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I wanted to share with you my experience of how I lost 70 pounds by counting calories. My goal is to help you learn a practical method that will allow you to also successfully lose weight. The method I used (and still use today) to count calories and lose weight is called food tracking.
Why am I an advocate for counting calories and logging them? I’m not a nutritionist or a health care provider. What I do have is proven experience of losing weight and keeping most of it off over the last 13 years. I don’t have super-willpower. And I’m not an overly healthy eater. In addition, my exercise during the day would be considered light if at all. I’m just a regular gal who gained weight and needed a long-term weight loss solution.
A little history about my weight journey
Let me share with you a quick synopsis of my weight journey. Growing up, I was always fit and healthy. I worked as a firefighter and an Emergency Medical Technician. I worked my way through college and continued to stay active and slim. But in my early 30s I ruptured three discs in my lower back and my neck. After fusion surgeries everything changed. I battled chronic pain and depression. I was no longer active and the weight quickly came on. Before I knew it, I was 70 pounds overweight.
I knew I needed to lose weight and after doing some research, it seemed that eating less calories than I expended made the most sense for weight loss. I started to track my calorie intake. With the help of a food diary website, I was able to calculate my Recommended Daily Intake (RDI is your daily calorie goal) and I started to log all of my calories.
I had the goal to lose 1-2 pounds a week. I started to do 30 minutes of light aerobics every day and I diligently logged my calories in the food diary. In less than one year I had lost 70 pounds. I felt better. The weight loss also helped me in my spinal recovery (I was not carrying as much weight) and I was able to return to a more active lifestyle. The below picture was taken six years after achieving my ideal weight. I can also help you maintain your weight loss!
My story is not unique. If you are reading this, I expect you have some interest in losing weight and hopefully feeling better. I want this for you also. If I can do it, you can do it. My blog is dedicated to helping you, and others like you, to lose weight (slowly and long term) by counting calories and using the food tracking method.
What is food tracking?
Food tracking is a calorie-counting weight loss method you will use to log your food and liquid calories in an electronic food diary. As you get used to tracking, you will learn to utilize a food scale to help understand your serving sizes and portions. You will calculate your RDI and you will try to end your day as close to your RDI as possible. Lastly, once a week you will weigh yourself and watch as your weight slowly (1-2 pounds a week) reduces.
Counting calories is nothing new. Many dieters have used this to lose weight. This is a simple formula that works for many people. You eat less calories than you burn. It may not be 1+1=2 for all people, but it is very close, and it worked great for me.
If you have a medical issue, counting calories may not work exactly as expected. But it is still worth a try. What do you have to lose? I will say that food tracking may not work for all people, but I do believe it will work for most. This is why counting calories is the base of many paid ‘diet’ programs.
Food tracking is not a diet- it is a lifestyle
When I write about food tracking, you will notice a seldom mention the word ‘diet’. The reason is, most people have a short-term expectation when it comes to dieting. Often it is used with a quick-fix header like, “Lose 10 pounds in one week!” But the problem with those types of diets is the person does not make long-term changes to a long-term problem. I doubt I will ever create a Pinterest image that says, “Lose 10 pounds in 5 weeks!” Maybe I should! I’ll put in the subtitle, “And keep it off!”
You can lose weight more quickly if you choose a program other than food tracking. But I worry that those changes will not last. I want to help you lose weight once and for all. No more diets. In fact, I’m offering you a chance to get off the diet merry-go-round. Let me encourage you to take your time losing weight. I did it and I’m committed to helping you do it.
It’s not hard! When I first started logging my calories in a food diary, mobile apps and smart phones were not yet available. I accessed my electronic food diary via the web. Now, I just pull out my cell phone, open the app, and in less than five minutes I have logged my meal calories.
Why does food tracking work?
Here is a summary as to why food tracking works:
- Ownership– By tracking your food intake, you take ownership for what you put in your mouth. No more mindless snacking. You are in control of what you eat!
- Accountability– This gives you accountability for what you eat. If you eat it (or drink it), you track it.
- Awareness– If you are accountable, then you are also aware. You quickly learn that you would rather skip that snack then blow your calories for the day. Staying under your RDI is always a victory.
- Education– It is surprising to learn how small portions the food manufacturers use to calculate food servings. By weighing foods, you will quickly learn what a realistic portion is, and this will help you learn to accurately use the nutritional labels to track your calories.
How does food tracking work?
Let me give you a quick primer that will get you started with counting those calories. Here are the steps that will get you tracking:
- Choose a food diary– The first thing you need is a mobile food diary. If you use FitBit, they have a very good database and I recommend you use their food diary. If you don’t (you don’t have to) you can use one of the many that are free and available on the Internet. Just do a search for “food diary”. I have used FatSecret.com and FitBit. I’ve had friends also recommend MyFitnessPal.com.
- Calculate your Recommended Daily Intake– Create an account (in your food diary app) and then use its calculator to figure out your RDI. I recommend you only try to lose 1-2 pounds a week so that the reduction in calories is doable.
- Now track those calories! All food and drink calories should be entered.
Those are the basics. If you start with that, you have the foundation of food tracking and you are ready to start losing weight by counting your calories.
Don’t try this alone
I want to help you! I stopped tracking a couple of years ago and I slowly gained back 20 pounds. So, I am food tracking again. And I have lost no less than one pound each week since I have returned to tracking. Sure, it doesn’t sound like much, but I know I am steadily losing weight. And I even lost a pound over Thanksgiving week!
For more information on counting and logging calories to lose weight (food tracking) or for recipes from the Food Tracking Momma, please CLICK HERE to subscribe to this blog and let me help you live life more healthy and abundantly (John 10:10). You will receive the FREE eBook LOSING WEIGHT WITH FOOD TRACKING.
I would like to be a supporter and encourage you on this journey. Please subscribe to this blog and let me help you live life more healthy and abundantly (John 10:10). I encourage each of you to join my Facebook group, Losing Weight with Food Tracking. You will find a great support system that will help you learn the habit of healthy and lasting weight loss. I am active in the group and will be there to encourage you and answer any questions you may have about this method of weight loss. Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest.
You can do this! I have done it. Happy Food Tracking! I look forward to hearing more about your weight loss.
Sincerely, Andrea- the Food Tracking Momma