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Counting Calories To Lose Weight-Does This Work Effectively?

Gorry Terry

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Reducing your daily calorie input from the food you eat is a well known strategy based on the scientific principle that the amount of calories you consume each day should be no more than the amount you use each day, rather they should be less. If you consistently take in slightly less calories than you expend then you should gradually shed weight as your body uses its reserves.

In order to achieve this you should take it gradually, decreasing daily calorie input, and, at the same time increasing your levels of exercise. It is not a good idea to starve yourself as this can be counterproductive.

If the body’s calorie input is drastically and suddenly reduced it will try to conserve remaining energy reserves by reducing metabolic rate. Take it one step at a time, gradually increasing your levels of exercise.

Calories are a measureable amount of energy. A food calorie is actually a kilocalorie, i. e. the amount of energy required to raise one kilogram of water by one degree Celsius. There is nothing our bodies do that does not need calories. We need calories just to live.

The amount of calories expended on our vital processes, such as blood circulation, breathing and digestion for example, can be as much as 70%. The remainder is available at our discretion for all our other activities.

Everybody burns a different amount of calories depending on their genetic make-up and the amount of activity they do. People with higher metabolisms burn calories faster, so may eat more food than others but still lose weight.

People with physically demanding jobs can also eat more without gaining weight because they expend more energy.

Unfortunately, many of us have a fairly sedentary lifestyle, and therefore we may often eat more than we really need, thus gaining weight. By counting our daily calories and making and sustaining a reasonable reduction, we can hope to lose weight. Increasing our daily activity through exercise also helps.

You can calculate your daily calorie needs by means of a formula called the Harris-Benedict formula, or by simply going online and using a tool such as the one on the Mayo Clinic Website.

Now that you know how many calories your body needs each day, you can determine how many you will want to cut from your diet. The more you cut, the more weight you will lose, up to a point. Cut too many calories and you may find your energy levels dropping and everything becoming too much of an effort, so moderation is the key.

Consider lowering your daily calorie intake by 2-300 in the first instance and see how you get on. You should not allow your daily calorie intake to fall below 1500.

Once you have decided on your daily calorie intake you can keep a record of this by means of the food labels on supermarket foods plus an estimate of calorie values from fresh foods. You are better off eating more fresh than processed foods, but may need to refer to charts to get the calorie values of various foods.

Keep a note of your totals as you go through the day, either with pen and paper, or with an electronic calorie counter which is an inexpensive and convenient way to do this.

You may find all this calorie counting a bit of a chore at first, but, like many things it becomes easier the more you do it, and eventually is second nature. You only have to look at a food, and the portion size, and you know the calorie content. This information and this kind of effort can make you both feel and look better, and add years to your life!

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