Refer to nutrition labels for calories contained in pre-made foods. The following page at Diet Bites can be used to examine caloric values in natural foods such as dairy products, fruits and vegetables.
Calories in Simple Foods
You can also request nutritional data pamphlets when visiting restaurants.
Track daily calories over a short time period of 2-3 days, then total the number of calories and divide by the number of days.
If you find that you are currently experiencing a weight-gain spree, this method can also indicate the amount of weight you are at risk of gaining if the eating pattern continues.
Let's use pre-dieter Heather as our example.
The following is her calorie-intake calculation for her 2 day pre-diet.
Day 1 of Heather's Pre-Diet Journal:
Powdered Donuts and whole milk for breakfast totaling 400 calories
Pizza and soda for lunch totaling 800 calories.
Heather dined out for dinner and requested a nutritional menu which contained the calories in her entree, which totaled 1,300.
Total calories for the day = 2,500
Day 2 of Heather's Diet Journal:
Heather skipped breakfast. For lunch, she ate at the local taco house and again, requested a nutrition menu. The large soda, chili-cheese burrito and taco salad equaled a whopping 1,000 calories [and 2 tons of salt which is important because sodium-mined foods can add pounds of false weight gain].
For dinner, she enjoyed a frozen dinner and an unsweetened iced tea for a total of 450 calories. And while watching tv, Heather enjoyed a bag of hot buttered popcorn and a soda for a total of 450 calories.
Total calories for the day = 1,900
GRAND CALORIE TOTALS: 2,500 calories + 1,900 calories = 4,400 calories/2 = 2,200 calories daily average.
Heather's current weight is 170 pounds. She is 5 feet 6 inches in height. Her 'ideal' weight range is 117-143 pounds. She has a large body frame so she has decided she will aim for 135 pounds as her goal weight on her new diet plan.
She wants to lose 35 pounds. Obviously, she needs to decrease her caloric intake to accomplish such.
This simple exercise gives Heather a good idea of how many calories she is consuming on a daily basis, particularly since her weight has remained fairly even for many months.
An important thing to note is that Heather is not consuming a vast amount of calories over what her body needs to be weigh - her recommended weight, which is 135 pounds.
Just a few extra calories per day can make all the difference.
For example, if Heather would simply become more active and consume 400 calories less per day - she wouldn't have any extra weight to worry about - ever again.
And of course, this is much easier said, than done.
However, this is the route I would recommend which is a 1,650 daily calorie intake which will gradually decrease Heather's weight to 135. On more active days, more calories would be necessary.
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