Eat Right to Lose Weight and Put Your Calorie Counter to Work for You

Counting calories to lose weight has fallen out of vogue, with many diets instead focusing instead on eliminating or drastically reducing carbs or unhealthy fats, but that doesn't mean counting calories can't help you achieve your weight-loss goals.

Don't overestimate calories burned when you work out
Don't overestimate calories burned when you work out

It's true that the more you exercise, the more wiggle room you have with food. "Exercise increases lean body mass, which in turn revs metabolism 24/7," Bauer says. But most exercises burn way fewer calories than people think—in part because exercise machines are inaccurate in their estimate of your calories burned, making it too easy to undo the effects with just a few extra nibbles.

If you are looking for a workout with the best bang for your caloric buck, try Orange Theory. Orange Theory's boot camp-style workouts burn far more calories—561 to be exact—than Barre (299), and CrossFit (417)—according to new data from My FitnessPal. But exercise doesn't have to be hard core to add up and make a difference.

Your weekly exercise goal should be two hours and 30 minutes (about 22 minutes each day or 50 minutes three times per week) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as brisk walking along with muscle-strengthening exercise that targets all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, the US federal Centres for Disease and Control Prevention states.

"After putting in a workout at the gym or getting up early to jog around your neighbourhood, you'll be less likely to want to dig into that slice of birthday cake at an office birthday party or a spin through the drive through after work," Bauer says.

Always run any changes to your exercise routine by your doctor first.

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