Trying to lose weight? Remember, calories count!
How can you lose weight and keep it off for better health? Think about your calories!
What is a calorie?
- A calorie is a measure of energy.
- A calorie is defined as the amount of energy it takes to raise the temperature of one gram of water (about a thimble full) by one degree Celsius.
So what does this mean for nutrition? Food contains calories, and the calories provide energy to the body. The problem comes when there is an imbalance of energy—too much energy in and not enough energy out.
- To lose weight, you have to create an energy deficit in your body.
To create a calorie deficit, you can either:
- Decrease your calorie intake, OR
- Increase your calorie (energy) output through exercise.
Not all calories are the same!
- A gram of carbohydrates has 4 calories
- A gram of protein has 4 calories
- A gram of fat has 9 calories
- In a healthy diet, carbohydrates should be 45-65% of your calorie intake, protein should be 10-35% of your calorie intake, and fat should be 20-35% of your calorie intake.
Exercise Helps Burn Calories
- Physical activity is very important to maintaining good health, and it helps to burn calories.
- Many people don’t realize how easy it is to burn calories and create an energy deficit by adding physical activity to their daily routine.
The total number of calories you burn depends on your weight, the activity you choose and the intensity level of your activity. If you exercise at a higher intensity level, you will burn more calories.
Consider the following averages for a person weighing 175 pounds:
|30 minutes of…||Burns this many calories…|
|Sitting or watching TV||42|
|Step aerobics (4 inch bench)||198|
|Golf (carry clubs/walk)||210|
|Skating (ice and roller)||264|
|Dance (high intensity)||372|
|Swimming (breast stroke)||375|
|Weight training (circuit)||411|