Should You Count Your Calories to Lose Weight?

It's an age old strategy to read food labels and count your calories when you're trying to shed a few extra pounds. Not to mention - it's nearly impossible to not be at least a little bit calorie conscious with all of the various fitness apps and trackers floating around or the "calorie wise" labels plastered on a plethora of things in the grocery store. So how much attention should you be paying to your calorie intake? Is counting every calorie an obsessive waste of time or a true gauge for tracking weight loss? It's important to be aware of what you're putting in to your body. Counting calories will provide structure - an important part of reaching any fitness goal. Not to mention, people usually see success right away in terms of weight loss. This will keep you on a positive path moving forward. That being said, calories are not the whole picture when it comes to nutrition and weight loss - counting calories is just easier than actually fully understanding the science behind what food does to our bodies. It's also a great way to hold yourself accountable if you plateau (You may ever be surprised how many calories you consume even when you're following a healthy diet!) Also, if you're someone that eats during times of stress, calorie tracking is a great way to see just how much damage that's doing to your fitness goals. If you're guilty of this, tracking can help you get back on track. Here are some guidelines to count correctly:

Be Realistic with your goals 

It's not all going to happen at once. Be realistic about targets and consistent with your change.

Use A tracking Method That's Easy

Whether its an app or a journal - be able to have it with you at all times. Be aware of portion size and read food labels to identify nutrient information. Make sure you double check serving sizes!

Don't Sweat It Too Much

Remember that counting calories is ultimately part of a much larger plan to encourage success over the long-term. It is not the be all to end all.

Choose the Right Calories

Have a balanced diet: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats. No empty calories!

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