Did you know that most weight loss occurs through improving your diet?
If you’ve ever been on a diet, or heard your friends speaking about their diets, you will know that Calories are a fairly important part of our diets. Food contains all sorts of nutrients, not just Calories, so it’s good to choose foods that contain the nutrients (vitamins, minerals, fats and calories) that you need.
If you’re uncertain as to what is a good diet for your body, you can see a nutritionist or dietician who will be able to help you with this.
WHAT ARE CALORIES?
Calories are a measure of the amount of energy in food.
The reason that you want to know this is to make sure that the amount of Calories going into your body are equal to the amount that you use every day. If you want to lose weight, you would want to use more calories than you’re putting in. If you need to gain weight, you would want to be putting in more calories than you’re currently using.
In short: if you’re not very active – you’re not using a lot of calories in a day. If you’re very sporty, you’ll need a lot more calories as you’ll be burning them when engaging in physical activity.
WHAT’S A BALL PARK CALORIE COUNT?
Calories are measured in kcal. An average man needs around 2200kcal a day. For an average woman, that figure is around 1800kcal a day. These values can vary depending on age and levels of physical activity, among other factors – so they are just an average!
FINDING THE BALANCE
When we eat and drink, we’re putting energy (kcal) into our bodies. Our bodies then use up that energy, and the more physical activity we do, the more energy (kcal) we use.
To maintain a stable weight, the energy we put into our bodies must be the same as the energy we use to go about our day and engage in physical activity.
Weight gain occurs when we regularly put more energy into our bodies than we use. Over time, the body stores that excess energy as fat. Research shows that most adults eat and drink more than they need, and think that they are more physically active than they really are.
The older you get, the harder you need to work at being physically active!
On virtually every item of food you buy, from bread to pre-cooked meals, the nutritional information will include a Calorie count per serving.
You can use the calorie information to assess how a particular food fits into your daily intake.
Some restaurants put calorie information on their menus, so you can also check calorie content of foods when eating out. Calories should be given per portion or per meal.