Is it necessary to track calories in order to meet your fitness goals? Yes, Yes and more Yes. I was able to lose weight and build muscle without tracking my calories but lowering my body fat proved to be difficult. It was while binge watching Brix Fitness on YouTube that I learned about maintenance calories, caloric deficit, caloric surplus and how they affect weight and body fat.
I was certain I was eating properly with caloric deficit. Boy, Oh Boy was I wrong. I do not eat junk food or stuff myself with food, so I was astonished by how much food I was eating and the amount of calories I was consuming per day. I was certain I was around 2200 calories a day since I was doing intermittent fasting with a 8 hour eating window. It turns out that I was consuming about 2800-3200 calories a day.I would not have discovered this without tracking my calories using an app.
I would log everything I ate. I was only eating 3 meals a day with little snacking and I was mostly eating clean. However, the “not so” clean foods I was eating were very high in “empty” calories. For example, I love fried plantains with eggs for breakfast. I would eat a whole fried plantain but it was a whopping 420 calories and combined with two fried eggs I was consuming 620 calories just for breakfast and but it was not very filling. I was surprised at home many foods I ate were high in calories but do not keep me satiated. I had to adjust what I ate.
In tracking my calories I figured out my maintenance calories. I did my regular eating habits for a week without working out and tracked my calories. I ate such that at the end of the day I neither gained nor lost weight – my maintenance calories. I weighed myself first thing in the morning. I then cut my calories to 60-70% of my maintenance calories and combined with my weightlifting and high intensity cardio I was able to lose body fat and gain muscles. I had to be militant about tracking and over the course of several months I saw positive results. I have gotten adept at calculating my calories without the app since I have been doing it for a long time. I say try tracking for a month and you will be genuinely surprised. After you have do it for awhile it will become instinctual and you will be able to gauge how much calories you body needs without the need for app or even tracking. Try it and let me know what you think.