Calories In Calories Out

When it comes to losing weight, we always get to the same debate about calories. Is weight loss as simple as calories in versus calories out? The simple answer to that question is yes ,however it would be fair to say that not all calories are created equal. Some calories are obviously more filling than others, so will keep you satisfied for longer,but at the end of the day, it really is about calories in v calories out.

Calories In Calories Out

Yes The Good Old Calorie Debate

In order to lose weight we have to create a calorific deficit. This simply means that we must take in less calories than our body needs on a daily or weekly basis. In many respects it is far simpler to base your calorie total on a weekly amount rather than day-to-day. The main reason for this is it is far easier to plan your weekly calorie intake over seven days rather than one day to the next. A weekly calorie target provides you with more flexibility than a set daily total. As an example, many people tend to eat more calories on a weekend than they do during the week this is usually because of social engagements  and meals  with friends or family as the weekends are a much more sociable time with a weekly calorie total it is then possible to allow for more calories on a weekend so as not to feel restricted at these social times.

One of the reasons people struggle with weight loss, is simply because they underestimate the amount of calories they eat and overestimate the number of calories they burn. One of the reasons for this is due to the food labels that show calorie guidelines for men and women. It is quite common when you read these labels to see the percentage of calories based on a 2500 calorue intake for men, or a 2000 calorie daily intake for women. Many people use these figures as a guide to what they think should be their daily calorie allowance. In the vast majority of cases these daily limits are too high for the average person. One reason for this is simply because our current lifestyles have become very inactive. More and more of us spend the majority of our days sitting down, we drive to work, where we then sit for eight hours or more before driving back home only to sit in front of the TV for the rest of the evening. So based on our current lifestyles what would be a better way of knowing our Daily calorie requirements?

The best guide we can use to our daily calorie needs is what is known as our resting metabolic rate or RMR for short. Our resting metabolic rate is simply the calories we burn while at rest or inactive. In other words, if you were to stay in bed all day and do nothing, this would be your RMR. I have included a simple RMR chart below that you can use as a guide to work out your own RMR range.

Resting Metabolic Ratew

 

The simplest way to understand this RMR chart is if you’re going to lose weight then you need to be below the number in yellow. Please remember these figures are based on zero or minimal activity, as this reflects the average person looking to lose weight. If you include exercise in your weekly lifestyle, then my advice would be to simply use these additional calories to assist in your weight loss but I would still use the yellow median number as your guide. One reason for this, is because we can only ever take our best guess at the calories we  take in and the calories we burn. Unless we were monitored 24 hours a day in a specialist lab, there is simply no way that we can accurately measure our calorie intake or calorie expenditure, for this reason we use our best guess approach which is our resting metabolic rate median number.

We started this post with the question is it all about calories in versus calories out, and in the most basic terms it is. If you are eating less calories than you need you will lose weight, however if you are eating more calories than you need you will gain weight. When explained in this way weight loss can seem rather simple, and that’s because it is, you see overall weight loss is simple, it’s just not easy. The easy part of weight loss is understanding we have to eat less calories than we need in order to burn fat for fuel. The hard part is trying to figure out how we create that calorie deficit. The typical way people go about doing this is by going on a diet, however the biggest problem with diets is they restrict and deprive this usually means a diet ends in failure within a few weeks. The simple fact is if diets work why are there so many diet plans and books out there on the market and why does the world population continue to become more obese, something just does not add up. Every diet on the market is sold with its own little hook, be that low carb, low-fat, low GI or some other marketing angle. When you read these books the one thing that does not change and is common in all of them is they promote a way of you eating less, and as was mentioned earlier it really is just about eating less calories.

What is needed in order to lose weight and keep that weight off long-term is a better understanding of the amount of calories we actually need on a day to day and week by week basis. Once you understand this number, you will become more aware of the food choices that you are making. It is not that you can’t eat a crispy cream doughnut or that you can’t have a Snickers bar, but what you need to be aware of is the amount of calories you are consuming. People who lose weight and continue to keep that weight off in the future simply learn how to keep the foods they enjoy as part of their regular lifestyle while eating less overall.

If you have been gaining weight steadily over a long period of time, then it is clear you are eating too many calories. What needs to happen now is you understand your maximum weekly calorie intake and first look to try and stay within this range before making drastic changes to the way you currently eat. The changes you make going forward are lifestyle changes. The biggest lifestyle change does not have to be giving up the food you love it has to be learning to eat less than you do now using your RMR as your guide. This is the first step on your weight loss journey.

 

 

 

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