Calories are essentially energy, and once we consume calories (through foods or liquids) those calories will fuel our body to perform its basic bodily functions like digestion and thermal regulation, as well as our daily routines such as working and exercising.
To perform all of these actions our body needs fuel, that’s why we become hungry. HOWEVER, if you give your body too much fuel (too many calories) your body will store the extra energy to be used at a later time. This energy storage creates a buildup of adipose tissue which is otherwise known as fat!
CALORIES IN VS CALORIES OUT
Let’s recap… The basic rule for gaining and losing weight is energy (caloric) balance.
If you consume more calories than you expend, your body will store the extra calories and you will gain weight. Here’s an example, using my own calculations. At the time of writing this article, I’m 26 years old, 1.80m in height and I weigh 84kg. This puts me at a daily 3000kcals requisite just to maintain my current weight.
This means that if I consume 3200 calories, I am giving my body more energy than it needs, so that extra energy will be stored throughout my body in the form adipose tissue. Some of us consume well over 500+ calories than our body needs on a daily basis, so that’s A LOT of extra energy stored in our bodies!
The bottom line here is that if you want to lose weight, you need to be in a caloric deficit. This means that you have to be consuming less calories than you expend! You can do this in two ways… by eating less, or by exercising more.
IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT FOOD THOUGH
Above I’ve explained how you can lose weight by consuming less calories. Now I will give you some insight on how to lose weight by increasing your energy expenditure!
Let’s use my own body weight as an example once again. At my current body weight (84kg) I consume 3000kcals to perform my daily activities. I am also consuming 3000kcals just to maintain my body weight.
NOW, if I increase my daily activities (let’s say I start going for a 20-minute run every day) then my energy expenditure will go up as well. If I burn 200 calories that day (due to the increased energy expenditure), I will have burned a total of 3200 kcals but I only consumed 3000kcals, putting me at a caloric deficit.
But what if you don’t want to run too much? You can also hit the gym and build more muscle… Your body uses more energy to maintain muscle mass than it does to maintain fat. With more muscle, comes an increased energy expenditure. With an increased energy expenditure, comes increased fuel burn (fuel=fat)! Hitting the gym and packing on some muscle is a great way to burn extra calories during the day!
There are many calculators online that can estimate how many calories you burned through many different types of exercise, like this one for example. Most smartwatches and smartphones also do this!
These calculations are just estimating, but it’s a great starting point to get an idea of where you’re at! The bottom line to this article is to be cautious with your nutrition and to increase your exercise quantity. The rest will follow!
We’ve got a few training plans that could increase your total energy expenditure and help you lose weight! Like these 5K and half-marathon plans.
Disclaimer: Please consult with a doctor before following any of the advice provided by this article. Every person has different individual needs and it’s important to receive personalized advice from your physician.
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