Weight-Loss Week: Ways To Count Your Calories

Every day this week, we're looking a short number of ways to get back to your ideal weight. We're covering simple changes to your running; everyday exercise tweaks; and loads of realistic eating rules that you can live by.

Simple Ways To Count Your Calories

Start a food diary: Many nutritionists believe that, provided you don't become obsessed, keeping a food diary will help you control your eating. You tend to eat less when you write down every food you eat, and you also do less 'mindless' eating. As a bonus, you'll also begin to notice your eating patterns. You're more likely to see that you're eating too much or too little of certain foods, and whether you're taking in a proper balance of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

Stay on an even keel: Use a 'hunger scale' to assess your need to eat, suggests university-based nutritionist Linda Houtkooper. A 'one' means you're starving, and a '10' means you're stuffed. Your goal is to keep yourself between four and six. You won't drop so low that you react by overeating, and you also won't gravitate to junk food when you're not really hungry.

Raise the bar: Use energy bars whenever you feel ravenous. They're high in nutrients and low in fat. They can fill you up on 250 calories or less, provide the fuel you need, and quell your hunger.

Drink up: Just about every dietician repeats the same mantra when it comes to fluid intake: Drink eight glasses of water a day. Water replenishes fluid lost through sweating, facilitates digestion, depresses your hunger, and keeps your muscles and joints fully lubricated. It also prevents you from consuming high-calorie fizzy drinks. Yes, energy drinks are best before, during and after endurance exercise, when you need the extra energy. But simple water can't be beaten as a day-long, calorie-free beverage or hydrator during and after shorter runs.

Try chopsticks: According to Fisher, chopsticks will make you eat more slowly. And that's good, because you're more likely to be satisfied with smaller portions. And, as an added bonus, many people report that food actually tastes better when they use chopsticks!

Stay single: Instead of buying jumbo-sized economy packs of ice cream bars and other treats at the supermarket, buy single-serving packages. Otherwise it can be tough to resist eating your way through the larger packages like there's no tomorrow. Think about it: does a four-litre tub of ice cream really last very long in your house?

Count the ounces: When eating protein foods, choose modest portions of low-calorie choices. 170g of lean protein (such as skinless chicken) will give you about 380 fewer calories than 170g of high-fat protein (such as steak). And most people who eat steak consume a lot more than 170g.

Day One: Running Off The Pounds | Day Two: Best Exercise Options | Day Three: Best Eating Routines For Runners | Day Four: Simple Ways To Count Your Calories | Day Five: Weight-Loss Week: Enjoy Your Food (that's what it's for)