Making Calories Count
If losing weight is one of your health goals, looking at the calories you consume is a great place to start. Your weight is determined by a balance of the calories you consume and the calories you burn; calories in and calories out. If calories in are greater than calories out, you will gain weight; if calories in are less than calories out you will lose weight. To tip the balance towards weight loss, you need to look for ways to reduce calories, but not too low. Here are some tips to get started:
- Track your food. It’s hard to know what changes to make to your calorie intake until you know what you are currently consuming. Track your food for a week or so to learn your history and patterns before you make any changes.
- Keep in mind, a pound is equal to 3500 calories. To lose a pound a week you would need to create a deficit of 3500 calories a week, or 500 calories per day for 7 days.
- Create a deficit. Once you have a history, look for ways to create a 500-calorie deficit. To create that deficit, you could eat 500 calories less, burn 500 calories more, or my favorite, a combination of the two.
Cutting back on your calories doesn’t mean eating less food. Look for foods that are lower in fat and lower in calories to fill your plate, but that are also nutrient dense. Steer clear of foods that provide empty calories such as sugary beverages, fats and sweets. Instead, fill your plate with whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean proteins.
Here are some healthy recipes that we have tested here at the Y. We hope you enjoy them as well: