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Understanding Calories

 

Calories are used in many places, such as in food labels and restaurant menus.  You can even see the number of calories being burned as you get on your treadmill.  So what exactly do we mean by the word calories?

The word ‘calorie’ refers to a certain unit of measurement.  It is used to measure anything that contains energy.

For people wanting to lose weight, the word ‘calories’ relates to the amount of energy found in a certain food. For example, a can of soda contains approximately 200 calories.

How many calories are needed by your body?

The answer to this question differs from one person to another. The amount of calories needed by the body can only be determined according to the measurement of some of the following factors:

  • Physical Activity – The amount of energy that you use depends on your daily physical activities.
  • BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate – This refers to the amount of energy that is needed by your body when at rest to be able to continue performing vital functions. For example, your lungs to keep breathing and your heart to keep beating. All the functions that you don’t consciously think about.

How do calories benefit your body?

Your body needs fuel, and this fuel refers to calories that you obtain from your food. As mentioned earlier, calories are needed to keep your vital organs working.  You need calories to keep your brain thinking.  You also need calories when your tissues are growing and repairing.

Plus the more active you are, the more calories you will burn.  This is also one reason why athletes and those people who are highly active need more calories to fuel their body.

On the contrary, those who are living a sedentary lifestyle and those people whose work requires them just to sit for longer periods of time should limit their calorie intake. If they do not, they will gain weight because lesser movement means a smaller amount of fuel being burned by the body.

If your body is burning more calories than what you take in, you are giving your body the opportunity to burn your energy reserves. The body has stored These reserves in the form of fats.  As you allow your body to burn more of your fat reserves, the more likely you will lose weight. This is why complete awareness of your calorie intake and expenditure is considered an integral part of every weight loss program.

A healthy diet and a successful weight loss program require you to track not just your calorie intake. You should also track the number of fats, proteins and nutrients being taken in on a daily basis. Both need to be given equal attention and importance. Once you understand your calorie requirements, you will be able to fast track your weight loss goals.

 

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