Counting Calories

by | Jun 10, 2023

This edition is about how to track caloric intake.  As we discussed previously, to lose weight, you simply must take in fewer calories than you burn each day. This is best achieved with portion control over time and limiting snacking rather than crash diets and starving yourself, which increases stress and can be counterproductive.


Tracking calories is an important way of becoming more conscious about what we eat. As we discussed previously medical weight loss increases “satiety,” which is the feeling of being full. Most people will naturally eat less while taking medical weight loss, but without changes in eating habits and our relationship to food, these changes won’t last if medical weight loss is ever stopped. We also burn calories by exercising, but it is probably not as much as you think!

To best change eating habits effectively, calories need to be tracked.  Apps such as MyFitnessPal, Lose It!, and FatSecret can be helpful to monitor your calorie intake. (You’ll probably be surprised where calories are coming from.) Some of these apps even include a barcode scanner for purchased food.  It is also important to weigh food to determine the estimated amount of ingested calories. And all snacks count! There is an abundance of unhealthy food available to us in our society and it’s easy to lose sight of the things like the candy we nibble on between meetings or the Frappuccino we pick up while running errands.

Personally, I use MyFitnessPal.  It’s easy to use and record calories and daily weights.  The barcode scanner is handy for quickly entering meals. I also like that it links with my Apple watch step tracking to monitor calories burned with exercise.  We don’t receive any funding from MyFitnessPal, it’s just what we like and use, but any calorie tracker is better than none.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to count calories using MyFitnessPal:

  1. Download the MyFitnessPal app from your app store and create an account if you don’t have one already.

  2. Input your personal information including your age, height, weight, and activity level. MyFitnessPal will use this information to calculate your daily calorie needs.

  3. Set your weight loss or weight gain goals. You can choose how much weight you want to lose or gain per week, and MyFitnessPal will calculate the number of calories you should aim to consume each day to reach your goals.

  4. Start tracking your meals. To do this, click on the “diary” tab and then click on the meal you want to add (e.g. breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks). You can search for the food you ate using the search bar or scan the barcode of the product to easily input the nutritional information.

  5. Enter the serving size you ate. MyFitnessPal will automatically calculate the number of calories, as well as other nutrients such as protein, fat, and carbohydrates, based on the serving size you entered.

  6. Repeat this process for each meal and snack throughout the day.

  7. Review your progress. You can check how many calories you have consumed so far and how many you have left for the day by going to the “diary” tab and looking at the bottom of the screen.

  8. Customize your goals and preferences. MyFitnessPal allows you to adjust your calorie goals, macronutrient targets (protein, fat, and carbohydrates), and other preferences based on your needs and preferences.

  9. Stay consistent. To accurately track your calorie intake, it’s important to be consistent and honest with yourself. Make sure to log everything you eat and drink, including snacks and drinks, as they all contribute to your total calorie intake.

If you are using medical weight loss, it’s important to note that the studies on the medication have included its use with diet and exercise modifications in lifestyle. These changes are critical for achieving fat loss while maintaining muscle mass. They are also vitally important if fat loss is to be maintained after stopping the medication once a healthy weight is achieved.

Thanks for your attention and support. We hope that these newsletters are helpful on your personal weight loss journey. Weight loss is an incredibly challenging endeavor. While medical weight loss is a game-changing tool to assist with this goal, enduring weight loss is best and most safely achieved through changes in lifestyle. We are honored to be able to assist you with this journey. Next month we will discuss exercise and weight loss.

Follow us on social media!




Learn more:

Eat More Protein!

Eating for Health: The Importance of a Balanced Diet and High Protein Intake

Healthy Weight Loss Recipes