Here’s a golden question: how many calories should I eat a day?

Although it tends to drive our patients nutty, we don’t recommend calorie counting.

What?? Why not?

Yes, it’s true. Calories in minus calories out is an equation for weight. If you eat less than you burn, you lose weight. Eat more than you burn, you gain it!

However, the source of the calorie is important for sustainable weight loss. Carbohydrates lead to hunger more quickly. A 100 calorie pack of crackers while low in calories, will not stave off hunger for long.

Protein fills you up and keeps you full longer. So the same 100 calories in the form a low-fat cheese will be more lasting.

Our recommendation, fill up on a lean protein- eating as much as you need to reach satiety (the feeling of fullness). Here’s a tip, take at least 20 minutes to eat your meal and you’ll find it takes less to satisfy you! Better to fill up and stay full for a while instead of limiting portions and getting hungry too quickly.

Utilize online food journals or phone apps to record food intake. Rather than looking too closely into caloric intake, look at the “pie chart” to determine where the calories have come from- protein, carbohydrates, or fat. A good goal? 50% protein and under 20% carbohydrates.

This article was written by Stephanie Moore MS, RD/LD and can be contacted at stephanie.m@weightwise.com

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