A calorie intake calculator - help or hindrance?

A calorie intake calculator, whether it be a chart where you write down everything you eat, or a computer program that does it for you, can be helpful in giving you an overview picture of what you eat in a day, or a week.

You can find a free calorie counter in magazines, on the internet, almost anywhere these days and nutritional labels on processed foods will give you the calorie count per portion size on most packets.

Do you have the time?

Filling in a calorie intake calculator, regardless if it's on paper or digitally is time consuming. You also need to know as close as possible, to the gram or ounce exactly how much of the particular food you've eaten, and you need to remember to add in everything you eat.

I know people who have found this beneficial, and I've used to it on occasion, but as a long term, permanent means of changing your eating habits, losing weight and keeping it off, it's not the best way.

If you spend five minutes a day, sitting down, writing down everything you've eaten, and then five minutes using a calorie intake calculator or a free calorie counter working out how much energy you've out into your body...can you do this every day? Or even five days a week or even three days a week.

How about if you can find the time...you use it moving instead? Take that 10 minutes a day, three days a week, or five days a week, and invest it in walking, or jogging, or dancing!

That's an extra 30 minutes a week of moving, or 50 maybe...maybe even 70. That's a positive action for losing weight and health.

How many calories in chocolate biscuits?

A calorie intake calculator is more useful on an very occasional basis to help you see where you can make better choices about what you eat.

Do a little exercise...take out your free calorie counter, it doesn't matter if it's been around the house for a while...most of us who have been on and off the dieting roundabout have one hanging around. Compare the calories in two chocolate biscuits, now flip to the vegetable page, or the fruits, or the oats and breads, and compare not only the calories, but how much of each you can eat for the same amount of energy...

Yes, and what did you discover? In terms of quantity, you can eat a great deal more of the second than you can of prepackaged chocolate biscuits.

On top of that, check the sugar and fat content per gram or ounce, on each of the items you've used...what choice do you think is better???

This is where calorie counting can be beneficial...helping you see where you are eating high energy for very little nutritional value...and where you can make changes so that you not only lose weight, but keep it off.

Yes, I know...a packet of chocolate biscuits is convenient. How does grabbing a chocolate biscuit..or three save you more time than grabbing a piece of fruit...or three, or a couple of slices of multi-grain or wholemeal bread?

It's only more time consuming if you don't have them in the cupboard, because then you have to go and buy them...so buy the bread and the fruit, leave the chocolate biscuits at the shop...now what's more convenient.

There's a permanent fruit bowl in my house, and a whole draw of fruit in the fridge. That's because some of us like our fruit at room temperature, and some of us like it chilled. It's as convenient as it gets. The fruit bowl is on the table closest to the door. It's right there for grabbing anything on the way out.

On top of that it has no packaging, good for the environment, and it hasn't been processed to the point where it then has to be nutritionally improves with additives to make it worth eating at all.

That doesn't mean you can't have chocolate biscuits, just don't make them a regular item...everything every now and then, and in moderation is fine.

Becoming number bound...in, out, in out...

A calorie intake calculator will tell you what energy you've put in, and where it comes from. The next stage is usually to compare it to charts that outline how many calories you should be eating? How do you know that's the right amount for you?

You are different from me, our bodies work differently and we'll need different amounts of food. We'll probably move different amounts too. But to get a good indication of our calorie intake and storage, you'll need to work out how many calories you burn. There are charts for this too...but are you sure you're body burns calories at the same rate as the chart?

See, it's getting even more time consuming isn't it? And difficult, and starting to look all to hard...And on top of that since we're all different our bodies will metabolize and burn energy at different rates. So it's not only time consuming but not very accurate. Can you still do it every day?

Take another look...

The time you'd spend on you calorie intake calculator...spend it moving...you'll be better off.

Use it occasionally to assess where you can make better choices...if you want to.

Spend the time taking the prepacked snacks out of your pantry and putting in less processed, healthier options.

Take the time you'd spend pouring over your free calorie counter to make small, lasting, long term changes for weight loss and health. Look at it this way, if you spend even 10 minutes twice a week on calorie counting, that's 1040 minutes a year you could be taking active action towards losing weight and maintaining it...what could you do with 1040 minutes a year??

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