I am sure by now, I have made it pretty clear that I do count calories. Yes, some people say this is obsessive and no way to live however, I feel that it is necessary if you want to be in control of your weight and your body. Weight loss happens when a calorie deficit is created (i.e. you burn more then you eat) and weight maintenance happens when you eat what you burn. So, if you don’t keep track of your calories, how do you ensure you don’t gain weight (which obviously then happens when you eat more calories then you are burning)?!
So…I have tried a few of the apps which track your calories in and out and I will say there are a few really great ones. I recently started using the Jillian Michaels Weight Loss Plan App though and love it. Even if you are not looking to loose weight, this app is great for maintenance and just general tracking. It is not only great for tracking calories, but it tracks micro-nutrients including: Total calories, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbs, fiber, sugar, and protein. I love this feature as it is so important to now only know your basic carbs, fat and protein ratios, it is also crucial to watch your sodium, sugar and fiber as those three things can play a big role on weight loss/maintenance.
How it works:
When you first get the app, it will have you set up your profile to include your current weight, your weight goal (if you are looking to loose), your age, ect. It will also ask you to choose your metabolic type; being if your body needs more carbs then fat/protein, even amounts of carbs, fat and protein, or more protein then carbs/fat. This piece can be changed whenever so I suggest if you are an active person, start with the ‘slow oxidizer’ option; it gives you a 60, 25, 15 ratio: 60% carbs, 25% protein and 15% fat.
Once you get the profile all set up, you screen will pop up with your total calorie and micro nutrients allowances. For me, I get 1399 calories a day except when I work out, my app adds those calories burned to my daily allowance so some days, I can have up to 2500. The great thing about this app though is that without tracking, I would have no way of knowing how much I can have each day.
It is super easy to work this app once you get started. All you have to do is add your food items and portions for each meal/snack you eat. The app has a huge database that actually has TONs of foods already saved in there; you can just search for whatever you are eating and see if it pops up. If not, you can create a ‘custom food’ where you would imput the nutritional facts. Good thing is once you do it once, it saves it so you can add it super easily the next time. And lets face it, most people eat the same things all the time (at least I do!) because you know you like them and you get to know their nutritional information. So this also makes entering the data quick and easy!
For exercise, there is also a huge data base of exercises that calculates the total (approximate) calories burned for your weight during that exercise. You need to add your exercises into your planner each day and it will then calculate those calories burned into your calorie allowance.
The great thing is, throughout the day you can see how your micro nutrients are adding up. If you are finding that you are getting ready to have your last meal but are still way under in your protein but over in your fat, you at least know to maybe add a protein shake or some lean meat and hold the oil. One thing that has been super eye opening for me is that I have found I am typically under in my sugar and sodium. With my eating a clean diet without excess, processed sugars, it turns out that I am not getting enough of what my body even needs to covert my blood sugar. Although this is such an easy fix, there are some people out there who are eating way more calories then they should or way less – you would truly have no way of knowing unless you track. I get that it is an extra step and we are all so busy but I do promise once you do it for one week, you will get in the habit and it wont take any time at all. And, if you do this right and are accurate about it, you will quickly see results – abs are made in the kitchen, remember! ♥