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Apr 10, 2011

Your Basic Guide to ‘Calories’

We hear about calories all the time and we’re told how many of them are in everything we eat. Calories are held in high regard for weight loss, but why are they so important? What is the difference between calories and fat calories and why are fat calories so hard to burn?

Calories are quite abstract when you consider them. They are not part of your food as such; there is no specific entity called a calorie in your chocolate bar. Calories are a way of measuring the energy content of your food. Therefore they have great importance in determining what exactly you will be getting out of the food when it comes to energy. Think about calories in the way you think about how tall you are – you do not contain feet and inches, but they are a unit of measuring a certain trait you posses.

Calories basically represent how much carbohydrate, protein and fat is in your food. Eating too many calories means taking in more energy than what you need. This of course will result in energy being stored (as fat) rather than burned. On the flip side, if you eat less than what you need, your body will have to burn what it stored, and you will, as a result, lose weight. Everyone is aware of how high calorie food means more chance of gaining weight, but it helps to understand how it all works, doesn’t it? It should be noted that too few calories in a diet will result in the body feeling as though it is starving and weight loss will halt, if not even be reversed (yes, you may end up GAINING weight if you don’t eat enough!).

Of course, knowing how fast your metabolism works and how quickly you burn calories is not exactly something you can easily determine. What you can do now is you can estimate how many calories you are consuming and burning easily. This method is generally effective. There are also equations and programs that can help you estimate your daily need for calories and how many calories you need to consume to lose weight. These equations are difficult and the results need to be discussed with a medical or dietary professional.

For example, you know that if you exercise you will burn more calories. Of course, to exercise, you need to eat. So what you can do now is to balance how much you eat before exercising, with how many calories you have the potential to burn during exercise. You can of course follow the same method for all your daily activities. Your calorie intake should be adjusted according to how much of an active lifestyle you lead so that you will not have excess energy which your body will store as fats.

Having trouble setting out a diet plan that you can stick to? Need some help setting your plan up? Looking for someone to listen to you or need some extra support and motivation? I’d love to hear from you! Let me know how your weight loss plan is going; what size did you start out and what size are you now? What size do you want to be and anything else you want to share with me and my readers. Please don’t be shy or hesitate in any way to contact me or leave a comment here—interacting with my readers is what I enjoy most! :-)

Here’s to your weight loss success!  

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