Home Debunking The Myths Understanding Calorie Counting: Preparing Yourself For Success

Understanding Calorie Counting: Preparing Yourself For Success

by Erika Nicole Kendall

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 5 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.

Burger_King_Paa_Karl_JohanLet’s be real. This thing gets tough. It’s hard to give up your favorite dishes when you find out they’ve got a million calories. It’s hard to give up your favorite drink when you realize each one takes up 1/6th of your caloric total for the day. It’s easy to say “To hell with this, I’m going to Burger King.” Trust me.. I know.

To prepare yourself, take some time – in advance – to scope out some healthier alternatives to your daily intake. If you KNOW that driving past that Panera Bread is gonna make you stop in, find a different route to work. Do what you can to avoid temptation, and eventually the foods that you’re avoiding will not only lose their appeal, but they’ll become less “rewarding” to your body (meaning, you won’t get that “Mmmmmmmmmmmmm…” feeling), thus making you less likely to indulge in them.

I know some people carry a notebook or a diary all day and mark every little calorie written down… but let’s face it – that’s not a viable option for everyone. So let’s set up a sample scanario. You’ve set yourself a daily calorie level of 1400 calories. Make it easy on yourself. Break it down! 300 calories for breakfast, 400 calories for lunch, 700 calories for dinner! Ta-dow! Nothing to keep track of over the course of a day. No borrowing of calories from breakfast for lunch. Set yourself a strict goal, and each day try to get closer to maintaining it. You may not get it on point for the first few days, and that’s ok – habits developed over a lifetime won’t be erased overnight. If you’re used to getting/giving yourself what you want, it’s not going to be easy to change that. It’s ok to accept and embrace that.

When I first started calorie counting, I was cheating like nobody’s business! I have a recipe for homemade queso, right? Why was I eating it for breakfast – well over my calorie limit for that meal – and skipping lunch? I mean, my queso is deliciously healthy.. but an oversized pot of it? Naw, man! No good! Do you know how painful it is to overeat at breakfast, and not eat until dinner? Path of destruction, right? Losing the battle before I could even reach the field, right? Just awful! Don’t do it to yourself. Just… don’t.

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

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PixelFish April 11, 2010 - 1:31 PM

I found one thing that helped me in sticking to my daily calorie count was to enter my meals before hand into my chosen tracker program. (There are several free ones online.) Basically, I look up what I’m going to eat, and then I get it. If it’s already entered, it becomes easier to stick to my regimen.

Erika April 11, 2010 - 1:33 PM

That rocks, too – I love the planning aspect of that. It gives you incentive to say “No” — you have a plan to stick to and you can get gratification from sticking to it. Awesomeness.

Donnise April 11, 2010 - 3:01 PM

Hi there!
I totally agree with your rules and regs.:) Just wanted to ask you for suggestions on locating a calorie tracker? I think that’s what you were refering to because, there maybe alot of them on line but it seems like it takes an eternity to find without a link of some kind. so if you wouldnt mind sharing,I’ve lost 45 pounds recently but! just lost my job:( so doing alot of stress eating and I can see it in the mirror.
Thanks again,

Erika April 11, 2010 - 3:19 PM

First and foremost, I hate that you’ve lost your job. I hope that you can find some peace and focus in a stressful time.

Secondly, try to keep yourself busy! Don’t give yourself time to be an emotional eater. Always be on the move, always be working, thinking, planning. Before I used my LoseIt! app, I would always google the brand and the words “calorie count.” So if I just ate a bag of pop secret, I’d type “pop secret mini popcorn calorie count” into google. I know that CalorieKing, About.Com and thedailyplate.com all have great solutions, as well. There’s also sparkpeople.com for calorie counting, but I don’t trust all of their info. It’s a bit outdated.

If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

Crystal September 28, 2010 - 12:25 AM

Well for this,If anyone has an iPhone or an iPod touch I’d strongly suggest getting this app called LOSE IT, it’s a weight loss app ANd it works wonders for calorie counting & etc ! The #1 weight loss app && it’s FREE’!!!

1beautifullymade October 13, 2011 - 12:38 AM

I love the info on calorie counting. 2question…I was thinking of making my biggest meal breakfast and my least amount of calories dinner. Should I eat breakfast before I go and exercise? I usually leave the house at 5:50am. Thanks

Lawanna Audain November 1, 2012 - 2:58 AM

I have an early morning workout also, so I eat 1/2 of mty breakfast to fuel my body for the workout. After the workout I eat the remaining of my breakfast and a protein drink. I also use Lose It to track my daily caloric intake.

Ms. K Rock November 29, 2012 - 3:49 PM

i’m using SparkPeople for Android/computer…i like that it allows me to set goals for myself. Never tried Lose It.

FelicityR January 14, 2013 - 1:00 PM

Right now I used the MyFitnessPal app to count calories and to track my workouts. Is the Lose It! app better?

linda April 14, 2013 - 2:59 AM

i use my fitness pal too. love it. i’ve lost about 75lbs. i hate the days when i track myself and i’ve hit something ridiculous like 3000 calories, but i keep it honest bc this is the only way that i can see what i am doing to myself

Kami November 23, 2013 - 1:26 PM

The past year I found your blog and began to eliminate processed and fast foods. For the year of 2014, I will be tracking my calories using my fitness pal. My daily goal is for 1700 to 1800 calories. Yesterday, I took a mteabolic test and got a body fat analysis test done. This was to see how many calories my body burns which was 2000 without excercise. Now it important to tracking my calories for weight loss. Another question should i buy a fitness band to track sleep, calories, steps taken and calories burned stuff like that ? Wish me luck in trying something new.

CoachWoot June 9, 2014 - 3:29 PM

They say preparation is a key to success. So it makes sense to me!

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