Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Importance of Calorie Counting

Hey fit people! Third post of May! Whoo-hoo! I'm on a roll! Well, technically, I guess this is only my second post of the month since one was a giveaway, and seeing as it's May 23rd, I'm sure this will be my last post for the month, but hey, I'm trying. :) Any woo... back to this post! This post is another one of those that focuses on a subject that I'm sure any of you are even remotely interested in fitness & nutrition have heard time and time again, but the info. is super important and bears repeating, so here I am, giving it to you once again. What's the subject? Calorie counting and the importance of it.

Now I know for some of you this whole subject annoys you. I know because I use to be you. I hated the thought of having to count my calories. As I've said before, I lost a majority of my original weight loss with Nutrisystem ("NS") and that worked for me. I didn't really cook at the time and guess what? No calorie counting! Yay! But once I had achieved my weight loss goal with NS and stopped eating their food, I was on my own, and guess what? I had to start counting my calories! In order to lose weight, or even to maintain, calorie counting is essential! Even though I didn't count my calories with NS, they were still being counted for me - the women's Nutrisystem plan I was on consisted of a 1200 calorie a day program. With Weight Watchers you're counting points, which is basically another form of counting calories. You just can't escape it, no matter how hard you try! So the real question is, why fight it? Contrary to popular belief, counting calories is a fairly easy process that once you start doing, forms a habit that comes almost naturally. So join the calorie counting train! Not sure how? Keep reading!

Why Calorie Count?
I've already told you that calorie counting is essential, but let's get more into exactly why it's essential. The reason is simple: weight control. Weight control means exactly what it sounds like it which is being in control of your weight. This is really your ultimate goal. Weight loss, weight gain, and weight maintenance are just the three things you can do once you reach this goal. However, it's the general ability to control your weight that allows you to make these things happen. So, just how do you become in control of your weight? The obvious answer is by controlling your diet. But, that answer only leads to another question. Just how does a person control their diet? It's this answer that is the key, and it can all be summed up with one single word: CALORIES. Calories are everything. Let me repeat that. CALORIES ARE EVERYTHING! (Read it again if you have to.) Carbs, fat, protein, those are all things that while should be considered, are not nearly as important as calories. Weight control is all about calories! Nothing else comes close! This is not a gimmick or a diet fad either. This is the proven science of the human body. Let me explain...

Calories In Vs. Calories Out
Everything you eat and drink contains calories. From junk food like cookies, candy, potato chips and soda, to more healthy food like whole wheat bread, grilled chicken, broccoli, and orange juice, they all contain calories. Because these are the calories you are taking in, they are nicknamed calories in.
Everything you do burns calories. Calories are energy, so they are used for everything your body has to do. From intense exercise like running and weight training, to everyday tasks like standing and tying your shoes, they all burn calories. And that's only the half of it. Your body actually uses a ton of calories every single day even when you aren't doing anything. Just keeping your body alive and functioning properly burns lots of calories. Because these are the calories your body is burning and using up, they are nicknamed calories out.

Weight control is all about the battle between calories in and calories out. If they are both equal to each other, your weight will stay exactly the same. But, if one is higher than the other, your weight will change. Not only that, but it will continue to change in that same direction until they either equal each other, or they switch places and therefore cause your weight to change in the opposite direction. In other words, if you consume more calories than you burn, you gain weight. If you burn more calories than you consume, you lose weight. And, if you both burn and consume the same amount of calories, your weight stays the same. It's as simple as that. Still a little confused? Check out the diagrams below.

The above diagram shows an example of a person who will gain weight. They are consuming a total of 3000 calories per day through foods and/or drinks. At the same time, they are burning 2500 calories per day. How? Well, most of those calories are burned by the body just doing the things it needs to do to keep you alive and functioning properly. Then, more calories are burned when doing everyday tasks like standing, walking, tying your shoes and other similar things. So, this person takes in 3000 calories per day, and uses 2500 calories per day. By doing some simple first grade level math (3000 - 2500 = 500), you can see that there are 500 left over calories that are taken in but NOT used by the body. These excess calories are what causes weight gain to occur.

 The above diagram shows an example of a person who will lose weight. They consume 2000 calories per day, and burn 2500. As you can see, they are burning 500 more calories than they are consuming. This calorie deficit is what causes weight loss.

The above diagram shows an example of a person who will maintain weight. They are consuming 2500 calories per day, and burning 2500. This means every calorie they consume is being burned. This is what causes a person's weight to stay exactly the same. 

Getting Started
So now do you get why calorie counting is so important? It should be pretty obvious to you by now that all you need to do here is just count your calories in (the calories you eat/drink each day) and count your calories out (the calories you burn each day), and then just adjust them accordingly to make your weight do what you want it to do. There are many online websites/programs that can help you., for example, is a website I just recently learned about that can help you search for every food and drink you eat and drink throughout the day. When you find each food, adjust the serving size to approximately the amount you ate of it. You will then see the full nutritional information - and most importantly, calories - for the specific amount you ate of that food. (If you eat/drink something that has its calorie information on the package, then by all means use that.)

Here are a few more popular sites you may want to check out as well:

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