People who want to lose weight often decide to count their calories. This can be a very effective way of losing weight, but like any other method used for weight loss, it is going to take dedication and commitment. The goal of calorie counting is to burn more calories than you consume. To do this properly you have to know a number of important things.

Listed below are the very basics to start you on the road to effectively counting calories:

You have to determine exactly how many calories you can consume each day. There is no standard. Each person is different and the number of calories that they can consume is going to be different. There are a number of ways to calculate how many calories you can personally intake. Calculations can be found online. These formulas take into account your age, height and the amount of exercise that you do each day.

Keep a record of what you eat for a week. Count everything from the butter that you put on your potato to the cream in your coffee. You have to count all of it. In order to this, you are going to need four things: a good scale, a record book, a calorie counter, and if your math is not great, a calculator. This will give you an idea of how many calories you are currently consuming daily. It will tell you what you are eating and where you can easily cut back.

You have to learn how many calories are in each food. Since most of us do not know exactly how many calories are in an egg, or a teaspoon of sugar, you are going to have to find a calorie list. You can either purchase a good book or use the internet.
Many items list the number of calories on the package. Pay close attention to these. To know exactly how many calories you are consuming, you will have to measure the portions that you take exactly. You will then have to use either the numbers on the package or your printed list to determine how many calories you are eating. Be careful when you are calculating things like soup. They list the calories before you add either milk or anything else. The type of milk that you add will affect your calculations.

Once you have determined how many calories you eat in a day, you can then determine the number of calories you will have to cut back each day. If you calculate that eat 1500 calories in a day and the recommended calories for a person your age and size are 1350 you will know immediately that just to maintain your weight you will have to lower your calorie intake by 150 each day. However, if you want to lose weight, you will have to find ways to cut back by more than 150 calories.  This is the part that most people dread, cutting the calories. Before you go into panic mode take a look at your record book. Look for ways that you can eliminate calories. For example, rather than having cream and sugar in your coffee, drink it black. Instead of a cup of ice cream after dinner only eat half a cup.

Buy items that are light or fat free. If you like ranch dressing on your salad change to a light dressing.

Try to prepare your own foods rather than eating takeout, or in restaurants, and try to avoid premade foods. They are more convenient, but it is much harder to know what you are consuming if you are not doing the preparation.

Do not go crazy! There are times when you are not going to be able to count your calories. It is going to happen. Do your best and take up at the next meal. Just try not to let it happen often.

Have patience. Weight loss is going to take time. Contrary to all the weight shows and diet products, you are not going to lose ten pounds in a week. However, if you stick to simple counting you will lose weight and will continue to lose until you decide that you have reached your goal.