Manage Calories Like a Budget

Manage Your Calories Like A Budget To Lose More Weight
Why this one calorie-tracking trick could fix your biggest weight loss challenges

Good news for the analytical amongst you – losing weight is a simple matter of mathematics. That’s not to say it’s easy (nobody is claiming that). But it is simple.

Great if you like a neatly balanced budget, enjoy inputting data, and get a thrill when the numbers add up!

If your household budget is always on point or your work spreadsheets are a thing of beauty, then you’ll enjoy this new twist on managing calories. Bonus: it will probably help you lose more weight, more quickly.

Why Weight Loss Is Like A Calculation

To lose weight, you need to “spend more than you earn”. Your body will burn fat for energy when you create a calorie deficit. You can achieve this by using more energy than you eat, by eating less than your body expends, or by a combination of both.

The numbers don’t lie. Exactly like your bank balance.

To make the “budget” analogy work, you need to flip it on its head. Here’s what we mean.

Reframe Weight Loss As Budgeting

For a healthier bank balance, you either need to earn more than you spend, or spend less than you earn. Simple. Do that, and your bank balance will swell.

If you want a healthier body (through weight loss), you need to think about how you earn and spend energy. The goal here is to “spend” more than you earn, to get yourself in debt, and to reject the idea of savings altogether (because calorie savings become body fat!)

Spend Your Calorie Budget Wisely

When you’re dieting to lose a bit of weight, you will naturally have fewer calories than usual to eat. That’s the key to weight loss, after all. If you carry on eating the calories you’re consuming now, your weight won’t change.

You need to treat your new weight loss calories like a budget – and decide what to spend them on.

Imagine you only had £50 to spend today. You’d need to pay for the essentials and then think seriously about any further purchases. Once the £50 is gone, it’s gone.

It’s the same with your calories. You need to spend some on the essentials (protein, fibre, micronutrients). After that, you can use them on whatever you want. But it makes sense to make them stretch. Otherwise, you could end up hungry – or go on a caloric spending spree and finish the day in debt (which in calorie terms means an excess).

If you had £50 to spend, you would think twice about spending £30 on cosmetics, a houseplant, or something else you don’t really need.
And if you have 2000 calories to spend, you’d think twice about using 500 calories on a slice of cake.

Make sense? It’s not that you can’t buy cosmetics, or eat cake. But is it really worth it, in the context of a limited budget?

Losing Weight Or Saving Money: Three Methods We Recommend

When you want to save money, there are only a few ways to do it. Similarly, when you want to create the calorie deficit essential for losing weight, you have a few tried-and-tested methods.
The financial tracker

1) The weight loss version of tracking your spending. Keep track of your food/drink as you go along (using an app like myfitnesspal) and stop when you’ve reached your spending limit.
Pros: this puts a stop to overeating, and helps you work out where you are splurging your budget
Cons: you have to stop when you hit your target – tricky if you use all your calories early in the day!

The pre-determined budget

2) The calorie version of having a budget and sticking to it. Pre-plan what you’re going to eat, and use it (just like a budget). This could mean a meal plan or a flexible approach like macro counting.
Pros: very precise, so you are likely to lose weight quickly and accurately
Cons: could be too boring and restrictive, depending on your personality

The hope-and-pray

3) Alternatively, you could just hope for the best. But this will only work if you have a small appetite and never overeat (or have a huge energy output. (The financial equivalent is a naturally frugal person who also happens to have a massive income.)

Pros: great if you’re one of the lucky ones – but only works until your appetite, lifestyle, or habits change!
Cons: doesn’t teach you anything about nutrition or help you assess what works and what doesn’t

If you can track your spending and make a budget work, you can apply the same skills to your nutrition and do the necessary maths for weight loss. Drop me an email at if you would like to discuss balancing your calorie books or better still…. find out how this analogy you can use your calories and training to INVEST in your weight loss.


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