Tips to Successful Calorie Counting

Woman measuring waistCounting Calories can seem like a burden at times. It can be annoying to have to stop and enter your calories if you’re busy. Or if you’re out with friends you don’t always want to pull out your phone and get counting. While writing my last blog about the 80/20 Rule I discovered I needed to write a follow-up blog entry. I kept having all these tips come to mind, little tricks I’ve personally used keep on the right track. So I’ll briefly summarize them.

Food Obsession

An issue with calorie counting I’ve really struggled with is the obsession of just THINKING about calories and therefore thinking about food. The more I focus on “Ok, I just ate something so I can’t eat for the next three hours” the more I would feel cravings. Sometimes I swear I wasn’t even hungry, it was just mental.

So there are a few options:

Keep yourself busy. Keep yourself Moving.

Work on a project or a hobby. Tackle a task at home like cleaning up the garage. Go vacuum a room. Find something that will keep you physically MOVING. Before you realize it, you’ll forget about your food cravings and time will pass by until it’s actually time for your next meal.

Drink a bunch of water.

A portion in your brain called the Hypothalamus is what controls your Hunger and Thirst. Unfortunately, it’s not very good at telling the difference. So you could be very thirsty, but feel hungry. This is a real problem for me. I hardly ever feel “Thirsty”. It’s almost always hungry. So….down a large glass of water and make yourself wait 5-10 minutes before eating anything. Many times you’ll feel satisfied and you never end up needing to eat anything.

Satisfy your Oral Compulsion.

Sometimes just putting something in your mouth helps. Chewing gum. Mints. Cough Drops. Brush your teeth. Floss. Use a toothpick. Some of these options are better than others and I’m not telling you to pick up some bad oral fixation habits. But I’d be lying to say I’m above using this trick. It’s helped me.

Wash your face with COLD COLD water.

Long before I knew the WHY, I was using this myself across multiple areas of life, including when I get hungry. This will take some explaining, but basically, there is something called the Mammalian Diving Reflex. Basically, cold water (particularly submersion) creates a parasympathetic response or basically relaxes your body. This is in case you are diving underwater. It shunts blood from your arms and legs and slows your heart rate. Now…in the event you are a NERVOUS eater like me, sometimes you eat simply to deal with anxiety and stress. In such people, the Diving Reflex will actually help you.

Pick Snacks that are work or high pay off.

Certain snacks have a better “Pay Off” than others. Examples of hard work snacks would be In-shell nuts like walnuts or peanuts. You have to be careful with these because nuts are high in calories, but shelling them slows you down enough that you typically don’t overeat them. It’s very easy to overeat nuts when pulling them from a can and grabbing them by the handful. It’s not as easy when you have to crack each nut.
An example of a high payoff food to me is Seaweed. To me, a pack of seaweed that is around 100 calories is equally as satisfying to me as a small bag of chips. Lots of crunch, some oil, and salt. Blueberries are another example, with a cup (or about 100 blueberries) coming in at just 84 calories.