Understanding Calorie Counting: A Final Word | A Black Girl's Guide To Weight Loss

Understanding Calorie Counting: A Final Word

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For our first series ever, Black Girl’s Guide To Weight Loss will be explaining calorie counting, and ways to win the war. This is post 6 of the series – post 1, Defining The Basics of Calorie Counting, can be found here. Comments are always welcomed, and questions will always be answered to the best of my ability. :)

onionBelieve me, I know just how exhaustive this guide is. I know how daunting this task is. I KNOW how easy it is to talk yourself out of bothering with this mess – “I’m already sexy, I already have a man… what do I need to put myself through this for?” or even “I’m skinny now.. I don’t need to lose weight… why do I need to know this?” I know. I KNOW how much of a struggle this can be for the woman who is used to having everything she wants… food included. I know! But for me, the breaking point was my desire to be healthier (and – I won’t lie – skinnier) became larger than my desire to eat a whole Bloomin’ Onion at Outback (2,310 calories, 134g of fat, 241g of carbs; thanks chowbaby) for dinner instead of an actual dish.

Becoming healthier is about a commitment to self. It’s about committing the same to ourselves as we commit to others. Are we not worth it? As much as I love my daughter, and as much as I give up for her (giving her my last ginger snap? now, that is love) I had to realize that taking time to work out wasn’t about selfishness… it’s about her just as much as it is me. It’s about being around to watch her walk down the aisle. To be there for her when she and her hubby give me grandchildren… 30 years from now. It’s about making sure that I’m in optimal health when I’m in my 50s, so that I’m not bedridden and 600lbs overweight because I wanted to overdo it on the Oreo Shakes from Baskin Robbins (2600 calories, 135g fat, 263g sugars, 1700mg sodium – yes… all of that in a shake.)

I’m not trying to live that life. Once it hit me that every little step I take makes a difference, that each little step built upon the last? I was on it. Before I knew it, my snowflake was a snowball… and was causing an avalanche. So no, my adventure in calorie counting didn’t last a couple of weeks, with me starting by going cold turkey and stopping with a vengeance. It lasted months, with lots of failures. In some ways, it’s still going on… it’s simply evolved along with my journey and my goals.

This isn’t simple. As evidenced by the mass number of women who tell me allllll the time, “I know what to do, I just don’t know how to do it.” If it were that easy, all of these women who know WHAT to do, wouldn’t be lost on how to begin. Start slow. Take your time. Accept your failures and use them to make yourself stronger. Admit that you can’t drive down a certain road. Admit that you can’t visit a certain restaurant. You may even need to admit that you need a friend to go with you to the grocery. That is perfectly okay. It’s intention is to make you healthier. Use it to get you there, and I have every faith in the world that you will, indeed, get there.

Be healthy!

Looking for other posts in the Understanding Calorie Counting series? Check the links below!

The proud leader of the #bgg2wlarmy, Erika Nicole Kendall writes health, fitness, nutrition, body image and beauty, and more here at #bgg2wl. After losing over 150lbs, Kendall became a personal trainer certified in fitness nutrition, women's fitness, and weight loss from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She now lives in New York with her family, and is working on her 4th, 5th and 6th certificates.

20 Comments

  1. Reecie

    October 23, 2009 at 8:45 AM

    you definitely used a shake as your example on purpose. I knows it! LOL. But yeah, I know I won’t count calories everyday, but doing it reaffirmed that I was pretty accurate in my mental estimations. I will try to keep it up especially on days I think that I want to “treat myself”. and as you said its a good way to be knowledgeable about the gross amount of calories some of our favorite foods have! and encourage you to live healthier.

    good series.

  2. Erika

    October 23, 2009 at 9:08 AM

    LOLOL Reecie, I swear I didn’t, but damn if it wasn’t appropriate! :)

    I feel you, though – some of us have that gauge already, and simply benefit from the occasional tune up. If you know your day might be light on the calorie side and you can tame your cravings, you’ll probably be good to hit up the donut joint or The Cookout (I’m snarling as I type that, by the way LOL) and can keep that in mind.

    I’m also with you on the treating yourself thing! That one little sentence said a lot! It was a long time before I could understand that “treating yourself” didn’t mean “every day with the junk food,” so I have a new appreciation for that! Planning that in advance, being mindful of it thru the day, building excitement and still being able to indulge at evening time? Definitely. Sounds like it might be a new post, lol.

    Thanks for stopping by! :)

  3. cynthia

    July 1, 2010 at 12:01 PM

    ericka Im going back thru the post for the correct cals for my weight. if you have it handy can I have it . please

  4. Stacy

    June 1, 2011 at 2:22 PM

    Erika, what about people that don’t like to count calories? I personally hate doing that. Keeping a food journal counting calories is just an annoying nuisance to me. Have any advice for someone like me?

    • Erika Nicole Kendall

      June 1, 2011 at 7:05 PM

      I’d say I’ve got nothing for you. It might be a “nuisance,” but it’s the most reliable and helpful nuisance I’ve ever committed to in my entire life. Calorie counting is how I learned what I learned in order to lose what I lost. I can’t start you off any other way.

      • Crystal

        February 7, 2012 at 9:48 PM

        Thanks for the reminder about calories.
        I have even started my sparkpeople account
        back up and I am daily logging the intake,
        even when I don’t like what I see.

  5. Atiya

    February 15, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    Hi Erika,

    I have 3 questions….Am I to take into account the fat grams too OR can I still stay on point by focusing strictly on calories?

    Next, I don’t get physically hungry til afternoon or later most days_if I consume my allotted calories in 1 or 2 meals will I still have the same resulting weight loss. Is eating 3 or 5 small meals better?

    Thanks for Everything

    • Erika Nicole Kendall

      February 16, 2012 at 1:41 PM

      Hey, Atiya! Let’s see how I can help:

      Your first question is a bit tricky. You can focus strictly on calories and lose weight, but focusing on the nutritional makeup of your food choices will help you determine the body you develop as the fat melts away. You shouldn’t be eating a ton of fat, but your body absolutely needs it.

      As for the meal frequency, if you’re genuinely not hungry and don’t find yourself struggling to make it through when you haven’t eaten, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with getting in your caloric intake during two meals. Lots of people life that lifestyle – google “intermittent fasting” – and experience success. It doesn’t affect your metabolism, as others have claimed, because you’re still eating daily at a regular and consistent pace. I generally recommend the 5-6 meals a day plan for people who struggle with overeating and need to disconnect from the idea that “feeling hungry is the end of the world.”

  6. Sunshyne Smith

    February 4, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    Reading the first paragraph of this made me laugh because these are my true thoughts……. I am happily married why do I have to stress myself with this and I look good I’m think but I can still pull them if I need to lol. At the end of it all i DO NEED THIS I need to be heathly and happy with myself.

  7. Raquel Holmes

    February 9, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    Greetings and Blessing unto you Ms. Kendall. Do you mind if I call you Erika? For I consider you a long distant friend that I must keep in contact with everyday (not in a creepy stalker kind of way..lol! by reading your daily blogs)..I have been following your boot camp since the beginning, I feel great thank you “friend”. I now am aware of my daily food intake and my portion size is now in control. It finally clicked in my head, it is better to eat healthier. I repeat this every morning that I awaken. Knowledge is Power. Power is control. Control is Healthier. Healthier is Wiser!! Wiser I am…thank you again, friend…

  8. Alexandra

    May 8, 2013 at 12:31 AM

    I really like these posts! Your transformation is amazing!! I have been a chronic yo yo dieter the last 10 years starting from 14 on and never really got the concept of counting calories until recently… I tried atkins and other fad diets and nothing has worked I now religiously record everything in my smart phone and use that along with the bodymedia fit – basically the same thing as a body bug – I am not promoting this product I just found it works for me as far as staying on track with my daily calorie burn – I had to learn that it is important to treat yourself and it is important for that to be planned and also when you are going to treat yourself its imporant to do some extra cardio to try to balance it out… I still have a long way to go as far as weight loss but I look forward to more tips – your site is great thanks for sharing your experience.

  9. Maggie

    September 11, 2013 at 10:39 PM

    Hi Erika! I have found your site so helpful and motivating. I am 5’4 and 185 and can’t wait to get rid of all this weight I put on in college. I am calorie counting and I have been eating 1200 cals/day and working out for 45 min/day. I have heard though that eating too few calories also causes you to gain weight so I was wondering whether you thought my current diet and fitness plan is a good one or not? Thanks!

    • Erika Nicole Kendall

      September 13, 2013 at 11:22 AM

      1200 calories a day? I really really wouldn’t advise that. You’re going to need WAY more, or you’re going to wind up with a long-term plateau.

  10. Joi

    December 27, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    I agree with the benefits of calorie counting. I used it to loose and maintain my weight loss for years. Unfortunately, I stopped, started making bad choices, but I am back on track now and looking forward to not making the same mistakes again.

    • Melissa L

      March 28, 2014 at 8:43 PM

      I really enjoyed your series. It gave me some good tips to implement on my current weight loss journey. 27lbs down so far!

  11. Melissa L

    March 28, 2014 at 8:45 PM

    I really enjoyed your series. It gave me some good tips to implement on my current weight loss journey. 27lbs down so far!

  12. Jessica

    April 14, 2014 at 9:08 PM

    Hello all! I came across this site when looking up how Jordan Sparks lost weight. I am biracial (black and german) and I’ve struggled with being chunky all my life. Like goodness for the love of God can I just have a flat stomach?? I’ve been eating about 90% clean for months now. I try to stick with fruits, veggies, grains. I eat some bad things on weekends along with drinks with my hubby. I just wonder that if I am mainly eating fruits and veggies (all fresh no can stuff) do I still need to count calories?

    • Erika Nicole Kendall

      April 15, 2014 at 11:47 AM

      “if I am mainly eating fruits and veggies (all fresh no can stuff) do I still need to count calories?”

      Yes.

  13. JESSYB

    April 21, 2014 at 9:35 AM

    I just read this entire calorie counting series. The 300 400 700 breakdown for meals is so helpful. You were talking to me! Thank-you

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