Many people embark on the journey of weight loss, but not everyone finds success and happiness in the journey. However, there is an amazing ally that walks with you on your weight loss journey and that can help you set goals, monitor progress, and build healthy habits – Calories! Calories can be your partner in this process if you make them work for you. In order to lose weight, you need to have a calorie deficit. While this may seem like a boring math lesson, calories are actually a great source of opportunity. Not all calories are created equal, because each food you eat provides a different set of nutrients. These are essential for life and can be a source of energy and happiness. Not only do calories provide the nutrients for a healthy body, they can also work as your guide for making lifestyle changes that lead to sustainable weight loss. The top three benefits to monitoring your caloric intake are:
- Identifying eating patterns
- Creating a dietary baseline
- Monitoring your behavior and progress
However, monitoring your caloric intake isn’t as simple as just writing down what you remember at the end of the day. Most people underestimate their calorie intake by 45% and underreport by as much as 2000 calories a day. So, it is important to take the time to find a way to reasonably track your calorie intake and stay accountable for what you are really putting into your body. For some people, phone apps are an easy and convenient way to track your caloric intake. For others, a weight loss journal is a perfect blend of creativity and accountability. Do some research and select a method that will keep you motivated and responsible.
Once you start monitoring your caloric intake, you will begin to see some eating patterns that you probably didn’t even realize you had!
Here are five of the quickest ways to decrease your caloric intake for healthy weight loss.
- Swap drinks- If you find yourself enjoying sugary drinks, switch to low-calorie alternatives or go all water!
- Decrease oil- While you might think you need oil to cook, there are plenty of healthy alternatives to keep those pesky invisible calories off your tracking sheet.
- Use vegetable sauces- Sneaking in vegetables and swapping out caloric sauces is an easy way to see quick improvement to your deficit.
- Wholegrains- Wholegrains are a great option to increase healthy nutrients without giving up your favorite foods.
- Reduced fat- Seek out alternative low-fat options for your favorite little treats.
This is a great place to start making changes to your diet. Use your baseline to identify opportunities to change your lifestyle and increase your calorie deficit. Most importantly, use your caloric intake to learn to find long-lasting energy that continues to curb your hunger throughout the day.