It's a safe bet to say that most females try their best to master the art of counting calories. Plenty of nonprofit organizations come up with charts and graphs to teach it as early as kindergarden. So why is it so hard to compute this mysterious set of numbers?
The first problem to tackle is this: no one is the same. Although there are charts you can use to start with, your numbers will be different from my numbers. However, don't give up just yet. Whether you're trying to maintain your weight, or lose a few pounds you can start with some basic guidelines.
Here are some recommendations that are handy for a start. A helpful way to see if these amounts are right for your body's needs, start a food diary, that you keep with you all day for a week or two, and write the calorie count of everything you eat or drink. At the beginning of every day that you write in your food diary, weigh yourself. It is helpful if you can do this at the same time everyday. At the end of the two weeks you should be able to assess if the calories you consume are just enough, too little (when you lose weight) or too much (when you gain weight).
I've found that at 1200-1500 calories, I can lose 1-2 pounds each week to reach my goal. After a couple months, I've been able to lose 20 pounds so far! OH YEAH! But I do have a few more pounds I would like to lose (especially since I will soon be walking down the aisle).
Now that you know how many calories you should consume, you need to be mindful of how you "spend" them. 1500 ice cream calories can go pretty quickly, and although they may taste great while on your tongue, they don't look so great on your hips, thighs, and ankles. Break up the calories based on your daily schedule. For instance, if you have 1500 calories to spend in a day, you could have three 500 calorie meals; or two 300 calorie meals, two 200 calorie snacks, and a 500 calorie meal. The idea is to break it up throughout the day so that you feel full, and your body thinks it's being fed a lot, when in reality it is being fed just enough.
Most importantly, don't shy away from fruits, veggies, and protein. Protein is awesome, because it takes awhile to process so it keeps you feeling full longer. Some fast food places are even starting to offer grilled options that are great sources of protein when you're on the go. Fruits and veggies are low calorie, great tasting, and good for you. I LOVE making fruit smoothies to take to class in the morning.
Well thats my two cents for the day, but if you leave me some comments I'll be happy to answer any questions you may have. Happy Friday, everyone :)