Counting calories only work if you are doing it right. The rule is to burn more than what you eat. The food that you take must be enough to burn energy and for cell repair. The rest are stored in either muscles or fats.
When you are on a diet, counting calories is the best way to monitor your food intake. When you know which foods have high calories, you can limit your intake of these foods and choose those that have low calories instead. This way you satisfy your calorie intake while making sure your nutritional requirements are met at the same time.
When I started my weight loss program, counting calories was the most difficult part. Not only because there were no smart phone apps that can help me monitor my intake. It’s also because taking note of calories can be tiring and difficult to sustain.
To help you count calories, you need to understand what calories are and how they work. How do you burn them? How many calories do your body need? How do you set a target weight? And how do you determine the number of calories in a food?
What are Calories?
To put it simply, calories in food is a means of measuring food energy content. In strict terms, calorie refers to the amount of energy needed for a gram of water’s temperature to rise by a degree Celsius.
How Does the Body Burn Calories?
You are burning calories just by being alive. Even while in resting mode, the body is still using the calories from food for cell generation and other bodily functions. This is basically why you need food to survive. It is like the fuel that our bodies need to keep our engines going.
How many Calories Does Your Body Need?
There is no standard amount of calories required for all people. It varies depending on a person’s level of activity and the size of his or her body. For obvious reasons, larger people require more food than smaller ones. On the other hand, people who are engaged in more physical activities require more calories compared to those who are sedentary most of the day. Generally, men also require more calories compared to women.
However, there is a formula that you can use to measure a number of calories that your body requires when it is at rest, also known as the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). The formula requires your weight in kilograms, your height in centimeters, and your age in years. You will also need to identify your level of activity. Are you sedentary, lightly active, moderately active, very active, or extra active? Knowing this information will help you discover how much calories you need when your body is at rest.
There are websites that can provide the computation for you. In fact, you can download smart phone applications to help identify how much calories you need in relation to your target weight and date when you wish to achieve it.
Setting your Ideal Target Weight
I know some people who aim to go below the 100-pound mark. This is okay if this is normal according to your Body Mass Index (BMI). You see, you cannot lose too much weight if you wish to be healthy. There are many things to consider in setting your ideal target weight. Your height, age, level of activity, and sex are among the things that you have to take note of.
There are easier ways of setting your ideal weight. In fact, there are devices that can do all the calculations for you. Once you discover this basic information, the next thing you need to do is identify how to optimize your body so you can maximize your weight loss.
Your weight loss can be accelerated by further reducing your calorie intake. However, you should not consume less than 1,300 calories per day since you need energy for all kinds of bodily function. Another difficult thing about crash diets is the fact that they are not sustainable. You will end up either sick or binge eating if you go below the minimum amount of needed calories a day.
The best diet is one that you can maintain for the months ahead. Also, it has to be something that contributes to your overall health. It has to be realistic enough to fit the kind of lifestyle you have. For example, athletes have a different calorie requirement compared to people who stay inside the office for eight hours.
As mentioned earlier, considering your lifestyle is an important factor in determining a number of calories you need in a day. Sedentary people have low-calorie requirement. This means they should not be eating more than what they can take for a day.
On the other hand, people who are involved in physical activities such as sports, dance, or manual labor require more calories to burn. Meeting the calorie requirement is essential to stay focused and active throughout the day.
How to Determine the Number of Calories in a Food
Once you have finally determined how many calories you need to stay active and functional throughout the day, the next thing you need to do is to determine how much calories are in your food. TO achieve your target weight, this step is very important since it will make or break your weight loss plan.
Most foods are composed of mixtures of different nutrients. You will need to check nutrition labels to determine how much calories are in the food. The first couple of weeks of measuring food can be tasking so make it easier by downloading applications on your phone that will do the job for you.
There are smart phone apps that serve as both journals and calorie counters. They intend to make your life a lot easier. Some apps even allow you to setup alarms to remind you about your regular weigh-in to monitor your progress.
Weight loss is a journey that you should embrace and appreciate. Take it slow. The key is to see it as a long-term project and not something you only wish to do until a certain party or reunion is over. After all, if it is all about your health, it is always worth it.