloric consumption has always been a huge topic of concern for my clients. How much should I be eating? I hate counting calories, but I still want to lose weight. I work out a ton, but I don't see any changes. These are some previous posts on calorie consumption that I've written for your literary enjoyment.

Click HERE to read about finding your basal metabolic rate and how to create a caloric deficit.
Click HERE to read about finding the right calorie balance dealing with losing weight and getting the correct amount of calories for your expenditure needs. 

Hopefully that helps some! If you still have questions let me know.

My disclaimer...calorie counting is not for everyone. It is all a matter of your goals. For those who are looking to lose weight I think that it's very important. Many people don't realize their bad eating habits and food journaling is the best way to determine these habits. If you are working out like a fiend and you aren't showing it on the scale, the chances are you are sabotaging your work efforts with your diet. This doesn't mean you have to become calorie obsessed, just food aware. Finding that healthy balance IS possible. For healthy eating purposes achieving intuitive eating as a habit is optimal. Being able to pay attention to your hunger levels and not just eat whatever you see is not easy to do, and getting to that point is like reaching the top of a very big mountain. The basic truth of the matter; MOST people underestimate the amount of food they are eating. Just because it is "good food" doesn't mean you can eat and eat all day long. This is where the journaling comes in again. It's about learning what works for you and for your body.

Do you count calories? I would like to say that I don't...but I am at the point that I know basic calories of most foods. Even when I'm not writing it down I'm mentally keeping track. Are you an intuitive eater? If you are that is a great! Keep it up :) Have you always been this way, or is this a learned habit?


Jody, RD said...

I go through phases of counting calories. I usually use online tracking systems.

I am definitely NOT an intuitive eater. I need to be conscientious about what I eat otherwise I will binge.

I find that some people (when trying to lose weight) eat too LITTLE calories and don't realize how detrimental it can be to go below your BMR. Some studies have shown that eating a very low calorie diet can reduce your metabolism by 40%!!! That is why balance (exercise plus the right amount of calories) is so important. Preach it sister!

Lindsay and James Cotter said...

love all these great food choices. I think if your not trying to lose weight, no need to count. Just go by how you feel and stick to 80% healthy foods. But, to each his own ya know?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this! Counting calories is something I've always had really conflicting feelings over, as it seems like a hop, skip, and a jump from a scary relationship with eating...

So thanks for keeping your plug in for intuitive eating!

Angie said...

Intuitive eating is my goal! It's hard working in the field bc, like you said, it comes pretty automatic to know how many calories are in things! Agree it's important to know when trying to get rid of some weight!

Trisha said...

mmmm those great photos of delicious food make me hungry! I think making a pizza is going to happen in the near future.

I used to be obsessed with calorie counting & was consuming way too few calories. Throughout the past few years I just eat when I'm hungry, which is pretty much every 2 hours, haha. But it's great to be at that point, and to know the caloric & nutritional make up of most foods, so I can be healthy with my choices.

Anonymous said...

I used to count calories but it was driving me crazy!

I know for a lot of people its a good way to lose weight but i lose more weight when I dont think about it and just eat healthy

Rochelle said...

I don't count calories...but I should. I know I eat way bad - I have the mentality that I work out so I can eat however I want...umm good idea, but not really healthy!

My goal is to be an intuitive eater...one day ... one day!

Stefanie D. said...

I go in stints with calorie counting. Sometimes I am a crazy calorie counter, and other times, I'm just like...Meh. I am definitely a huge label reader though. I always read the labels on my good when I'm at the grocery stores, as well as pretty much everything in my pantry!

Little Miss Runshine said...

I used to use myfitnesspal.com to count calories to make sure i was eating the right stuff, but it gets too tedious and I slack off so easily!!

Lisa said...

I count them and my macros on good days. Some days I don't have the energy or don't really care =) I try to just eat well and often.

Thisisme said...

I keep a food journal in my iphone ap that counts my calories. I usually only keep track on days that I don't work out for a long time though because I'll end up eating junk if I dont!

Holley @ Lunges and Lashes said...

If you stick to an eating plan, like REALLY stick to it (while trying to lose weight), it is amazing how much faster you see results. We are all just used to the idea of killing ourselves at the gym for hours, but just be mindful of what you are eating and you don't have to work so hard!

Jen said...

I counted calories at one point during my life. It was not easy and took a lot of time. Especially when you're cooking meals from scratch. Sometimes I'd write down what I was going to eat and then forget to eat it because I would get distracted. So now I try to make healthy choices, eat when I'm hungry and if I'm craving something I let myself eat a little. I'm not perfect and mess up, but my life right now just isn't conducive for that kind of regimentation. Or maybe that's just a good excuse! :)

Mrs. JM said...

hi! i've been following your blog for awhile now and i really love it. i've used an online food diary for the last five years and it has been the key to my successful weight loss and maintenance. i'm not as good about logging my food as i've been in the past but, my intuition has improved dramatically. still though, i need a reality check every now and then. it's good to do the math once and awhile. just to stay on track. sometimes i'll log every bite for weeks, months even. other times, i just try to eat as well as i can as often as possible. you're right, you can't avoid food ... might as well enjoy it! i love your suggestions.

Cynthia said...

About 2 years ago my best friend and I wanted to lose some weight. Her goal was 20 mine was 5-10. We started an excel spreadsheet where we counted our calories and also added in our workout for the day and we would email it to each other once a week (we lived in different states at the time). It was a great way to hold ourselves accountable for counting calories and also for getting our workouts in. We both met our goals this way :) Right now I don't keep track of my calories on a spreadsheet but I do try to do it mentally. I think having done it for so long to meet my goal weight helped me become more intuitive to what I was putting in my mouth. I have been able to maintain my weight so I think it's working :)

My problem now is I want to make sure I am eating enough calories and the right foods to help me in my workouts, specifically marathon training. I also would like to tone up, so not sure if I need to reduce calories or change up my workouts.

Katie said...

I absolutely love your blog. I stumbled across it and I can honestly say it's been a huge part of the successful weight loss I have going on right now. Having daily tips, recipes, workouts, etc have been a great way to stay motivated.

In the past, I've tried counting calories through sparkpeople.com but always ended up missing a day (especially weekends when I wasn't at my computer) and I just gave up. Now, for the first time, I have been successfully doing it since the beginning of the year. I downloaded the Lose It app on my iPhone and since my phone is always with me, I have no excuse to miss logging my calories in. (speaking of the iPhone, have any fitness apps you can't live without? I'm loving the Nike Training app)

I've grown up having a fairly good knowledge of what's good and bad for you and I work in the fitness industry so I'm surrounded by it everyday, but I was still hugely surprised by the calories in certain things that I loved to eat and knew were nutritious (hello, avocados!...I know it’s a good type of fat but never realize the amount of calories that were in one). I've also been pleasantly surprised at foods I wouldn't touch because I figured they were super high in calories, like sour cream. Get the light version and it packs a good amount of flavor (I like to mix it with some barbecue sauce) and you don't need very much at all. Way better than most salad dressings out there.

Sorry for the marathon comment, but I guess this is about 4 months of gratitude towards you rolled into one loooong comment! Keep up the great work!

Michelle said...

I love this post! My sister and I were just talking about this same issue the other day. Both of us are very healthy conscience, but find ourselves getting a little bit carried away when counting calories; in a bad way. I struggled with eating disorders in high school, and I find those same thoughts creep back up when I am counting calories. So I have been having a debate with myself lately on what i should do. I don't really want to lose weight (2-3 pounds would be nice) but I am not stressing over it, but I don't want to gain weight either.
I want to become more of an intuitive eater, and I am slowly learning how to do that. It is just hard sometimes to tell myself that one cookie is enough;)

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