What is a calorie?
A calorie is actually a unit of energy. We all need energy, not only to work and exercise but also to talk, breath and sleep. In fact every single activity requires calories.
We get calories from the food we eat. So when we talk about calories we associate it with weight loss, weight gain and dieting.
Food is also described in other ways such as proteins, fats and carbohydrates and each type contains so many calories per gram.
1 gram of protein=4 calories
1 gram of carbohydrates=4 calories
1 gram of fat=9 calories.
The calories you consume from food is either burned up through activities or stored in your cells, creating fat cells. So if you eat more calories than you burn up, you will eventually put on weight.
To put this in perspective, every 3,500 calories that gets stored up is equivalent to 1 pound of body fat. Or in other words, every 1 pound of fat you want lose means you have to burn 3500 calories.
The calories that your body requires, just to survive is called the Basal Metabolism Rate (BMR) and is different for men and women.
When your body is at rest it uses less calories than when you exercise.
Unfortunately we now live in a technology driven society that has reduced the need for physical work and activity. Yet our choice and availability of food is greater than ever and this is causing all kind of health problems.
The average human needs around 1800-2000 calories a day, but the average person in the UK consumes nearer 3000 calories per day.
However the more physical activities you do, such as walking, jogging, dancing and cycling the more calories you will burn. Exercise also helps keep your metabolism rate higher and continues to burn fat long after the exercising is done. In fact it even helps your body burn fat more efficiently at rest.
So, a calorie is a unit of energy and the more energy you use the less calories are stored as fat. So if you want to lose weight, get moving, but if you haven’t exercised for a while check with your doctor first.