Counting Calories and Making it a Habit

By definition, a calorie is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1g of water by 1 degree (Celsius). Our bodies need energy (calories) in order for us to functional normally in our daily lives. These calories come from the different kinds of food we eat, which provide us with proteins, carbohydrates, nutrients and fats. These are then burned by our bodies and turn into calories. Take note that in food, usually when it says “calories” it actually means “kilocalories” or 1000 calories.

The number of calories you are required to take really depends on your size, weight and level of activity. For example, a larger person will definitely need more calories than a smaller person. An Olympic athlete will need so much more calories than a regular student. It really varies from person to person.

Before proceeding with counting calories, first you must calculate how much calories you need based on your BMI, or “body mass index.”

After calculating your BMI, you must see whether you are healthy or unhealthy. If you are underweight, you have to create a diet which will allow you to consume more calories than you burn. If you are overweight, then you have to go for a diet which will allow you to take in the same amount of nutrients but with less calories than you burn. And if you are ‘just right’, then go for a diet which will allow you to maintain your weight but by eating healthier food options.

Because a pound of fat has approximately 3500 calories, you can lose about one pound in 30 or so days by reducing your calorie intake by 100. These hundred calories can be from bread or from rice, so by cutting down on your bread intake or rice, you may lose a number of pounds- or gain from it, if you choose to increase your intake.

To find out the amount of calories in food, here is a rough equivalent of food components:

Alcohol
7 calories
Carbohydrates
4 calories
Protein
4 calories
Dietary fibre
3 calories
Water
0 calories

When you count calories, make sure that you record the amount of calories you have taken in a day, and make a habit out of it. One very important factor in counting calories is your consistency in calorie intake. By rule, one should not keep on decreasing calorie intake drastically; your body will go into starvation mode, your BMI will get lower, and when you binge, it will be so much easier for you to gain weight.

Some tips on losing weight while counting calories:

  • Always have breakfast
  • Drink lots of water throughout the day (8-10 glasses)
  • Take your time chewing your food, especially food with loaded with carbohydrates
  • Exercise regularly
  • Try having smaller but more frequent meals