Fat to Fit Guide Part 4: How to Track Calories for Lifelong Weight Maintenance

Welcome to the final installment of this Fat to Fit guide!

 

In Part One, Two, and Three, we talked about WHAT calories and macros are, WHY you should track them, and HOW to determine you daily calories for losing weight.

 

(If you are still unsure about determining your calories & macros as well as how to track your food - read those posts or send me an email at carter@envisionbeingthin.com)

 

With the information you learned from the first three parts, you have all the tools you need to start working towards achieving the body and health you've always wanted.

 

Part Four is going to be for people wanting to use the knowledge they've learned to continue making progress without constantly weighing, measuring, and tracking their food.

 

People who will benefit from this post:

 

  • Those who have been tracking calories and weighing food with success for a few months.
  • Those who have a clear understanding of calories, macronutrients, and tracking both.
  • Those who have reached their goal body weight and want to effortless maintain their new weight forever.

 

If you are new to tracking your calories or still have a good amount of weight to lose, I recommend you bookmark this page and continue to track calories by weighing out your food.

 

Come back to this post once you reach your desired body weight or feel like you have a good grasp on all of this measuring and tracking stuff.

 


How to Track without Tracking

 

As I touched on in Part 3, tracking calories and macros provides the knowledge of food that leads to life-long weight loss success.

 

Here's how:

 

  • You learn what portion sizes ACTUALLY look like
  • You figure out the general caloric and macronutrient breakdown of foods (meat have fat and protein, veggies have carbs and fiber, etc.)
  • You understand that it's not specific foods that cause you to gain weight, rather an overconsumption of food in general.

 

That last statement is possibly the most important bit of knowledge...

 

People demonize things like bread, cookies, and chocolate as the main reason for their weight gain when in reality it is the over-consumption on this stuff that are causing problems.

 

Maintaining a lean body is more about the quantity of food rather than the perceived quality of food.

 

Okay Carter, enough jabbering....how can I be "flexible" with my approach?

 

Excuse me–I tend to go off on tangents from time to time... 😉

 

Here are three tools that will help you estimate the calories and portion size of your food without having to use a food scale or measuring cup.

 

These are the same tools I use to maintain my weight without obsessing over the exact weight and calories of my food.

 

Tool #1 - Use your hands to help estimate portion sizes

 

Don't want to carry around measuring cups all day? Use your hands (and fingers) instead!

 

This is a trick that I've been using for the past few years, and it's worked gangbusters for me. Here is an excellent graphic showing some of the measurements you can find:

 

2014-10-22-portion-control-4-hand-guide-eng.png

 

Here's another good method where you guesstimate portion sizes using common items:

 

portion-size-pocket-guide-lba.jpg

 

If you want to get really good at doing this, spend a few days estimating your meals and then weighing them out after to see how accurate your guesses were.

 

I typically do this little drill every 3-4 months to keep myself sharp and ensure my guessing is still on point.

 

Tool #2 - Overestimate your intake

 

This isn't really a tool, but we will call it one for the sake of keeping things flowing ;).

 

This "tool" is particularly handy when dining out at a restaurant.

 

You should already be using your hands to guestimate the portion sizes on your plate, but a problem comes with not knowing EXACTLY how some dishes are prepared.

 

For example, the amount of oil and sauce used at a restaurant can vary from meal to meal.

 

Because of this, it can help to overestimate the number of calories and portion size of the food in your meal.

 

While you can't be 100% accurate, you CAN minimize the damage of an overly oiled or sauced meal by adding an extra 100-200 calories to your guessed total.

 

The worst case scenario is that you estimate the calories to be slightly higher than they actually are.

 

In my opinion, this is much better than underestimating.

 

Tool #3 - Eat similar foods at similar times

 

While I believe in flexibility and variety, sometimes is just easier to eat the same foods over and over again.

 

Note: There is a difference between feeling like you HAVE to eat a limited number of foods and choosing to do so.

 

I like to work with 8-10 different meals and eat those for around 3-4 weeks, or until I get sick of them.

 

I always ensure that the meals have an adequate amount of fiber and various micronutrients in them too (so my bases are covered).

 

The benefit of doing this is that you don't have to try to guestimate your portion sizes and calories for every meal.

 

Once you've had a particular meal a few times, you already know the calories, carbs, protein, and fat from before.

 

It can also help to eat at similar times every day.

 

Having been a former fat kid, I know the struggle of constantly thinking about food.

 

However, setting specific times for eating throughout the day keeps me from thinking about when I'm eating, what I'm eating, how much I'm eating, etc.

 

Similar to the meals idea above, the times you set to eat should be chosen by you and work for your life.

 

As long as you are hitting your calorie and macronutrient goals for the day, it doesn't matter if you eat 1, 2, 4, 6, or 10 meals.

 

I eat 2-3 meals a day, and my eating schedule looks something like this

 

8 AM - Wake up

1 PM - Drink coffee and eat a piece of fruit if I get hungry

1:30 or 2 PM - Eat around 50% of my daily calories (typically heavy in protein and vegetables)

6 PM - Carb-heavy meal (typically potato wedges or oatmeal)

9 PM - High fat, high carb snack (maybe a chocolate bar or ice cream?)

 

This is the schedule of eating I enjoy and what works best for me. Some days it doesn't work out like this, but I try to stick to this schedule 70-80% of the time.

 


Before I Close This Thing Down...

 

If you want an actionable nutrition and workout guide for getting started, be sure to download my Beginner's Fitness Start-Up Plan.

 

This plan covers a lot of the nutritional concepts we've already discussed (but hearing it twice can't hurt!), common exercise and nutrition myths, as well as my favorite exercise protocol for faster fat loss results.

 

Oh...AND it's 100% FREE!

 

Click the button below to get it now for free...

 

After reading this Fat to Fit guide and my free fitness plan, you should have a clear understanding of calories, macronutrients, losing weight, and how to keep weight off for the rest of your life!

 

If you are looking for a more guided route, I do offer online coaching. You can learn more about it by Clicking Here.

 

Did you find this article (and guide) useful? Comment down below and let me know!

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