Live Big with Ali Vincent Episodes

Calorie Counting 101

One of the keys to successful weight loss is calorie counting. Ali Vincent teaches you the basics of calorie counting 101.

"Calories are the energy that fuel our bodies, much like gasoline fuels cars. Without enough calories, our bodies will not function. However, if you eat more calories than your body needs each day, you're going to gain weight," says Ali.

For every extra 3,500 calories you eat, but do not burn, you will gain a pound. If you eat 5,500 calories a day, but you only burn 2,000 calories for that day, you have an excess of 3,500 calories and 3,500 calories equals one pound. So essentially, you just gained a pound.

Ask your doctor for your suggested daily calorie allowance. A calorie allowance is the number of calories you should eat each day.

Here's a daily calorie allowance of 2,000 calories: Take that number and divide it up into three meals and two snacks -- 500 calories for breakfast, 250 calories for your morning snack, 500 calories for lunch, 250 calories for your afternoon snack and 500 calories for dinner.

When you are shopping for your food, you should keep in mind that you need to check the nutrition labels on your food. For example, if you are buying waffles, you should check various brands because they all have a different calorie value.

Sample Breakfast (allow 500 calories):
140 calories - two waffles
30 calories - Quarter cup of sugar-free syrup (one serving size)
90 calories - four sausage links
140 calories - cup of yogurt
75 calories - hard boiled egg
475 total calories

Sample Late-Morning Snack (allow 250 calories):
50 calories - string cheese
75 calories - apple
120 calories - 14 mini yogurt berry rice cake
245 total calories

Sample Lunch (allow 500 calories):
120 calories - 4 ounce grilled chicken breast (use your kitchen scale to weigh it)
15 calories - 1 1/2 cups of lettuce
15 calories - 1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes
15 calories - 1/2 cup of broccoli
10 calories - 1/2 cup of cucumbers
20 calories - 2 tablespoons of low calories salad dressing
75 calories - apple
190 calories - medium latte
460 total calories

You can do the same thing for your late-afternoon snack and dinner. Just make sure your total calorie allowance adds up to 2,000.

You can check the calories of your food on the internet. There are a number of free services. Here are a few options:

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