The long and short of calories.
Controlling calories and tracking your calories is a very popular way to lose weight. It helps you understand where you are going wrong, how to reduce your calorie intake, and the time of day in which you would be putting weight on the most. For some people, it just doesn’t work, but for others, it’s an eye opener to their usual food intake.
We would highly recommend at least trying calorie counting, but what we would not recommend is using it as a long term method. It is most ideal for when you are starting out with a certain method. One that will slot into your lifestyle nicely. The best way it can go is by working out what your body needs through numbers. Then associating those numbers with a feeling of say – energy or fullness. This then means, you know how you should be feeling after a certain amount of food, instead of having to check the numbers.
Below is a nitty-gritty version of exactly how to breakdown your food and convert it into measurements. This in turn, gives you the power of control. You can then logistically reach the goals you want.
Importance of calories
Calories are essentially energy. Everything you consume is either used efficiently by the body, stored as a particular form or sent through as waste. The quality and variety of the calorie will determine how the body uses it.
- High quality calories = High quality functioning and efficiency
- Low quality calories = Poor quality functioning and efficiency
On average these are the total calories you should be consuming per day;
- Males: 2500 kcal
- Females: 2000 kcal
Calories per macros – From these numbers you can work out how much your body uses and how much exercise you need to be doing in order to burn or build calories. This essentially converts your food into usable energy.
- 9 Calories = Per gram of protein
- 4 Calories = Per gram of carbs
- 4 Calories = Per gram fat
Your BMR is the number of calories your body burns throughout an average day. Taking into account moving, breathing, digestion and your daily bodily functions. It is by this number you can gauge how many calories you need, to either lose or gain weight.
The initial BMR is when your body is resting. You will then need to add another number to make the result realistic. This takes into account how active or sedentary you are. It is then simply added to your original BMR to give you a more accurate number specific to each individual. If you did not consider this element then you may severely under or over shoot the amount calories your body actually needs. As a result you may experience diminishing results.
- Weight loss = Eat less than your Active BMR
- Weight Gain = Eat more than your BMR
The Schofield Equation
This the standard formula that you can use in order to start your calorie counting journey. Depending on your age, sex and weight, your outcome will vary. This is also considered an estimate as there are still differences for each individual. Therefor this figure should be considered a ball park one. Which you can then tailor and trim as you work more on it. You can work out your BMR with this equation and the move forward from here;
- 10-17 yrs – 17.7 x Weight + 657
- 18-29 yrs – 15.1 x Weight + 692
- 30-59 yrs – 11.5 x Weight + 873
- 10-17 yrs – 13.4 x Weight + 692
- 18-29 yrs – 14.8 x Weight + 487
- 30-59 yrs – 8.3 x Weight + 846
Here are the 3 most common macro percentages that you can get started on;
This is the most common form, one that most of us are taught at a young age. In order to maintain a healthy and balanced life, this format would be the best one to follow. However it may not spark much change as your body will already have been adapted to the percentages. Therefore it may be beneficial to branch out and expose your body to a different method.
- Carbs = 60%
- Protein = 30%
- Fats = 10%
Low Carb/ High Fat
This is one of the best formats for burning fat. Paired with a thorough intermittent fasting guide you can really accelerate your results. By forcing your body to find another energy source, you push it towards the fat stores. Of which we have over fed as humans. The body will then begin to burn the fat on your body, a side effect being the desired weight loss – or better, fat loss.
- Carbs = 10%
- Protein = 30%
- Fats = 60%
High Protein/ Low Fat
Another energy source shifter. However this would be more geared towards gaining muscle than weight loss, but would still work both. This is because of the training you should be doing, when you train for muscle gain you are breaking down the muscle. To become larger and stronger, you need to feed it with the right stuff – high quality protein. Be careful not to overdo the protein though as too much will cause the body to put it into the fat reserves. This is because it can only process a certain amount at one time.
- Carbs = 20%
- Protein = 70%
- Fats = 10%
Make the calories bespoke.
The best method to take is not the one your friend is doing. Find what works for you, it is better to invest the time finding the right mixture than sticking by one that does not give you the best results your body can achieve. Also to reiterate the point made at the start, calorie counting can have a negative side. It is important to be aware that it can be a time consuming method. Therefore, it is vital to maintain the balance of discipline, to reach your goals, and the enjoyment of your food.