How to Track Calories & Workouts

Counting calories can feel frustrating.

Counting calories can feel frustrating.

Many people find the process of counting calories eaten and calories burned tedious and disheartening. Particularly when you're trying to lose weight, counting calories can make you feel helpless and out of control and may only serve to remind you that you're not eating the foods you want. However, there are several simple ways to count calories and workouts that can minimize your stress and work.

Use a calorie calculator to calculate the number of calories you burn during your daily activities. You burn calories even if you're not exercising, and your baseline daily activity rate can give you a good indication of how much exercising and dieting you need to do to reach your fitness goals.

Plan for 150 minutes of low-intensity or 75-minutes of high-intensity cardiovascular exercise a week, plus two days of muscle-toning activities such as weightlifting. Determine which activities you would like to do, then put these activities into a calorie calculator to get a rough estimate of how many calories you'll burn in a week. The number of calories you burn depends upon your age, weight and the duration and intensity of your exercise routine.

Plan your meals in advance. This allows you to calculate calories during meal planning rather than calculating calories for each meal. Your meals should be structured such that you reduce enough calories to lose a pound or two a week when you're also exercising. Add a cushion into your meal plan for extra snacks. For example, if you're planning on eating 1700 calories per day, create meal plans that have 1500 or 1600 calories. This way you don't blow your diet if you eat a little extra or eat out.

Buy food in advance for your meals. This ensures you have the necessary supplies to follow through with your meal plans and makes logging calories much less difficult. Some nutrition companies offer pre-planned meal subscriptions that deliver food to your door or meal plans directly to your e-mail inbox or mailbox.

Items you will need

  • Calorie calculator
  • Pen
  • Paper

Tips

  • You need to remove 3,500 calories from your diet to lose one pound. It's easiest to do this through a combination of diet and exercise.
  • While you don't absolutely have to, writing down the foods you eat can help you keep track of your habits and make you aware of times that you're likely to "cheat."
  • Some smartphones offer calorie and workout-tracking applications.

Warning

  • Excessively weighing yourself can make you feel discouraged, so avoid weigh-ins during the first week or two of your fitness routine.
 

About the Author

Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.

Photo Credits

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