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Calories Count

Dec 3rd, 2011

When it comes to maintaining a healthy weight for a lifetime you have to remember one rule: Calories Count! Weight management is all about balance – balancing the number of calories you consume with the number of calories your body burns off.

A calorie is defined as a unit of energy supplied by food. A calorie is a calorie regardless of its source. Whether you're eating carbohydrates, fats, sugars, or proteins, all of them contain calories.

Caloric balance is like a scale. To remain in balance and maintain your body weight, the calories consumed from foods must be balanced by the calories used (in normal body functions, daily activities and exercise).

It takes approximately 3,500 calories below your calorie needs to lose a pound of body fat. To lose about 1 to 2 pounds per week, you'll need to reduce your caloric intake by 500-1000 calories per day.

To learn how many calories you are currently eating, begin writing down the foods you eat and the beverages you drink each day. By writing down what you eat and drink, you become aware of everything you are putting in your mouth. Also begin writing down the physical activity you do each day, as well as the length of time that you do it.

Some Common Questions Answered

UntitledFat-Free and Low-Fat foods are not always low in calories. Some fat-free and low-fat foods have extra sugars which push the calorie amounts right back up, and as we've stated Calories Count! Always read the Nutrition Facts food label to find out the calorie content of the foods you eat. Be aware of serving sizes too!

The time of day that you eat isn't what affects how your body uses calories. The overall ratio of calories eaten and calories burned over the course of the day affects your weight.

For those who are watching their carbs it is important to remember that you must also watch your calories. It is still possible to eat too many calories. Also, if you drastically reduce the variety of foods in your diet you could end up sacrificing vital nutrients and not be able to sustain the diet over time.

Not matter how much physical activity you get you must still control your calories. While physical activity is an important part of weight control, so is controlling the number of calories you eat. If you consume more calories than you use through normal daily activities and physical activity you will still gain weight.

Besides diet and behavior, environment and genetic factors may also have an effect in causing people to be overweight and obese.

You can cut calories by eating foods high in fiber, making better drink choices, avoiding portion size pitfalls, and adding more fruits and vegetables to your eating plan.