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Serving Sizes And Calorie Counting

I was running through Publix the other day getting a few things when I bumped into an old client and friend of mine. During our conversation she asked me a question that a lot of people seem to have with dieting. Her question was:

“Is there a simple and easy way to determine the number of calories I’m actually eating during the day?”

My answer to her question was “yes and no.”

The reality is you MUST have some idea regarding the calories you’re consuming if you’re trying to lose weight. Sorry, we can’t get around that one.

If you don’t know approximately how many calories you’re eating, how in the world can you expect to have a clue whether you’re in YOUR  fat burning zone?

The Truth On Calories And Your Fat Burning Zone

You don’t have to count every calorie with meticulous detail but you do need to have an idea of where you’re at within a range. Your fat burning zone will typically have a window of three-four hundred calories. You don’t have to be “point on” with your calories, just within your fat loss zone.

So is there a simple and easy way that avoids counting calories completely? No.

But is there a way to make the measuring easy so I don’t have to count calories forever? Yes!

Measuring Calories With Whole, Natural Foods Is Much, Much Easier!

A lot of the difficulty with calorie counting comes when you’re eating pre-packaged, processed, refined foods. Whenever you have to deal with serving sizes in something boxed, wrapped, canned, etc you’re going to have a much harder time in trying to figure out the calories.

But when you’re dealing with whole/natural foods the calorie counting gets way easier.

With whole/natural foods you just have to measure them out a few times until you can “eye ball” the serving size you need. This will require you to use a food scale and measuring cups but only for about a couple of weeks or so.

After measuring out ½ cup of blueberries and looking up (with my favorite on-line resource- LiveStrong Daily Plate) that it equals approximately 35 calories, you won’t have to do that much work with calorie counting in the future.

Here’s why… most vegetables, fruits, and proteins are very similar in their number of calories at an equal serving size.

Here’s an example:  ½ cup of broccoli has about the same number of calories (22 calories) as does ½ cup of spinach (21 calories).

Likewise, the 1/2 cup of blueberries (35 calories) is very similar to 1/2 cup of strawberries (23 calories).

So once you determine the number of calories you need to be in your fat burning zone (resting metabolic rate test) you can come up with a serving size for each nutrient (carb, protein, fat) in your meals and snacks. Remember the idea is to get in your fat burning zone- you don’t have to be exact.

It’s really quite simple once you do it a few times. Trust me you won’t have to go around with a calculator doing math all day figuring out your calories.

If you know that according to your calorie needs you should be getting let’s say 20 grams of carbohydrate (80 calories) at dinner, and the carbs should come from fibrous vegetables, you can pick (1) cup of most any vegetable and be safe.

If you measure out (1) cup of vegetables for about a week or so it won’t be long before you can “eye ball” what (1) cup looks like without the measuring cup.

The same thing will be true for your other foods- that’s so long as you’re choosing whole/natural foods and not processed foods.

To make the whole calorie counting, food measuring thing a breeze you’re going to need three things in your kitchen. These three things are a MUST if you’re serious about weight loss. Play the short video I made for you below to see what they are.

Shane Doll is a certified Charleston personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts Personal Training Studios. He is available for thoughtful and candid interviews on fitness and weight loss. You can receive a FREE no-obligations trail of his Charleston personal training programs and experience the Shaping Concepts difference for yourself.

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Category: Nutrition.