Hi friends, happy Friday! How are you all?
At my end, it has been pretty hectic lately. No helps still and the house is full of never-ending chores. Everyone in the family (two elders, one Other Half, two little ones and one dog…they all do their bits to help out but at the end of the day, the lady of the house gets the lion’s share of…err, chores, isn’t it?
Anyways, all this keeps me on my toes whole day (now night also, thanks to the latest addition of Kia, the pup. At 5 months, she is now tall enough to pull my hair while I am dreaming at night). I am sure your story is quite similar to mine and a big hug to all of us brave hearts!!
Amidst all the chaos, have you continued your fitness routine or diet plans? Or started any? Tell me if you have!
It does get all very confusing at the end of the day, isn’t it? Especially the term calories! Calories…low calories…zero calories…empty calories…high calorie food…calorie-dense food etc. What are these calories after all? Almost a scary word today especially for weight watchers. Let’s decode calories today!
What Are Calories?
Calories in simple terms, is energy that we need for day to day functioning.
Technically, ‘calorie’ word is the unit of energy that we get from a certain food item. This is how we measure energy. All food items provide us energy – be it sugars, fats, proteins or carbs. The amount of energy or calories each food provides varies. Every single cell in our body needs this energy.
Depending upon the goals and lifestyle, the daily calorie requirement ranges from 1600-2400 calories for adult females and for adult males, 2000-3000. However, men shouldn’t eat less than 1500 calories and women not less than 1200 calories per day – to get all the energy and nutrients required by the body for optimal day-to-day functioning.
Empty calories come from food which would give us energy for sure but without any significant nutrients. Such foods are what we call as junk food also. Interestingly, one can lose weight on empty calories too, whether it would be healthy or not, is anybody’s guess. A few examples are pizzas, burgers and sugary foods/drinks.
Zero Calories or Low Calories
Products having zero calories such as diet foods and drinks are not necessarily any healthier, if you ask me. Replacing a good balanced meal with a low calorie meal-replacement bar/shake is not a great idea in long run! It just is not sustainable and can easily backfire unless accompanied by a healthy lifestyle change.
High Calories/Calorie Dense Foods
This include foods that are high on calories in a relatively smaller portion such as butter or sugary sweets. Interestingly, some very healthy foods are very high in calories as well e.g. quinoa (yes, the superfood quinoa), avocados, dried fruits, olive oil etc
Similarly, low calorie foods have low amount of calories relative to the portion size such as many fruits and leafy greens.
How Many Calories Per Day?
The answer to this question would differ from person to person. It depends upon that person’s activity level and resting metabolic rate.
It is important to consume sufficient calories even if one is trying to lose weight. The calories consumed should be balanced out by calories spent.
Under-eating, over a period of time lowers our resting metabolic rate which in turn, affects our capacity to burn calories. So, if you crash-diet or starve yourself in the name of dieting, know that it is going to be rendered ineffective soon enough.
I have found an easy calculator online which should help you to with your daily calorie requirement. The credit goes to the website for it:
So, What Kinds Of Calories Should We Consume?
That’s a very important detail and the turning point for you if you have specific goals such as muscle-building, fat loss, weight loss etc. Ideally, 45-65% of calories should come from carbs, 20-25% from fat and 10-35% from protein. Of course, it also depends upon your lifestyle, medical history and goals. Kids need more energy coming from fat as they are growing.
Do you want to know a few easy ways to reduce your calorie consumption? Do let me know.
In The End
It is crucial that we change our lifestyle in such a way that the focus is on staying healthy- physically and mentally. This is the only way to enjoy the process and keep it sustainable in the long run. This enables us to have fun while staying active and healthy. World-cruise at 60, anyone?
Also, it is important to consult a nutritionist or your doctor if you plan to make a big dietary change/switch or go on any low-calorie diets.
Hope you found today’s post informative and it cleared away a few doubts. To join me on Instagram for more tips/tricks on health & nutrition, follow the link below. Your support means a lot to me 🙂
Till next Friday
Love, Health & Peace