Calorie Intake and Cooking
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The saying that “it takes calories to burn some” is not a myth but a fact. If you live on a calorie intake deficit, your body will limit the rate at which it uses the caloric energy to burn your intake. You will eventually stop losing weight or even gain weight. Not to mention the damage this can cause to your metabolic system and the nutrient deficit in your diet.
Calories to Control Weight
It is essential for your body to get enough fuel for your weight to fight the weight or to gain and maintain weight and for you to function properly. Take enough caloric energy and get into the habit of counting your calories especially for the first few months until you get used to the portion sizes.
An estimation of one’s calorie intake to maintain weight would be:
Weight (kg) x 30
To lose weight by 0.5 kg or 1 pound per week you subtract 500 calories and for 1 kg or 2 pounds weight loss per week you subtract 1000 cals in your daily calorie intake. No one should eat less than 1200 cals per day. A loss of above 1 kg in a week is too much and not considered healthy.
Remember this calculation is an estimation for a healthy person who is not pregnant or breastfeeding. It is very easy to under eat when you want to lose weight and it can be a very unhealthy way too. Your body is a structure that learns what you do with it. If you have a tendency to under eat, it will hold on to any energy amount that enters and you would even put on more weight.
Under eating is also not easy to maintain, leading to more weight gain in the future. A slow steady weight loss is always the best way to get to goal weight. To gain some weight you still increase your maintaining calories by 500 calories daily.
Gradual Weight Loss
Don’t make a mistake of hurrying your way to a clean bill of health. This can even take a few years. Your healthy lifestyle journey should be stable and take one food at a time, one cardio minute at a time and one dumbbell kg at a time.
Take your baby steps by replacing your white bread with brown bread for a week and further replacing your brown bread with wholegrain bread later. The same applies with your other foods. Simply replace one bad food with a healthy alternative every week.
In one year you will have replaced 52 unhealthy foods with your healthy alternatives. You may not have reached your goal weight at this point but who cares when you are the healthiest you ever were. Your fridge will definitely look good and so will your heart and skin and attitude and even career.
In this process of introducing your healthy food in your diet, keep reducing your cals with a few cals every week or two. You may reduce your daily intake by 100-200 calories. Remember you took a long time eating the worst portion sizes, so take your time rectifying this.
This may take months. But the good news is that, your food replacement strategy will take care of this caloric reduction because junk food is loaded with empty calories compared to your bowl of fruit salad with all the nutrients but fewer calories. So this won’t be as much stress after all.
Don’t forget to cut calories across all your food groups so that your intake is always balanced. Never cut any one-food group without medical reasons, just to lose weight. Your food intake might end up being imbalanced.
The day you start cleaning your act health, start a food diary. I know you might think like I did a while ago “I know what I eat, I don’t need to keep a food journal, for that matter I don’t even eat much junk”. The point is that keeping a food diary keeps you alert of your eating habits and their links with your emotions.
My food journal helps keep me on track. I analyse it every week and see the reason I put on a gram or lost it. You need to record every little detail of what you ate, the small bite of a chocolate or cheesecake. By the way you can taste what you crave but a bite or two will satisfy your cravings.
You might not believe it now but within a few months you won’t be craving your favourite McDonald burger and KFC anymore. You may keep your journal even when you know the portion sizes by heart just because it becomes fun after a while.
Exercise to Reduce Calorie Intake
Exercise is also another form of burning calories. Build in your own exercise in baby steps too. Start with a small distance walk depending on your fitness level.
I like to make an example using my 500 metre walk down my street for a week when I was in my most unfit state after my second pregnancy. Your cardio including your running and aerobics will keep your heart healthy and help you lose weight.
Exercise builds muscle and muscle burns fat which makes you lose weight. The exercise will allow you to increase your calories by the amount of calories you burn in your workout. You’ll then graduate to more high intensity workouts or longer workout time in your pace. The formula is simple "more calories in, more weight gain". However focusing on quality and healthy food intake rather than quantity of calorie intake is our motto at healthfun-ps.com.
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