How many calories do we have to burn to lose weight and does counting calories to lose weight works?
Despite having all the diet plans, weight management is still about calories that you consume versus the ones that you burn off.
Calories are fuel for our body
In our food, calories are the energy. Our body requires energy and utilize the calories from the food we consume to keep functioning. The energy from calories fuels all our actions, from the little one such as fidgeting to the big one such as marathon running.
Calories are derive from carbohydrates, proteins and fats are nutrients and they are the main energy sources of our body. Each of them contain different level of energy. Carbohydrates and proteins contain approximately 4 calories for each gram while fats contain approximately 9 calories for each gram.
It doesn't matter where our calories originated, the calories we eat are either changed to physical energy or they are stored in our body as fat and they will stay that way until we use them. We use them by doing physical activities or we reduce our calorie intake so that our body draws reserved energy from our body.
Cutting our calories
Our weight is simply a balancing act. If we burn less calories than we consume than we will gain weight.
3,500 calories is approximately 0.45 kilogram fat, thus we must burn more than 3,500 calories than we consume to lose 0.45 kilogram. So when we cut 500 calories from our normal diet every day, we will lose approximately 0.45 kilogram a week because 7 days x 500 calories = 3,500 calories. However, it is not this simple, and we normally will lose a combination of water, fat and lean tissue and also because of the changes which occur in our body as a result of the weight loss, we might need to lessen our calorie intake to lose weight.
Cutting our calories is actually not to difficult. As a matter of fact, it is as simple as:
- Skip high-calorie and low-nutrition foods
- Swap high-calorie foods with low calorie foods
- Reduce food portion sizes
Skip high-calorie and low-nutrition foods
For a start, skip a few high-calorie foods like our morning latte, our soda during lunch or a bowl of ice cream after dinner. We should identify the foods which we can cut, or try change it with low-calorie food.
For example :-
- Change latte (16oz), about 250 calories to black coffee (16oz), 0 calories
- Change chocolate ice cream (1 cup), about 285 calories to strawberries (1 1/2 cups), about 70 calories
- Change lemon-lime soda (16oz), about 200 calories to sparkling water (16oz), 0 calories
Swap high-calorie foods with low calorie foods
When it comes to minimizing calories, a simple replacement can make a big difference. For example, we can save about 60 calories a glass just by simply drinking fat-free milk instead of whole milk.
For example :-
- Change whole milk (8oz), about 150 calories to skimmed milk (8oz), about 85 calories
- Change regular-crust pepperoni pizza (1 slice), about 315 calories to grapes (1 2/3 cups), about 100 calories
- Change ranch-flavored tortilla chips (3oz), about 425 calories to air-popped popcorn (3 1/2 cups), about 110 calories
How many calories we consume depends on our food portion. 2 slices of pizza means twice the calories. We normally underestimate how much we eat, especially when we dine out. A good way to control our calories is to control our food portions.
For example :-
- Reduce 8oz of orange juice, about 120 calories to 4oz, about 60 calories
- Reduce 6 inch (73 grams) buttermilk pancake, about 175 calories to 4 inch (41 grams), about 85 calories
- Reduce 1 1/2 cups of whole grain spaghetti, about 260 calories to 1/2 cups, about 85 calories
Replacing our high-calorie foods with lower calorie foods as well as reducing our food portion sizes will help to cut our calories and reduce our weight. Add physical activities to our calories counting will help us to lose weight even more.