Counting Counts

As I have begun this weight loss and training in 2009, I have begun the long journey of understanding what I put into my body and the impact this has on my performance and weight loss.

A few quick highlights to share with those that are also struggling with nutrition.

#1) First and foremost, you need to Count Your Calories. Period. This is not an easy task and many people have different techniques for how to do this but everything boils down to the calories you intake and the calories you burn.

#2) Online Resources. There are dozens and dozens of sites like Need2Tri out there. These people have years of experience in sports physiology and understanding the impact nutrition has. Use them. My strongest recommendation is Calorie Count: http://caloriecount.about.com/calories-fruits-fruit-juices-ic0900. This site has a list of restaurants and dozens of raw ingredients, what their calories are and allow you to create your own foods to determine the calories.

#3) Use a Program. All of these diet programs are based on calories. Whether its is Body for Life, South Beach, Weight Watchers, etc. All of these programs attempt to make it easier to determine what is healthy and what is not. They all of their benefits but these can help you on the right foot. Here is a detailed article on how Weight Watchers calculates their point system. It really boils down to calories and is slightly impacted by fat and fiber content.

#4) Focus on Whole. We spend too much time in some of these programs focusing on protein, fat, carbs, etc. etc. While it is important to be aware of all of these, people know what is good for them. Period. You know that the 140 calories in a Pepsi are not as good as a can of green beans’ 140 calories. Just be smart about what your calories include. An article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune discussed this in more detail.

#5) Track Your Food. Sometimes it helps just to hold yourself accountable and actually see over time the food you are eating. There are dozens of sites (including Calorie Count above) that allow you to do this. I recommend the free site Buckeye Outdoors. This site allows daily intake tracking and your training log.

#6) Accountability. People pay big bucks for weight loss clinics that really get you only one thing: Accountability. You know that every time you go in there, someone will know whether you’ve been following your plan. Find a training partner, put a blog of your weight loss, have a friend call and check on your weight each week. More than anything else this is imperative to successful training and weight loss.

Feel free to add tricks that work for you below. Just a note that I hope to engage with a specialized nutritionist in the coming months to assist with recommendations and adding their insights here. Stay tuned.

~ Joel

Update
Additional Calorie Sites
#1) Daily Plate
#2) My Fitness Pal
#3) Calorie King
#4) Shape Fit
#5) Diet Facts
#6) Fat Secret
#7 Personal Favorite: Chipotle Nutrition

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