Calorie is King

 

Why do we need food?

Now stop and pause for a second. Read the question again and write down exactly what you know about food. Maybe I’m being a little presumptuous here? but I’m guessing, other than the thought “because we’ll die” your mind went relatively blank, right? Be honest, you’ve never really thought about it, have you? In fairness why would you, it’s something you’ve been doing automatically all your life, with eating habits being passed down from one generation to the next.

Food is in fact, energy

Nutrition is a massively in-depth subject & hopefully without upsetting the already educated I’m going to try and keep this simple, so let’s start with the basics. Food is in fact, energy. We need food to move, to keep our bodily functions working, to walk, talk and think, much in the same way a car needs petrol to move. This is extremely important to understand, especially when it comes to weight loss & gain.

All food types have their own individual amounts of energy

A Calorie (Kcal) is a unit of energy & each food item, due to its individual weight has its own Calorific Value. Let’s take a quick look at the energy values of some simple, everyday food & drink items:

100g Apple = 52 Calories

150g Banana = 130 Calories

50g Sliced Turkey = 62 Calories

Single slice of a 14” Pizza (with meat) = 330 Calories

125ml (small glass) Red Wine = 89 Calories

1 pint Carlsberg = 189 Calorie

By simply adding up your daily Calories, you can quickly ascertain whether you are eating too much or too little. Let’s use the above example. Your whole meal would equate to an energy intake of 852 Calories (or units of energy)

Playing good cop, bad cop with these figures

Say you added a further 3 slices of pizza to the above lunch. Suddenly your whole meal would equate to an energy intake of 1,842 Calories. On the other hand, if you decided to cut out the pizza altogether & change the pint of Carlsberg to a glass of water. Your whole meal would equate to an energy intake of 333 Calories. That’s a substantial difference, right?

Why is this important?

Well, here’s the crunch. Scientists have reported that to maintain a basic functioning existence (not including exercise) a woman requires around 2000 Kcal daily, with a man requiring around 2500 Kcal. Again, this is just a guide as people are different shapes and sizes.

Now, take our single meal examples from above and compare the Calorific Value to your average daily requirements & you’ll soon start to see, that what you eat (energy consumption) throughout the day can quickly add up.

What happens to excess Calories?

If you regularly surpass your daily recommended Calories, you will simply start gaining weight. You see, we have never lost our ancestral survival ability to store excess food (energy) when it was plentiful for periods of deprivation.

This excess food energy is stored within our fat cells. When these fat cells are full, the body then splits these fat cells to produce yet more fat cells to further extend the process. Welcome to the world of obesity.

Inversely, if you aren’t taking on as much energy as you require or you start exercising & burning off more energy (Kcals), you’ll quickly start to use up your energy stores & lose weight. Again, if taken to extremes, rings its own alarm bells.

In a nutshell

So, by understanding and gradually gaining control over both your daily and meal-by-meal calorie intake, you can more effectively start to create a path to any Goal you may set yourself. It’s not going to be easy & it will require some considerable effort on your part, but monitoring what you eat, even for a short time will eventually reap rewards.

 

 

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Steven Kemp

About Steven Kemp

Co-owner of CrossFit North Devon, CrossFit Strength & Conditioning Coach & occasional Masters Competitor