Count calories? At least once.

Diet and exercise are two big, big portions of the health equation.

There’s a lot of debate out there about how to approach each of them.  Running is obviously a huge step in the right direction when it comes to getting enough physical activity, but what about your approach to diet?

There’s a whole industry out there dedicated to solving the diet problem…some of it is great information and some of it is complete bunk.  We’re not about to get into the “best” way to manage your food intake, but we will say this: if managing your weight is a priority for you, it’s important to get a handle on how many calories you’re taking in each day.

That doesn’t mean you have to become a compulsive calorie counter, keeping track of every bite that enters your system…at least not long term.  But you’d be surprised at how many absent-minded calories you can eat over the course of   the week without really thinking about it.

Maybe you’re taking in a few hundred while snacking in front of the TV or maybe that home-made dish that you absolutely love just has waaaay more calories in it than you thought.  Things like that can add up fast and before you know it you are taking in more thoughtless calories in a given day then you are burning even during a long, tough workout.

If weight loss is your goal, try keeping track of your calorie intake for just a couple of days so that you can get an idea of where you stand.  There’s a good chance you’ll learn something, whether it’s a time of day that you’re vulnerable to  unhealthy snacking or just a new way of looking at your daily portions.

In general, people do a very bad job at guessing what their daily caloric intake actually is.  Consider doing a little homework to find out for yourself.  Nutrition information is now available for pretty much everything and a quick web search can usually help you fill in the blanks.  It doesn’t have to be something you do forever, but a few days worth of information can really improve your diet.

While you’re at it, keep an eye on what food groups your hitting each day, too!

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