5 Reasons Why Tracking Your Calories Didn’t Work

Understand Why Food Logging Didn’t Work For You

Have you tried to count calories but didn’t lose any weight? If weight loss really is just about calories, why didn’t it work? Here are five reasons why you may be counting your calories and still not seeing results.

1. Unintentionally Leaving Calories Out

How are you logging your food? What are you using to measure your food? What is “1 cup”? Is that cup packed down or not? Your food log needs to be specific or you run the risk of unintentionally under-reporting your calorie intake. EVERYONE has under-reported their calorie intake at one point in time. Depending on the food, there can be a big difference between a packed cup and an unpacked cup. You may be consuming extra calories without realizing it because of this discrepancy. The most accurate way to measure your food is by using a food scale and calculating the grams and ounces of each food item that you eat.

2. Intentionally Leaving Calories Out

It was just one, right? Wrong. If you aren’t being honest on your food log, you are sabotaging your own progress. Your food log needs to be completed every single day because every calorie counts. It may feel like this one potato chip or one strawberry won’t make a difference, but it adds up. An extra 100 calories per day adds up to ten pounds of weight gained every year. It’s not worth it. If you are leaving any calories out of your log, you are only lying to yourself. This includes “cheat” days. If you are eating more calories than you should be for your goal, you are only cheating yourself and you deserve better than that.

3. Overestimating the Number of Calories You Burn

How many calories did you burn in that workout? Are you sure? People commonly overestimate the number of calories that they burn during a workout. Part of this is due to individual perceived rate of exertion. “30 minutes of strenuous activity” means something different for two different people. It is impossible to gauge how many calories you are burning on your own.

4. Adding Extra Calories For Exercise

It is too easy to fall into the “I worked out today so I deserve this cookie” trap. You are not a dog and you do not need to reward yourself with food. Even with an activity tracker, your calorie intake needs to remain a constant number. Activity trackers are not 100% accurate in calculating how many calories you’ve burned. If you add in extra calories because your activity tracker or food log says that you burned extra calories, you are putting yourself in jeopardy of eating too many calories and gaining weight.

5. Focusing Too Much on What You’re Eating and not How Much You’re Eating

We’ve all been guilty of the “it’s healthy so I can eat more of it” mindset. 3000 calories in kale is still 3000 calories. If you are focusing all of your attention on eating “healthy” and aren’t putting calories first, you may be overlooking the most important factor of weight loss. Remember, get your calories in line first, THEN focus on balancing your macronutrients.

That’s Why

Now you know, tracking your calories through a food log is an effective and efficient way to achieve your goal as long as you are being accurate. It doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Eliminate under-reporting of calories consumed and overestimating of calorie burned, as well as stick to your plan every day. If you work on perfecting your accuracy one step at a time, it will turn into a game of “how can I eat what I want while staying in my goal”. There’s always a way to make it fun!


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  1. Pingback: 10 Ways To Make Logging Your Food Easier - Access Change

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