The Very First Question
When people find out that we’ve collectively lost close to 200 pounds, the first thing they always ask us is "how did we do that?" Our response is always the same - tracking our calories. Once you get into the habit of tracking calories, it really only takes a few minutes out of your day and it's an amazing tool for healthy living.
"Our response is always the same - tracking our calories"
When you start looking online you might find this acronym CICO, which means calories in calories out. All weight loss methods involve taking in less calories than your body is burning. But before you can do that you need to figure out what exactly is a calorie. When we first started we were stumped! We thought that a calorie was a unit of weight, but it’s not!
A calorie is a unit of energy. So if you eat 500 calories, that’s how much energy your body gets from eating it. Calories are basically the fuel your body burns when you are walking, jumping, breathing or sitting around watching TV. What happens when we gain weight is that we are taking in more fuel than we are using/burning. To lose weight you just have to burn more fuel than you take in. This is called a deficit.
Although there are many benefits to exercise beyond weight loss and it's a great way to increase your calorie deficit, you can lose weight without any exercise. Even if you never exercise your body still burns a lot of calories every day. When Brian and I were losing weight, sometimes we would have a down week and just sit around and watch Netflix. We were still able to lose weight those weeks, because we counted our calories and just kept consuming less fuel than our body was burning.
While it is true that different foods contain different macronutrients (Something we will talk about in a future blog post), to lose weight all you have to do is follow calories in calories out.
"to lose weight all you have to do is follow calories in calories out"
How Many Calories you Need?
So how many calories should you be eating? Sorry! We’re not going to tell you that, because we are not doctors or scientists. But what we can tell you is that there are a number of websites available to help you find out how many calories a day you should be eating, and we’ll leave these linked below. As with any big lifestyle change we highly recommend discussing with your doctor beforehand.
Decreasing your calorie intake
One tip we do have, because we learned it ourselves, is don’t start cutting to your lowest calorie deficit right away; you can do it gradually. For example, if right now you’re eating 2500 calories a day and you settle on 1500 as your daily calorie goal, take a few weeks to get to that. The first week try to go to 2200, the second 1900 and the last one 1500. It will be much easier to maintain if the change is gradual.
"don't start cutting to your lowest calorie deficit right away; you can do it gradually"
How to Track Your Calories
Here is our very favorite website to track your calories - www.Myfitnesspal.com
And here is a good one to calculate your calorie deficit (although myfitnesspal.com has something similar) - https://www.fitwatch.com/calculator/calorie-deficit
You can also track your calories using just a pen and a piece of paper, just keep a notebook and add up every day what you’ve eaten.
Come back next week to check on our number one tip for success with counting calories! (It’s seriously our favorite thing).