by Keila Chaliotis, Staff Writer
This is the first in a series of articles on counting calories to lose weight. Read Part 2 here.
In today’s world we are constantly being bombarded with all different kind of exercising workouts, routines and methods that will help you lose weight and fat so fast that you won’t even know what hit you. However, many of these methods are misleading.
First, most of these methods assume you already have been doing exercise for a long time. The instructors assume you can easily do aerobics for thirty to sixty minutes with no sweat, but most of us are now looking for healthy ways to live our lives, either for need (medical, sports related, job related, social, etc.), taking preventive health/physical measures or just for plain curiosity.
Secondly, most of these methods assume that you will continue to use them for the rest of your life just to keep yourself in shape. Most people tend to stop doing a certain exercise or workout once they reached their goal or lose interest in it.
Third, and most importantly, most of these methods do not include a healthy eating plan that will make weight loss more effective. Some do include a guide on what to eat but not why to do so. Some guides just tell you what NOT to eat.
Here is a method that works and if done correctly will bring you tons of health benefits, as well as economical and social. This method, Calorie Counting, is not a new but most people think it is. Calorie counting experimenting started around 1896 by Wilbur Atwater (Atwater System?). Atwater used the Law of Conservation of Energy for his experiments. The law indicates that energy in an isolated system cannot be created or destroyed. It just simply changes form or is stored.
In simple math, humans need energy to function. This energy comes as calories inside the food and drinks we consume daily. Humans need a certain amount of calories each day to work. Any excess calories consumed are stored in the body and eventually can turn into fat. This fat will result in overweight, obesity and all the illness that come along with those.
Calorie counting is the start of a new way of healthy living. It depends on you on how strict you want to about counting calories and the goals to set yourself. The most important part of this is that you don’t have to stop eating anything; you will just have to limit the amount that you eat.
Although calorie counting is not a precise science it does help you lose weight if you are overweight. It will also help you eat healthier, such that you can maintain the weight loss longer that other methods. It is about choosing wisely what you eat during the day to reach your calorie goal for the day. Fruits and vegetables tend to give you less calories per gram(less than 1) than carbohydrates and protein do (around 4 calories per gram). Fats have a whooping 9 calories per gram and alcohol has 7 calories per gram. To put it to perspective, while a tablespoon of cooking oil has over 120 calories, a tablespoon of an apple has 7 calories, a tablespoon of lettuce has 2 calories, a tablespoon of potato has 12 calories, a tablespoon of lean meat has 18 calories and a tablespoon of rum has 32 calories.
Using 2,000 calories as the daily goal, will just take 16.7 tablespoons of oil to fill your daily quota. This is about half a pound of food for one day. It will take you around 1000 tablespoons of lettuce to fill up your daily quota. This is about 500 ounces of food, which is around 31 pounds of food. Of course you will not compete with your pet rabbit for the lettuce but the idea is to work out meals that will fill you up and keep your calorie count within your established goal. The best part is that many of the food products today provide a nutritional value and thus will make it easier to do the counting. If a food does not have nutritional value, you can easily search it in the Internet.
If you are overweight or want to eat healthier, consider calorie counting. First of all, for a couple of days count your calories of the food and drinks you consumed that day and record. If you have a measuring cup and measuring spoons, it will make counting more accurate. The more accurate the counting the better results you will see.
Secondly, it is highly recommended that you visit a doctor that will ask for the necessary blood, sugar and cholesterol tests so you know what your levels are before you start this method. The doctor will also provide you with a calorie goal for each day. Thirdly, if you skip step 2, work with the recommended 2,000 calorie diet most food providers work with. Compare the amount of calories you consumed in the previous days with your goal, whether doctor-given or 2,000 based. If the calories consumed are way over the goal then you have determined your problem.
So the step to take, if your calorie consumption is above your goal, is to limit your calorie consumption to your goal. Establish your current weight, so you know your starting point. Even though this may sound tedious write down everything you eat and drink, preferably before you start eating each meal. At the end of the meal you can do corrections on the amounts you ate and also find out your total consumption. As the day progresses, you will add up the calories of each meal and drink. The idea is not to go over your goal. Continue to do this and within a week you should see results when you weight yourself again.
This article is the first of several where we will go through a real life experience of someone who lost forty pounds in 100 days using only the calorie counting method. We will also let you know how his health improved significantly and how he now uses exercises to help with the weight loss, muscle and skin toning and increase other health benefits that exercise offers.