We all know that calories are those terrible numbers on the back of food packaging. Mars bars have lots of calories – 260 calories per (58g) bar in fact (= 1 serving). Whereas celery has very few – a mere 16 calories per 100g of celery.
Calories are a measure of energy, both energy consumed, as well as energy burned. We also know that weight management depends on the calorie balance between intake and expenditure. To lose weight you need a calorie deficit (i.e., burn more calories than you eat). So as an example – Say you want to lose 1kg per week. You would need to have a weekly deficit of 7000 calories, that is a 1000 deficit per day.
Now what most people tend to do next is think “well, my metabolic rate is about 2000 calories a day (calories required to maintain weight for an average low active female), so if I need to have a deficit of 1000 calories to lose 1 kg a week, that means I can only eat 1000 calories a day!?!?!”. This is almost impossible! in any case, a female should never go consume fewer than 1400 calories anyway. Say you are able to stick to a diet of 1400 a day, that is only a deficit of 600 calories, which means you are on track for losing just over 0.5kg a week, but not quite 1kg.
So to increase that deficit, rather than looking at reductions in food, turn your head towards exercise. Running for an hour burns about 600 calories! Now if you are like me and you couldn’t handle running for an entire sweaty hour, than how about 30 minutes at 300 calories? This would bring your deficit up to 900, and you only have a 100 calories left to burn! Stick a 10 minute bike ride onto it and you are at your 1000 calorie deficit goal. Easypeasy lemon squeezy!
Of course, if you like your food… as do I, then all you have to do is up the intensity or length of your work outs to still get to that deficit goal.
In all fairness, not every calorie consumed is equal… Eating processed foods means you take in all the calories at once as they are very easily absorbed by the body. Vegetables – high fiber foods – take a lot longer to be digested and therefore offer a slow release of energy. Such foods are much better for weight loss, than the quick uptake processed foods. They keep you fuller for much longer!
Head on over to the Calorie Calculator. It doesn’t just provide the daily calorie count, but also very useful information on various exercises and their calorie burning rate.