One of the most important parts about calorie counting, is understanding what your online (or offline) calorie counter is actually looking at.
A calorie is a unit of energy that is associated with food and in particular with dieting. So counting calories is about tallying up potential energy from the food you eat. The definition of a calorie is :
'the amount of energy, or heat, it takes to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit)'.
Therefore, by using a calorie counter you are effectively monitoring the potential energy from the foods you take into your body - the calorie counting bit. The body uses this energy to live and breathe, and perform all our daily activities. The Basal Metabolic Rate has information on calories used just to stay alive. You can also calculate your BMR with the BMR Calculator.
Calorie Counting to lose weight
Firstly, use our Daily calorie intake calculator to see what your daily intake actually is. The figure that you get is therefore the amount of calories that you need to consume to stay at your current weight.
The idea of calorie counting is becoming more aware of the calorific value of foods that you are eating and keeping the amount of calories you consume at a level lower than the amount of calories that you are burning during the day. If you have an unhealthy diet and are left with an excess of calories that are not being burned off then this excess energy is converted to Fat. The more calories - the more fat.
As a general rule, if you eat 500 calories less than you need each day you will lose weight at the rate of one pound per week. Combine eating less with an increase in exercise and daily activity and the deficit between calorie intake to calories burned increases have a look at the Calorie Calculator to see how many calories you could lose by undertaking different exercises. The more of a deficit the quicker the weight loss. The great thing about calorie counting is that if you are eating sensibly you do not have to leave anything out of your diet, as long as your calorie intake remains lower than your calories burned.