Calorie counting will give you freedom to not go “on a diet” ever again , you will never again have to blame or avoid “fattening” foods. Calorie counting will give you the power to get to know your body, and leave quandaries behind. With this post I want you to kiss goodbye fad diets.
Calories and energy balance are the most important factor in body composition. Eat more calories than you burn and you’ll gain weight, eat less and you’ll loose weight. Nothing goes against the First Law of Thermodynamics.
The First Law of Thermodynamics states that heat is a form of energy, and thermodynamic processes are therefore subject to the principle of conservation of energy. This means that heat energy cannot be created nor destroyed. It can, however, be transferred from one location to another and converted to and from other forms of energy.
WHAT IS A CALORIE?
A calorie is a unit of energy it takes to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water 1 degree celsius.
In body composition context calories refer to energy consumption through eating and drinking, and energy usage through physical activity.
It is the energy that fuels your body. Your brain, heart, lungs, every cell in your body needs energy to survive and repair.
HOW MANY CALORIES DO I NEED?
To determine how many calories you should be consuming we are gong to use the Mifflin-St Jeor method.
First of all you need to know your BMR (basal metabolic rate), which is the minimal rate of energy expenditure per unit time at rest. In other words how many calories your body would burn if you would lie in bed all day. BMR depends on your gender, age, weight, height, body fat percentage and genetics.
To estimate your BMR you are going to use this formula:
Female BMR=10 x weight + 6.25 x height – 5 x age – 161 (weight is in kg and height in cm)
Example: Laura is 25, weight’s 63 kg and her height is 173 cm.
Because you need energy to fuel your daily activities, such as working out, walking, cooking, cleaning and so on, you need to know your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) by multiplying your BMR by your activity level:
1.1 – no exercise and sedentary job;
1.2- exercise 1-3 times a week and sedentary job;
1.35 – exercise 3-5 times a week and sedentary job, or exercise 1-3 times a week and active job;
1.45 – exercise 3-5 times a week and active job;
1.55 – elite athlete.
Example: Laura works as sales consultant, so she is on her feet all day, and lifts weights 3 times a week. She falls into 1.35 category:
So this is the amount of calories she needs to consume on a daily basis to maintain her weight.
Note: this is only an ESTIMATION of what your calories should be, you will have to make adjustments through self observation.
CALORIE COUNTING FOR YOUR GOALS
Nowadays calorie counting is easy, the only thing you need to do is to download a calorie counting app on your smarthphone (I use MyfitnessPal) and get started.
For products that come in packages (such as pasta, yogurt, chocolate) tap the barcode button at the right of the “Search for a Food” field. This will launch the scanner. Than scan the barcode of the product and insert the quantity you’ve eaten.
For fresh produce (such as raw meats, potatoes, apples ) type its name in the search field (eg.:” raw chicken breast” ). Then, tap the “Search” button. Tap on a matching search result, then adjust the Number of Servings or Serving Size to reflect how much of that item you’ve eaten.
For the first two weeks I would recommend you weighing all your food on a KITCHEN SCALE and tracking everything you eat and notice if your weight changes. This way you’ll find the EXACT number of calories your body needs, it can be higher or lower than the formula predicted.
After two weeks adjust your calories based on your goal – fat loss or muscle gain.
I am sorry if this looks complicated and involves a lot of calculations. I promise, after a few weeks calorie counting will become your second nature.
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