In my first article, I talked about some of the more commonly believed myths about dieting and losing weight. Here I hope to explain more about how to get started on developing a healthy diet and the importance of knowing your calories. Remember the last time I mentioned that diet is 80% of the key to weight loss, or weight management if you prefer.
What are Calories?
To start with, what are calories really? A calorie is basically a unit of energy that the body derives from fuel which in this case is food per weight in grams/ ounces. Technically when we say there are 155 calories in 100 gms of boiled egg, it’s actually Kilo-calories (like kilograms versus grams in units of weight), but for convenience it’s usually referred to as just calories.
Different types of food provide different quanta of energy or calories. What happens to these calories? Your body uses and burns it in doing various activities. Even when sleeping your body is burning calories just to keep your heart beating, your brain and organs functioning, amongst a myriad of other natural and involuntary functions. I’ll come back to why that’s important later.
The basic principle of understanding how this works in relation to weight management is knowing your energy consumption vs. energy expenditure, or calories in vs calories out. A calorie deficit is when you eat less than you burn and will result in weight loss, whereas a calorie surplus is when you eat more than you burn, leading to weight gain. Simple enough concept, right?