let's talk calories
Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist or dietician. All content is my own unless otherwise stated and referenced.
Calories, a word we all know what it means but, do we REALLY know what it means? We hear fitness and health professionals and actually, many people in general, talking about calories, yet we still seem to not quite have a grasp on them. I must talk to people weekly, even daily sometimes, about calories, energy expenditure and macronutrients to name a few.
The dictionary definition of a calorie is-
'A unit of energy, often used as a measurement of the amount of energy food provides.'*
Pretty simple right? Calories equal energy which are ESSENTIAL for survival. So why do we keep getting confused about calories? The media, that's why. We, as a general population, are always very focussed on weight/fat loss (thanks again media *eye roll*) which means, if this is our goal, we need to create a calorie deficit to be able to achieve weight/fat loss. A calorie deficit simply means there is a shortage of the amount of calories consumed relative to the amount of calories required for maintenance of a current body weight.
You can create a calorie deficit in a couple of ways-
1. Eat less food.
2. Be more active.
I'm not going to sugar coat it; most people need to do more of number 1. I see so many complaints of not losing weight/fat but they are exercising daily. The reason why is plain and simple. You're eating too much food; in other words, you're consuming too many calories. But, 'I don't eat a lot of food' I hear you say. I have two answers to this- you are either lying to, not only others, but yourself or the foods you are consuming are extremely calorie dense which is putting you in a calorie surplus.
Another thing to remember is that, although a calorie is a calorie and you may be in a deficit, you need to think of the bigger picture. Not all calories are equal. 500 calories of crisps and biscuits isn't the same as 500 calories of fruits and vegetables. This is where we need to start thinking of the macro and micro nutrients in foods...
One calorie has the same amount of energy as the next calorie, there's no questioning that, but when it comes to your body, it gets a little more complex. When it comes to your body processing calories, not all calories are processed the same. Different foods go through different biochemical pathways and even more important is that different foods and macronutrients have a major effect on the hormones and brain centres that control hunger and eating behaviour. 100 grams of protein is metabolized in a much different manner than 100 grams of carbs or 100 grams of fat.**
Different foods have different effects on satiety too. It's much easier to eat 500 calories of ice-cream than it is 500 calories of eggs or broccoli. This is a good example of how the food choices you make can have a big impact on the total amount of calories you end up consuming.
At the end of the day, you know the choices you should be making if you want to lose a little weight/fat. I never recommend cutting out ANY foods at all but at least make an effort to eat well for the majority of the time. We aren't stupid, we all know that an apple is going to be better for you than a doughnut so, if you've eaten a few too many doughnuts the last few days, it's time to choose the apple.
It's simple really-
If you want to lose weight/fat- you need to be in a calorie deficit.
If you are one of those people that lies to themselves about how much they are eating then it's time to own up to yourself and realise this is not a good place to be. Take some responsibility for your actions and if you are really struggling then I would recommend seeking professional advice.
THE GIRL BEHIND FITNESS FORSTER
My name is Amie and I am the face behind Fitness Forster.
I am a freelance recipe developer, content creator and qualified personal trainer. I developed this website to share my passion for healthy recipes, fitness and travel.
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