Are you counting calories to try to lose weight? Do you actually know what a calorie is or why you are counting them to lose weight?
It’s time for you to understand the accounting process that we call calorie counting, so you can understand how to use it for healthy weight loss.
Calories are actually a scientific measurement. They are used to measure the amount of heat energy in an object. Calories are a measurement of energy within food, but the measure is not only used for food.
According to Scientific American, the definition of a calorie is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water 1 degree Celsius.
There is a special machine that is used to figure the amount of calories in objects called a bomb calorimeter.
I’m sure this is starting to sound like a science project, right?
The key point is that calories are measures of energy that our body uses to handle all of our daily activities.
When we think about calories in foods there is a different system called the Atwater system. Calorie amounts are generally based on the protein, carbohydrate, fats and alcohol content found in foods. Proteins and carbohydrates are generally estimated to be 4 calories per gram. Fats are considered 9 calories per gram, and alcohol is considered 7 calories per gram.
Because our bodies need energy to function we have to eat a certain number of calories every day. This is the purpose of eating food. For example, it takes calories to breath, walk, sit, exercise, etc. So every day you expend a certain number of calories.
You gain weight if the number of calories that you eat each day is more than the number of calories that you expend every day. You lose weight when the number of calories that you expend is more than the number you eat.
How do you know the number of calories that you should shoot for every day?
You can use your ideal body weight (IBW) and multiply it by 14 to get an estimate of your needed daily calories. Your ideal body weight is your goal weight.