In the next 10 minutes I am going to give you the most common calorie counting mistakes that are holding you back from seeing progress.
I’ll show you exactly where you are going wrong and exactly how to fix them.
I just have one thing before we get going.
Make sure you read the whole thing.
Don’t skip a line.
I will lay out exactly what to do to start seeings results, so as long as you keep your eyes peeled.
Sound good? Groovy. Let’s jump in.
What Are The Most Common Calorie Counting Mistakes?
Before we get into it let me tell you a quick story about my first ever online coaching client Giselle.
Giselle has worked out hard her entire life and lives in the gym til this day.
Despite that fact she could not get the weight to come off.
She knew the diet part was holding her back.
When I asked her how many calories she was eating she looked at me like I had 3 heads.
From this day forward we started counting calories consistently and in turn she is 30 lbs down while also becoming more confident in her food choices.
Trust me she went through all of the most common calorie counting mistakes. The one thing she also did was never gave up which is the most important thing if you are looking to change your physique.
I tell you this because I am insanely proud of the hard work she has put in and how she never gave up.
I also tell you this because just like you Giselle has had tough times throughout her journey. As long as you do not give up you will achieve your goals.
Ready to learn what Giselle learned? Keep reading.
Before We Get Any Farther.. How Does Weight Loss Happen?
One of if not the most common calorie counting mistakes I see people make is not understanding how weight loss truly works.
You see weight loss is simple math. Sheer physics. Calculated science. Einstein would be so proud of me for using those words.
To lose weight you must create a negative energy balance. To put this in better context, you need to consume less calories than you are expending.
That would make sense at least right?
To lose weight this scale above would need to have the energy intake (calories eaten) to be below the energy expenditure (calories burned). So the right side would be above the left side meaning you ate less calories than your body burned for that day.
Before you ask no I don’t think you should do hours of cardio to burn more calories. If you want the best workout to burn calories head HERE to my article that loads out a full exercise program for that.
Hence why you are counting calories in the first place, to ensure that your calories consumed are less than your calories burned.
Let me make this next statement very clear. Lean in.
If you are not losing weight you are not in a calorie deficit.
You are not in a negative energy balance which means you will not lose weight.
This will be the cornerstone of everything else moving forward in this article.
This is also very empowering because instead of wondering if your metabolism is just slow, if your age is catching up to you, or if your stress is causing you to eat 6 donuts…
You can know that at the end of the day all of it comes down to being in a calorie deficit and not any of those things above.
Want to know how many calories to eat to lose weight? Head HERE for my article on that.
5 Most Common Calorie Counting Mistakes
#1 Guessing Portion Sizes
By far the single most common calorie counting mistake I see is people simply guessing portion sizes.
Take the peanut butter example below.
You can clearly see a difference in portion sizes there. With a high calorie food like peanut butter this could easily lead to being 2-300 calories off.
Meaning if you think you are eating 200 calories of peanut butter, you are actually eating 400 calories.
Not only are you doing this for peanut butter but for your chicken, rice, chips and cookies.
So if you are missing 200 calories here on peanut butter, 80 calories on chicken, 100 calories on rice, and 100 for chips and cookies.
I know it may not look like much individually.
Then when you add it up you get 480 calories for one day of eating that is not accounted for. If you then times that by 7 days in a week that is 3,360 calories that are unaccounted for.
This can absolutely take you out of that calorie deficit meaning you will not lose weight.
I get it. It is annoying as hell sometimes to get out your food scale and weigh your food.
Or maybe you are dining out at a restaurant and can’t weigh your food.
The point is being as accurate as you possibly can as often as you possibly can is going to yield better results.
That is if you want to see the best results you can.
#2 Not Counting All Bites / Snacks
This one can piggy back off the one above so let’s bring it to the light.
I am here to tell you that the bites of food you eat while cooking dinner counts as calories for the day.
The two or three bites you take off your kids plate at lunch counts as calories for the day.
The two or three chips you eat during the day counts as calories for the day.
As the peanut butter example above it may seem like it is not a big deal but I urge you to rethink that.
We already have 480 calories a day you are missing from guessing portion sizes.
Let’s say the bites of food you eat while cooking dinner are 60 calories, the bites of food you eat off your kids plates are 60 calories, and the 3 chips are 60 calories.
Sure by themselves 60 calories may not be a huge deal… But when done 2 or 3x a day that is 180 calories a day.
Adds up quick huh?
Not to mention the 480 calories you were already missing from guessing portion sizes, so now that is 660 calories a day that are not accounted for.
660 calories unaccounted for x 7 days a week = 4620 calories a week.
See how quick that can add up?
Which again can easily take you out of a calorie deficit meaning you will not lose weight.
# 3 Cooking Oils
One of the overlooked most common calorie counting mistakes comes at the helm of cooking oils.
When I first get people into my online coaching program I ask them to give me a weeks worth of food to see what they are currently eating.
“Hey, what do you use to cook your chicken with?”
“Oh I use olive oil I love it! Plus I am trying to keep it healthy.”
“Amazing, I couldn’t agree more! Hey do you know if olive oil has calories in it?”
“….I have no clue….”
1 tbsp of olive oil has 120 calories in it.
*When they find that out*
So remember to add in your cooking oils when you count your calories for the day.
If you are keeping that is 120 calories unaccounted for bringing us to a total of 780 calories potentially missed in one day. This adds up to 5,460 calories a week.
And we still have 2 more left ;).
#4 Liquid Calories
Liquid calories are next up on the list that are often overlooked when it comes to counting calories.
First and foremost the most common liquid calories people think of would be alcohol.
Simply put yes alcohol should be tracked and accounted for.
Alcohol has 7 calories per gram.
It doesn’t matter if you are only having vodka or drinks with no sugar in it because alcohol still has calories, so therefore it should be accounted for.
This is not to say you cannot have alcohol because you surely can. That being said, if you have a calorie limit of 2000 calories and you want to have 500 calories worth of drinks it would behoove you to plan ahead for that to stay within your calorie deficit.
On top of alcohol things like juices or smoothies have calories in them and often a ton more than you think.
Take this “healthy green smoothie” for example.
This “healthy” smoothie has 270 calories in it with 63 g of carbs.
Are you seeing why I am using the “healthy” attached to this?
Don’t let the small in stature deter size you from its high calories.
For reasons of this article let’s say you forgot to track it because it is “healthy” (which happens more times than you can imagine), that adds 270 calories to our list for the day.
A total of 1,050 calories unaccounted for in a day and 7,350 for the week.
Oof. On to the last one.
#5 Not Tracking Weekends
Oh the weekend’s.
Your time off work that you can just kick it back and relax. Enjoy some free time. Enjoy some good food.
Nothing wrong with that at all. Where you can go wrong though is thinking that the weekends don’t count towards your calorie count for the week.
You can be spot on Monday – Friday. Yet if Friday night – Sunday are completely botched then you are not going to make progress.
The biggest piece of advice I can give you is plan plan plan.
There will be some instances where you can’t and that is just life but when you can plan what you are going to eat over the weekend you will set yourself up for better success.
This is not to say you can’t enjoy drinks or enjoy a burger.
What that does mean though is you can enjoy your favorite foods while also still sticking to your calorie deficit.
Which will in turn lead you to still losing weight.
Remember there is no one food or drink that makes you gain weight rather it is going back to the beginning of this article referring to the energy balance.
As long as you are in a negative energy balance, aka calorie deficit, you will lose weight.
You can easily not track the weekends and eat 3000 4000 6000 calories. Therefore I will exclude this from our current count.
Just know that the weekends can easily break you. If you think you want some extra help with your nutrition feel free to head HERE to ask me questions. I would love to help.
What Are The Ramifications Of The Most Common Calorie Counting Mistakes?
I hope you not only have been able to see some of the most common calorie counting mistakes that you could be making but also how to fix them.
I want to revisit that energy balance we touched on earlier to bring this all together for you.
Remember to lose weight you must be in a negative energy balance on the see saw, aka be in a calorie deficit.
Through the 5 mistakes we approximated you could be having 1,050 calories a day that are unaccounted for (not including weekends because.. yeah).
Which is 7,350 calories a week.
Let’s say that for you to lose weight you need to eat 1800 calories a day which is what you thought you were eating before reading this article.
That is 12,600 calories a week.
Now add the unaccounted 7,350 calories to the 12,600 calories.
That is 19,950 calories. This will take you out of that calorie deficit and make you not lose weight.
Let this article guide your calorie counting diet and make you aware of the traps you could fall into so you can swiftly avoid them.
Questions? Feel free to leave them below or reach out to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Look forward to hearing from you. Happy calorie counting.