Do you feel like you are doing all the right things but still can’t seem to lose weight? Maybe you started exercising and eating differently, but the scale hasn’t budged.

Sometimes weight loss isn’t as simple as eating “clean” or “eat less, move more”. Many things can hinder weight loss efforts including several lifestyle factors and underlying health issues.

However, the biggest deciding factor for weight loss is energy balance, calorie expenditure vs calorie consumption. Let’s take a look.

Tracking Food Intake

Making healthier choices with food doesn’t always mean you are eating the right amount of calories to lose weight. Typically weight is lost when the number of calories burned is more than the number of calories consumed. It can be easy to over indulge in high calorie foods that are considered healthy.

Things like nuts, dark chocolate, and peanut butter are very calorically dense even though they can have benefits to our health. Without tracking food intake we won’t know if our calorie intake is too high and needs to be reduced to lose weight.

On the other hand, if calories are too low, the body can slow down our metabolism stalling weight loss. Anyone that has ever been on a crash diet may recognize the feeling where they are feeling hungry and depleted, but stopped losing weight. The simplest way to know how much you are eating and if it’s the right amount is to accurately track calories and macronutrients.

Luckily nowadays there are many apps that make tracking very simple.

Accuracy

Tracking food intake accurately can also be very important. This means logging everything you eat even if it seems insignificant.

Missing a handful of nuts, a soft drink, or random scoop of ice cream can add up and throw off the numbers. Not tracking a cheat day can possibly add up to enough calories to throw off weight loss efforts during the rest of the week.

A heaping tablespoon of peanut butter can have significantly more calories than a level tablespoon. To get the most accurate nutrition breakdown of a food it’s best to measure using a food scale, measuring cup, or other means. It can also be useful to look up these foods to get the correct calories and macronutrient breakdown.

Eventually, after doing this enough you may instinctively know what’s going into your body in what quantities and may no longer need to track. 

S?ince tracking lets us get a handle on our caloric balance it can work wonders. However, there are many things that can affect how the body burns calories. Stick around next week for part 2 where we dive deeper into this topic. Thanks for reading! 

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