Counting calories

All Woman

Dear Donovan,

I am 250 pounds and 5ft 7inches tall. I do not understand how to count calories in order to restrict my calorie intake and lose weight. I currently eat a fistful of food for breakfast and lunch and skip dinner. Can you help with this?

Foods provide energy in the form of calories. Some foods contain more calories than others, and it depends on the major nutrients present in these foods. Each of these nutrients provide a different number of calories. For example, carbohydrates provide four calories per gram, protein provides four calories per gram, and fats provide nine calories per gram.

It is important for people on weight loss diets to have even a rough idea of the number of calories that are in the foods that they eat. A calorie counter is one of the best ways to keep track of your calorie intake. If you want to lose weight you will have to reduce your calorie intake, thus forcing your body to use up some of the stored fat.

It is a good idea to keep track of your daily food intake for the week. You could keep a food log and enter the information into one of the calorie counting apps available for download on your phone or computer. This will give you a rough idea of your calorie intake for the week. However, knowing the calorie count of your food is only helpful if you are aware of the total number of calories you should be consuming in order to lose weight. This amount will vary from person to person based on age, gender, metabolic rate and activity level. However, a rule of thumb is that 3,500 calories is equal to one pound of weight loss. Therefore, if you would like to lose one pound per week, you will have to cut your calorie intake by 500 calories per day.

It should be noted that counting calories is a good way to become familiar with the calorie count of some of your regular foods. This could allow you to make smarter food choices.

Most of the information about the calories in the foods we eat is usually obtained from the labels. However, it is important to always note what amount the serving size is for the calories given. For some fresh foods, the calorie data can be obtained from books, apps and online data.

I must admit that I am not a big counting calorie fan. In most cases counting calories can be time consuming. It often requires a great amount of time to weigh, measure and record the calorie intake. In addition, calorie counting does not emphasise the quality of food; it is just focused on the number of calories.

Note also that different foods take different amounts of energy for digestion and transport around the body. This is not factored in while counting calories. In order to lose weight, you should be aware of both your calorie intake as well as your calorie burning.

In order to lose weight and be healthy, I always suggest a lifestyle programme which involves a healthy diet and exercise. This diet should have more fruits, vegetables, vegetable juices and whole grains. Avoid sweet, fatty and fried foods.

Good luck!

We will answer your weight-related questions

Are you struggling to lose weight or just need some advice on living a healthier life? Tell us about your health issues and we'll have nutritionist and wellness coach Donovan Grant answer them for you. Grant has over 12 years' experience in the fitness industry and is the owner of DG's Nutrition and Wellness Centre, 39 Lady Musgrave Road. Call him at 876-286-1363. E-mail questions to clarkep@jamaicaobserver.com.

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