As we all know your weight is based on calories in and calories out. If you take in more than you burn, as most of us do, then you will gain weight; take in less means you lose weight. But what if you are happy with where you are at? What if you just got done with your diet or are one of those lucky people who didn't need a diet to be healthy but are concerned about slowly gaining weight?
No matter your reason, knowing and monitoring your daily calories is important and not very hard. Here are some tips that may help you watch your calories to prevent weight gain.
Tip #1 : Get a calorie counting application.
There a plenty of websites (www.everydayhealth.com) that will help you find out how many calories you are eating and track them. What I find to be the most convenient are smart phone applications. Myfitnesspal.com and LostIt! are two applications that are great to try out. These apps will allow you to type in or even use a barcode scan feature to automatically input how many calories you will eat.
The reason I like smartphone apps over websites is because you will most likely have your phone with you when you eat.
Tip #2 : Know what your daily caloric intake should be to maintain your weight.
Apps like Myfitnesspal.com and LoseIt! both will be able to tell you. For me, it's 2080 calories a day. This is important to know because you will want to know your boundaries.
Tip #3 : Create your own Eat This/Not That list of places that you like to eat.
Create a spreadsheet of places that you like to eat at (even fast food). Look up their nutritional values online and find out what are acceptable calories that won't jeopardize your daily allowance. For example: A medium quarter pounder cheeseburger at McDonalds 510 calories; which is a lot. On the other hand a Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich is 350 calories; much more acceptable. (FYI... the Premium Crispy Chicken Classic Sandwich is 510 calories... 160 more than it's grilled version).
Once you learn this information, you will be able to plan your meals a little better. If you decide to not stay home and cook dinner... look at your app and find out how many calories are left for the day and then check out your list of Eat This/Not That and pick something that fits.
You will quickly find yourself knowing what to order before you even get to a restaurant.
Tip #4 : Control your drinks and snacks.
There are a lot of people who do very well with their meals, but nickel and dime themselves by making poor choices with beverages and snacks. When counting your calories don't forget to include all your drinks and snacks.
Healthier choices for drinks : Water and diet sodas
Healthier choices for snacks : There are a ton of 100 calorie snacks in stores; chips, crackers, pretzels, carrots, popcorn, cookies, apple slices. Sneaking in a candy bar can really throw your diet off.
Tip #5 : Reward good behavior :)
If your target is 2000 calories a day and you hit 1800 calories instead, go ahead and add 200 calories to the next day. This will give you a little more room to perhaps eat that extra treat. If you know you will be attending an event that you will most likely go over your allowance; counter some of that by going a little lower the day before.
Be careful not starve yourself just to have a great time the next day. Eating 500 calories one day doesn't mean you can 1500 to the next day... your body still needs nutrients.
I hope these tips help you maintain your weight. How knows... if you get use to maintaining your weight then perhaps you can find the motivation and self control to lose weight if needed.
Wish you all the best :)