The Fit Girl Guide to Calories
If like me you end up finding yourself on instagrams explore page from time to time, you’ll have probably have seen the term “calorie deficit”. So, if you want to learn all about calories, keep reading.
What is a calorie?
Calorie is a unit of measure. Just the way a KG is a measure and the thing we’re measuring is weight. The thing calories measure is the energy our body uses. We intake calories from foods and drinks and our body takes the calories from said foods and uses them for energy. What it cannot use, it stores in our reserve tank (fat tissue) just incase we ever have days where we don’t have any energy coming in, that way its got a back up.
Every single day we burn calories just by being alive. Your body has a million processes it needs to do daily to keep you alive all of which require energy, we call this RMR (resting metabolic rate) often confused with BMR which can only be measured in laboratory setting, so instead we estimate how many we need and call it RMR. We then burn calories through movement (pottering about, walking the dog etc. and of course exercise), our brain uses lots of energy to think and we also believe it or not use energy to digest food, its called the thermic effect and protein requires more energy than any other macro.
how many calories are in food
3.75 cals / gram
4 cals / gram
9 cals / gram
you may find some people still saying that carbohydrates have 4cals/gram, they’re either not educated on the current literature or are rounding it up. I’m detailed orientated so if I’m going to write about something, I’m going to do it correctly.
Whats is a calorie deficit / surplus
A calorie deficit is when the amount of energy we are putting into our body is less than then amount we are using. Our bodies need a certain amount of energy .If it doesn’t get it, we use up some of those reserve tanks which leads to us weighing less. Obviously we know that energy cannot be created or destroyed but transferred. So when we lose body fat we actually transfer it into H20 and C02, we breathe and sweat it out. If we intake the exact amount of energy our body burns, we stay the same weight.
So where is the confusion?
Every single person is different, therefore every persons calorie / energy requirements are different. Many people use calorie calculators to get an idea of how much they need each day and take it as bible, but while those calculators are so far the only scientific way of determining how much energy you need they ARE NOT a one size fits all tool.
Different people have different things which affect their energy requirements such as thyroid and other hormonal imbalances, genetics also play a part your energy requirements. How much sleep you’ve had can impact the amount you need that day. The quality of the food might even have an impact on our energy requirements. So if you’re eating what you think is a deficit and you’re not losing weight, then I’m sorry to tell you that you’re not eating in a deficit. Yes, that amount of good might be a deficit to me or to your best mate but to you, it’s not. You need to further decrease intake or increase expenditure to see your weight drop.
Is a calorie deficit as complex as people make out?
I personally think no. If you just look at your energy requirements as a scale, intake on one side and expenditure on the other, if you want to lose weight the scales need to be tipped with expenditure being higher. I think that the “fitness” influencers who are spreading rubbish are making people confused but hopefully with this post I have helped you.
Why you’re not losing weight
- your expenditure (what’s going out) is less than you think
- your intake is higher than you think
So therefore if you want to lose weight you’re going to have to reduce calories more than you have (unfair I know). Remember its only going to have an impact on your health if the deficit is too large. But if you’re not losing weight then I’m afraid your not in deficit at all yet.