IntroductionCalorie is a measurement of energy. All the foods and drinks we consume get metabolized in body, releasing energy and this energy so released itself is measured in the form of calories. Certain food stuffs are low in calories. It means they release low energy and the ones which release more energy are known to be high in calories. A dietary calorie is an amount of energy required to increase temperature by 1 degree Celsius of 1 kg of water. We require energy or calories to carry out our day to day functions. Any excess amount consumed will be stored in the body in the form of fat. This will lead to increase in weight.
Calorie countingIf we want to lose weight then we should know calorie counting. We need to burn more calories than we eat and this is the secret to lose weight. By counting calories, we will keep a track record of how much we are consuming and how much we are burning and at the rate at which we are burning. All this knowledge will help us in achieving our weight loss goal. Diet that is based on calorie counting is more effective to help loss weight than the one that does not give importance to calorie counting. Calorie counting helps to eat fewer calories and thereby results in weight loss and those who wants to gain weight should eat more calories than they burn.
Know calorie requirements of bodyCalorie requirement of body depends on various factors like age, sex, existing weight, daily activity, height etc. A young person will require more calories than an old person. This is because in young age metabolism is high and body is active whereas in old age, metabolism decreases and body's activity level decreases. Our body uses almost two thirds of the calories we consume daily to carry out functions of body. Rest that is left is used to perform various activities like walking, cycling, exercising, talking etc. If we want to lose weight, we should consider all these factors and determine the calories we require on daily basis. We have to create a calorie deficit and that means we have to eat less calories and burn more amount.
Calculate body metabolic rateBody metabolic rate (BMR) has to be calculated first to determine the exact i.e., ideal calorie requirement of the body. To measure BMR, women have to multiply their weight by 10 and men should multiply it by 11. This itself is known as BMR.
Ideal caloric intakeIdeal calorie intake for weight loss is an important aspect. Once BMR is calculated, add to that 20% if lifestyle of an individual is sedentary, 30% if slightly active, 40% if body is indulged in a little bit of physical activity and 50% if body is very active. The number that we get after calculation itself is the number of calories we need to consume to maintain our weight. If we want to decrease our weight then we have to decrease our calorie intake and if want to increase our weight then eat more calories than the number that is calculated. Ideally it is not recommended to make more than 500 calorie deficit in our day. Either this calorie deficit can be done by consuming 500 calorie less or by burning 500 calories more on daily basis. Creating more than 500 calorie deficit is considered to be unhealthy.
Apps to determine caloriesEither one can use internet to know the exact amount of calorie present in each and every food and drink which we consume and then remember it daily or else can use apps designed for the same purpose. These apps make calorie counting effortless and relatively easy these days. Many apps and websites are designed for the same and help to track our food and calorie intake. These effective apps are very beneficial to lose more weight. Some of these apps are My Fitness Pal, Fat Secret etc.
Control portion sizesCalorie counting and portion sizes are closely related. When large servings are eaten then it is known as portion distortion. Calorie counting is for one portion of certain size and it is ideal for weight loss. Portion distortion hinders weight loss and may cause weight gain. However, today portion distortion is considered to be normal and irrespective of whether we are eating in home or in restaurant. We are eating double or triple portions of what we need in a single sitting. We should understand how much our body needs and how much we are consuming. For example, we have to only eat one serving of rice which is approximately half a cup but we consume way more than required in just one sitting. One serving of fruit or vegetable is almost 80 gm and that of a juice is 150 ml. Any amount eaten more than that is said to be more than one serving. However, fruits and vegetables can be consumed in excess but not the same can be said about carbohydrates and fats when it comes to losing weight. All we have to learn is to understand what a portion looks like. This will help us to become more accurate in counting calories. We can make use of cups, scales and other measuring systems to determine portion sizes.
Calories present in different food groupsA calorie is a calorie, no matter whether it comes form carbohydrates, fats, proteins or any other food group. But for a successful weight loss, we need to understand which foods will keep us full and help us to lose weight. Fruits and vegetables have very less amount of calories and the fiber present in them decreases appetite as it keeps us full. In fact some of the fruits and vegetables are negative calories which means our metabolism has to spend some calories in digesting them and thus they not only fill us but also spends some of our energy too, facilitating weight loss. 1 tsp of oil has almost 100 calories whereas 1 banana or 2 medium sized breads has same amount of calories and thus though calorie is calorie but weight loss is a tedious process and becomes easy if we consume all those food groups which keep us full for long time and prevent binging which consequently leads to weight gain.
Easy tips for weight lossBigger portions have more calories and thus simply consume small sizes. This tip will definitely reduce calorie intake. Eat large amount of fruits and vegetables because there is no need to count calories there, but when it comes to other food groups, do not overdo them. 1 cup of raw broccoli is 30 calories but 1 cup of ice-cream is approximately 250-300 calories. Thus, if we have to loss weight then we need to decide what we actually need. Some foods require more calories to digest than the other food groups of same amount. For example, refined flour bread gets digested easily giving us 4 calories per gram. Whole grain bread use part of this 4 calories per gram to get digested, giving our body less amount of calories. When it comes to calorie counting, calorie is a calorie, but when it comes to health, right kind of balanced nutritious food is essential.
ConclusionLosing weight itself is a tough task to accomplish and counting calories initially might seem very difficult. However, it is more of a balancing act and plays a very important role in losing weight. Calorie is nothing but measurement of energy and is required by body for carrying out all the functions properly. A simple rule every one needs to follow is eat less calories and burn more. This will create calorie deficit which should not be more than 500 calories in a day as healthy weight loss is 0.5-1 kg every week. If weight loss occurs at a rapid rate then it will be more of a muscle reduction from body instead of fat and no body wants to lose muscle. Calorie counting will help us to eat correct portion sizes, skip high calorie meals which are low in nutrient content and replace them with low calorie meals which are high in nutrient content. In this way, counting calories helps in weight loss and results in good health.