Why You Need to Stop Counting Calories and Start Eating Healthier

The world today is dominated by food; it’s all around us. For most people, your day essentially revolves around food. Will you eat breakfast? What are you craving for lunch? Are you going to make dinner tonight or order take-out? These are some of the most common questions that the average American thinks about on a daily basis.

And when you are watching your daily calorie intake to maintain a healthy diet, these questions are even more prominent in your mind, in addition to:

  • Can I eat that and still have dinner?
  • If I eat this, does that mean I need to skip lunch?
  • Did I exercise enough today?
  • Will I have time to go to the gym tonight and still cook dinner?
  • Should I skip my lunch and instead go to the gym?

While it’s important to be mindful of your calorie intake, it’s critical that you don’t let it plague your mind and impact your daily life. Maintaining a healthy diet is all about making small changes to your lifestyle, such as staying active, avoiding fried foods, and making better choices.

But when you understand the basic formula for a healthy diet, you’ll never even consider skipping a meal or trying a fad diet.

Let’s get back to the basics:

What do you need to know about calories?

Simply put, a calorie is a measurement of energy when it comes to weight loss. You will often hear it used in two different ways, in relation to food and in relation to exercise. For example, “That banana has 100 calories” or “Going for a walk burns 100 calories.”

Learn more about what healthy foods to eat in our blog, Maintaining a Healthy Diet: Recommended Daily Sugar Limit and Healthier Sugar Alternatives.

Finding the perfect equation for a healthy diet

A little-known fact is that your body is constantly burning calories for energy, even when you are motionless or sleeping. When a healthy, non-pregnant adult eats more calories than their body can burn, the body then stores those calories as fat.

For example, if you eat 2,400 calories but only burn 2,000 calories that day, you create a positive energy balance of 400 calories. If you maintain this formula every day, you will gain weight over time.

While it’s important to balance out your calories each day with burned energy, it’s also important to not go too low in your calorie deficit. Your body requires a certain amount of calories to function (just as a car requires gas to run). Depriving your body of calories is never the answer to a healthy diet and lifestyle. In most cases, non-pregnant adult women should consume at least 1,200 calories per day and men should consume at least 1,800 calories per day. Always check with your primary healthcare provider before starting any new diet or exercise regime, and ask them what your recommended daily calorie intake should be.

Be sure to check the nutrition facts label for serving sizes, the number of calories, and portion size for packaged foods. A food diary can also help you become more aware of what you are consuming each day. You can even write down your physical activity or download a fitness app to help you monitor your calories to ensure you maintain a healthy balance.

Want to learn some easy ways you can incorporate a quick workout into your day? Check out our blog, How to Sneak in a Workout While Working + Easy Desk Exercises.

Setting a healthy diet goal that’s right for you

Now that you understand the basic formula for calories and burning energy, you can talk with your doctor to set a goal that’s right for you and your body to lose or maintain weight at a steady and safe pace. 

Interested in a meal plan to help you stay on track and maintain a healthy diet? We’ve got a week’s worth of meals planned out for you! Download your free copy of the meal plan to get started!

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