Understanding the Confusion Surrounding Calories

by : Gary Kidd

When most people think of calories, what comes to mind is usually basic information that's not particularly interesting or beneficial. But there's a lot more to calories than just the basics.

Truthfully, the only difference between you and a calories expert is time. If you'll invest a little more time in reading, you'll be that much nearer to expert status when it comes to calories.

Calorie counting can be very confusing to some. The rule of thumb is to calculate how many calories your body needs to just maintain it's daily function and then determine if you are overeating.

Then you need to be getting "good" calories.

Did you know it can be very difficult to lose weight if your calorie count suddenly goes down? That's because your metabolism detects any major drop in calories and will ADJUST ITSELF by burning fewer calories each day.

Your metabolism doesn't know how much food you'll eat tomorrow but does know how you ate the last few days. This means your metabolism always burns calories based on your eating habits during the past few days because it assumes that you'll continue to eat in the same general way.

If you have been eating 2,000 calories a day before you started your weight loss plan and now as a result of not having any appetite you go down to 1,000 calories a day your metabolism will adjust itself to only burn 1,000 calories a day.

Ever go on a calorie restricted diet and not lose any weight while your friends can eat 2,500 calories per day and not gain any weight? That's because your body has a natural defense system that detects when it thinks it is starving. It slows the metabolism to conserve fuel and doubles up on fat enzyme catalysts thus making it twice a difficult to lose fat. It' a go no where scenario!

To determine your current approximate caloric needs, you will simply need to compute your basal metabolic rate. Basil metabolic rate is the minimum number of calories your body needs to maintain its basic functions at your current weight. You determine your BMR by multiplying your current weight by 10. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, then eating 1,500 calories a day would be your BMR.

If you are eating more than 1,500 calories than you are overeating as your basic caloric need is only 1,500 calories. Many people eat 3,000 or more calories a day and say "I'll never be able to get down to 1,500 calories without starving".

Here is one example; a quarter pounder with cheese, a medium fry, and a milk have what is 990 empty calories and 46 grams of fat. Three quarters of the way to your 1,500 and that was really only one small meal.

Order the grilled Chicken Caesar salad with balsamic vinaigrette, and a bottle of water, and you are at 260 "good for you" calories and only 8 grams of fat.

Both meals cost the same and were equaling filling but one left you an awful lot of calories left to consume the rest of the day. THESE are the type of calories you need to be filling your day out with.

In closing the key to effective and lasting weight loss is not dieting or deprivation, but rather eliminating excessive hunger and increasing the feelings of pleasure and satisfaction from food.

There's a lot to understand about calories. We were able to provide you with some of the facts above, but there is still plenty more to write about in subsequent articles.