Do you really want to count calories?

Yes, it's true - being a calorie counter is helpful and almost all nutritionists and people "in the know" agree that to lose weight, you need to consume fewer calories than you burn.

The amount you burn varies from person to person - even if they are the same age and do the same amount of activity. I have a particular client who can still lose weight even though her diet includes two bars of chocolate every day!

But then, life isn't fair is it?

The biggest drawback to counting calories is the time it takes to do so.

Looking on the back of every packet or jar as you go round the supermarket. (Glasses on and off, if you are like me!) Then having to look at individual foods on the calorie counter and tot up the calories all day long to see how much you've got left for your evening meal!

You may think that going on a calorie reduced diet is much better and healthier than doing a "faddy" diet. This isn't necessarily so unless you balance your calorie intake from the right sort and mixtures of foods. Let's face it, you could easily knock up 1200 - 1500 calories on one "The Works" cooked breakfast or on a cream tea and cakes!!

One of the best ways of making sure you get the correct balance is to think of the Food Guide Pyramid.

Food Guide Pyramid

You will see that most servings of food should come from the bread, cereal, rice and pasta group. (Not counting any additions to them!) Next comes fruit and vegetables. Then a 50/50 mix of meat, poultry etc and dairy products. Finally, very sparingly, fats, oils and sweets. Don't forget also, that alcohol has a high calorie content.

People often say to me "So what amount is a portion or serving?". Well, the World Cancer Research Fund defines them as follows -

Calorie Counter Portions Guide

Although I do know the calorie content of the diet I give to my clients, I always suggest the best and least boring way to lose weight on a low-calorie diet is not to think about calories at all but just to think of patterns and portions - nutritionally balanced, by using the food guide pyramid.

Click here to see some examples of menus, which illustrate how this is done.
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