If you’re anything like us and you’re trying to shed a few pounds, whether that be just to improve your overall health, get ready for summer or a bit of both, chances are you’ve heard a lot of talk about calories. And despite the amount of chat about them a lot of people don’t quite understand what they are and why they are important.
For this exact reason we have put together this complete guide all about calories and how to use them to empower your weight loss journey.
So, what is a calorie?
A calorie is defined as:
“A unit of energy equivalent to the heat energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 degree celsius”
This is the very science-y definition and probably is a little confusing. But more simply a calorie is a unit of measurement that tells us how much energy is in our food and drinks. Think of calories like fuel for a car - our bodies need them to function properly and do things like walk, run, and even breathe!
Think of calories like fuel for a car - our bodies need them to function properly and do things like walk, run, and even breathe!
So what happens if we don’t eat enough calories? Does our body just stop working? Fortunately, no! Our bodies are very adaptable. On days where maybe you’ve woken up late and had to skip breakfast, rushed to the office, worked through lunch with only a little snack to tide you over and gone to the fridge when you finally get home only to discover you’re fresh out of groceries, the body switches things up a little and delves into its stored energy reserves of fat, carbohydrates and protein ensuring you barely miss a beat.
But what about those days you decide to lounge about, watch Netflix and get takeout?
Well, chances are on those days your body isn’t using up much energy so it’s got a lot left over from the food you’ve eaten. In this instance our bodies take these left over calories and store them, usually as fat, for later.
A single day here or there where we burn less calories than we eat is bound to happen, but day after day, week after week and our body will continuously store this extra energy as fat resulting in weight gain. This is called a calorie surplus.
Eventually the time comes when we decide enough is enough, it’s time to shed those extra pounds that have snuck on over the last few months. But how do we do this? Well the answer is quite simple; a calorie deficit.
But, what is a calorie deficit?
When you strip everything back a calorie deficit is ultimately the key that unlocks weight loss progress. In essence a calorie deficit is when we burn more calories per day than we consume through food. By doing this our bodies have to find energy elsewhere to use as fuel, which it typically gets from our stored fat.
By delving into these fat stores day after day, we start to deplete that fat store that has built up over weeks, months or even years. By depleting it we start
In order to be in a calorie deficit there are two key pieces of information you need to know:
- How many calories you typically burn in a day
- How many calories you are consuming each day.
The number of calories we burn in a day is often referred to as our Total Daily Energy Expenditure, or TDEE for short. This is the sum of all the calories our bodies burn while it carries out its usual daily functions (thinking, breathing, blinking, digesting food etc) add to the calories we burn while we work, exercise and generally go about our daily lifestyle.
There are plenty of online calculators that can calculate your TDEE by taking your sex, height, weight and rough activity level. Alternatively, if you own a fitness wearable or smartwatch you can use this too to get a rough estimate.
The amount of calories we eat per day is also known as our Caloric Intake and can be calculated by adding together all of the calories you eat and drink in a day. The number of calories in the foods we eat can often be found by checking the amount of calories in the food on the back of packaging or using calorie tracking apps that have become commonly available to download and use on most smartphones.
To be in a calorie deficit we have to burn more calories than we eat meaning our TDEE has to be greater than our caloric intake. For sustainable weight loss it is best to aim for a calorie deficit of 500-1000 calories per day in order to lose 1-2lbs per week.
How to achieve our calorie deficit?
There are 3 ways you can achieve a calorie deficit:
- Reduce the amount of calories you eat
- Increase the amount of calories you burn
- A combination of both
Reducing the amount of calories you eat without changing your activity level can lead to weight loss but this progress doesn’t tend to be sustainable. Our body fights back to try and maintain the status quo. Lots of diets can also just get quite boring! The first chance to deviate from it, a well deserved holiday or family occasion, releases the proverbial floodgates that result in us crawling straight back to those comfort foods we used indulge in after a stressful day.
So maybe burning more calories is the answer? It could be, but we’d have to do an awful lot of extra exercise! Burning an extra 500-1000 calories per day is no mean feat, and doing it every single day is even tougher. And while you can absolutely achieve these sorts of levels of calorie burn each day by exercising with BionicGym, taking a slightly different approach has been found to be the most effective.
Making slight improvements to your diet along with incorporating more exercise into your daily life is the most effective and most sustainable approach, and in fact has been proven to be by science! By tipping both sides of the scales in our favor we get the benefits of both diet and exercise without an insane amount of additional effort. A 250cal reduction in your calorie intake is about the equivalent of a mars bar while a 250 calorie increase in calorie burn is the equivalent of as little as 30 minutes of exercise with BionicGym! And just like that we’re already 500 calories better off.
Making slight improvements to your diet along with incorporating more exercise into your daily life is the most effective and most sustainable approach, and in fact has been proven to be by science! By tipping both sides of the scales in our favor we get the benefits of both diet and exercise without an insane amount of additional effort.
The Key Takeaways:
Very simply a calorie is just a way of measuring the energy in the food and drink we consume. Our body needs these calories to function, but if we get a little carried away and eat too much, we store these extra calories as fat for use later.
When enough is enough and we decide to lose that extra fat the key is a calorie deficit. And the best way to maintain a calorie deficit is through a combination of both diet AND exercise, a combination that has been shown to be both the most effective and most sustainable method. Making simple changes to our diet to reduce the number of calories we eat while also burning more calories through exercise each day using BionicGym, going to the gym, getting out for a walk (or a combination of all three!) makes the daunting task of losing weight far simpler and more attainable.
So what are we waiting for! Let’s get the show on the road with BionicGym!