Most people have the correct idea when they want to lose weight that they should keep track of their calorie intake. It is true that calories are important when it comes to losing weight, but counting calories has some serious mistakes. These mistakes are usually the ones that break a diet and leave the dieter frustrated and back to square one.
Many nutrition labels are inaccurate when it comes to the calories listed. The counts are often incorrect. We know that a gram of carbohydrates contains 4 calories, a gram of protein contains 4 calories, and a gram of fat contains 9 calories. The next time you see a Nutrition Facts label, take out your calculator and do a little checking for yourself. You will notice that the number you get from your calculations is not the same as the number on the nutrition label. There could be a difference of enough calories consistently (that you are consuming) that prevents your weight loss results because the true calories are not taken into account.
Another big mistake occurs when you keep track of your calories using just a volume measurement. Here are some examples:
– A regular bag of quick oatmeal says the serving size is “1/2 cup (40 grams)”. Most people measure out a 1/2 cup serving and count the calories in a 1/2 cup serving and get on with their day. The problem is that a 40 gram serving when weighed on a scale is actually less than 1/2 cup of measurement. A 1/2 cup serving of quick oatmeal is around 54 to 56 grams, which is a difference of around 60 calories that are not accounted for. If you have 1/2 cup per day, at the end of the week, this is 420 extra calories. Those 420 calories can prevent you from losing weight or slowing down your progress.
– All natural peanut butter has a label that says: One serving is “1 tablespoon (16 grams).” Most people take a regular dinner spoon and scoop out their serving or take a true tablespoon and measure the peanut butter by volume. If you are not leveling off your volume measurement, you are probably eating more peanut butter and calories than you are counting. It’s easy to take a 32-gram tablespoon instead of what the nutrition label says as 16 grams. This could be a difference of
almost 100 calories that are not taken into account. If you do this every day, at the end of the week there are almost 700 calories that you are eating, which is more than you thought. These 700 extra calories can completely stop weight loss.
Trying to “eyeball” or estimating too often can prevent weight loss. People have been shown to do a very poor job of estimating calories. When you are constantly estimating, it is just that, an estimate, it is not accurate. A small brownie may contain more than 600 calories, depending on the ingredients it contains. Most people can estimate that a brownie has only 200 calories, that is, a difference of 400 calories that is not taken into account.
So now that we’ve seen where errors can occur, what can we do about it?
Track your macronutrients. Your macronutrients are your proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. When you keep track of your macronutrients using a smartphone app, you will always reach your daily calorie goal because total calories is more accurate than a nutrition label.
Use weight instead of volume to measure food. By using a small kitchen scale to weigh your food, you will be significantly more accurate in keeping track of your calories. You will also understand what the true portion sizes are when you visually view heavy foods and liquids. Now keep in mind that you don’t have to weigh your food forever, but weighing your food when you lose weight will give you the most accurate numbers and therefore the best results.
As we can see, there can be quite a few mistakes just with tracking calories. When you are precise with your tracking, you will finally get the weight loss results you want with ease.