How to Count Calories Accurately
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How to Count Calories Accurately

It's easy to underestimate how many calories you're really eating daily. Try these foolproof ways to make sure your count is correct.
Question: "I work out five days a week and eat less than 1,400 calories a day, but I'm not losing weight. What gives?"

Answer: Are you sure about that calorie count? "You'd be surprised how common it is to underestimate how much you're really eating," says Lisa Young, RD, PhD, author of The Portion Teller (Doubleday Books, 2005).

Count 'Em Up: Write down everything that goes into your mouth for a week, then calculate the calories using a standardized nutritional database like

If you really are getting fewer than 1,400 calories per day, you may actually need to increase your intake. "Skimping can slow your metabolism," says Elisa Zied, RD, author of So What Can I Eat?! (Wiley, 2006). Based on your high level of activity, you may require as many as 2,200 calories a day (so eat up, girlfriend!).

"To safely lose a pound a week, subtract 500 from that for a total intake of 1,700 per day," recommends Zied.