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How to Count Your Calories to Lose Weight

The key is patience and no excuses.

The key is patience and forgiveness. This is a lifestyle change and counting calories does not mean that you have to give up any of your favorite foods. 

Here is what you'll need:

  1. A Calorie/Macro Tracker - I personally use My Fitness Pal by Under Armor. There are plenty of others in the App Store and the Google Play Store. 
  2. A Food Scale - You can buy one at Walmart, but I use the one below from Amazon. 
  3. A Will to Want to Lose the Weight

Now, you need to calculate how many calories a day you will need to consume to lose weight. My Fitness Pal (MFP) does this when you sign up with them and you can change it at any time in your settings. You can also use the website below the Food Scale link to calculate your daily caloric intake. 

After your MFP is set up, simply put in all of the food you eat during the day. This is where the food scale comes in handy. You want to be fairly precise about what you track. 

For instance, weigh out your cereal in the morning instead of just pouring a bowl and tracking one serving. Most normal bowls of cereal are actually between two to three servings. 

Be specific when you're tracking. Make sure you track the ripe banana you ate instead of accidentally tracking the unripe green banana. This isn't insanely important, and won't wreck your diet, but it is good to get into the habit of. Ripe bananas tend to have higher carbs. 

Counting macros will help you keep your diet balanced and it will also help with hunger. 

How to Count Macros:

Macros is short for macronutrients. They are the three main nutrient sources that you consume daily: carbs, fats, and proteins. MFP will automatically set your macros as well. But, if you want to up your protein by five or ten grams, it will help keep you full longer.

Some people who count calories and macros prefer a high-carb and low-fat diet, and some prefer high-fat and low-carb. Either diet choice works as long as you keep to your macros and do the research behind the diet you choose.

I prefer the higher carb diet. My macros are 200 grams of carbs, 45 grams of fat, and 110 grams of protein per day. I eat around 1660 calories a day.

The best sources of carbs are: rice, pasta, potatoes, sweet potatoes, popcorn, pretzels, and fruit.

The best sources of protein are: chickpeas, beans, chicken, lean beef, turkey, tuna, salmon, lentils, greek yogurt, and protein powder.

The best sources of fat are: butter (maybe just "Can't Believe It's Not Butter"), avocado/guacamole, olive oil, grapeseed oil, and sometimes foods that are naturally higher in fats like nuts and seeds. 

My Tips for Success:

  • If you like coffee, drink it first in the morning. The caffeine will help with hunger.
  • Drink water when you wake up.
  • Don't eat until you feel you need to. If you don't feel like eating breakfast, don't. You can eat more calories in one sitting—which really helped me because then I felt truly satiated by eating a large dinner and a small lunch earlier in the day.
  • Eat what I call "filler foods," like spinach and other leafy vegetables. Large salads are very filling when a protein is added. If you do decide to do salads, make sure you watch for a fat-free or low-fat salad dressing unless your fat source is your dressing. Yet, fats are higher in calories so your low-calorie salad may become a high-calorie meal with your dressing. 
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