Why You Should Budget Calories |

Why You Should Budget Calories

myfitnesspal screenshot

I have ~2000 calories I can spend each day and still lose weight.

Unless you’re struggling with an eating disorder, you should have a calorie budget too—even if you want to maintain your current weight.

Here’s why:

You can eat anything

My favorite meal is a probably a Chipotle burrito.  It’s easily a 1000 calories.  Several “diet’ folks would say to never eat it—and I think they’re ridiculous.

It’s delicious.    Here’s how I can easily make it work.

Breakfast:  Whole wheat toast with 2 eggs (I prefer free range/organic eggs)  277 cals
Lunch: Grilled chicken with onions/peppers. Side salad. 350 cals
Dinner: A freaking Chipotle burrito.  1000 cals

That entire day is 1627 calories.   Calories well spent.

I’ve seen popular “healthy” writers swear off gluten (without allergies), forbid sweets, or any type of carb.  Cool. Do your thing.  But  I think it will cause people to:

  • binge
  • yo-yo
  • and eventually quit

You’ll be more aware of the food you eat

Logging calories has made me more aware of two things:

  1. Exactly how many calories are in which foods. It’s easy to underestimate.  Yes, spend your calories,  but spend wisely.
  2. Calories are equal—but food is not.  You’ll feel different and your body will react differently to a 300 calorie donut than 300 calories of broccoli.

But people, please eat the donut sometimes.  Please.  Eat it.  Log it.  Enjoy it.  Move on.

It’s easy

I don’t like the term “calorie counting”.  It makes me think of Scrooge McDuck counting his gold coins obsessively.  Using a budget makes sense to me because I do one financially—so why not with food and exercise?

I can’t say enough about MyFitnessPal.  The database is huge—I can update from my phone or computer.

The only drawbacks are it tends to overestimate exercise calories burned and finding the right entry for weird meals can be tedious.

It works

I lost 20 lbs in 1 month by using a calorie budget—this included pigging out over the holidays and on my birthday.  You can do a daily budget, or weekly.

I plan eat pizza and drink beer tomorrow, like I did last weekend.  I also plan to weigh-in tomorrow weighing less than I did last week.

It’s better 

Atkins/Paleo/Lo-carb/No gluten preference/Slow-carb/South Beach/Body for Life/Weightwatchers/Jenny Craig/Beyonce Diet/Nutrisystem/ all have the same problems:

  • often cost $$$ to join/follow
  • not sustainable over long term
  • restrict certain foods or give you gross versions of delicious food (wheatgrass pizza)
  • prey on fat people who misunderstand how they got fat and why they stay fat

You can make a calorie budget now for free—and still enjoy the foods you like.

Feel better.

Look better.

Be better.

Win win win. When?

(re)Start today.

17. January 2013 by chris
Categories: Calorie Budget, Losing Weight | 8 comments

Comments (8)

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  7. Just wanted to comment and wholeheartedly agree with this post. I’ve lost over 70 pounds so far without doing a lick of exercise, restricting what types of foods I ate, or plateauing, and the “secret” was simple calorie counting. Weight loss doesn’t have to be complicated.

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