Could Counting Calories be all it Takes to Shed Pounds?
The confusing array of fad and celebrity diets can be enough to make you give up dieting all together. However, the solution to fad diets and practically any diet can – weirdly – be found in the teachings of the Buddhists (despite Buddha’s figure). It’s all about the “middle way” in slimming down your “middle region,” specifically a happy balance of calories.
What Are Calories?
Calories are the basic unit of potential energy we consume as food. Your lamp runs on watts, your car runs on gallons of gas, and you run on calories. The more you eat, the more you have to burn; if you don’t burn them however, they are stored as fat.
If you’re eating more calories than you’re burning, you’re said to be in caloric excess; eating less than you’re burning, you’re in caloric deficit. In excess, you gain weight; deficit, you burn off fat and lose weight. It’s not that simple though.
Some believe it’s not only the amount of calories you eat that matters, but where the calories come from – specifically protein.
Metabolism and Calories
Diets high in protein are said to allow you to burn more calories at rest, as protein requires more energy to digest than carbs for instance. Overtime, a high protein diet is said to help build lean muscle mass and with more muscle mass comes a need for more energy in the form of calories. The end result is a quickening of something called a metabolism.
The metabolism is the body’s system of converting food into usable energy, like how crude oil is refined to make gasoline. A fast metabolism will burn energy quicker than a slow metabolism. That said, a quick metabolism is a gas guzzler and a slow metabolism, a hybrid. But unlike cars, an energy guzzler is a good thing, because the energy you put into your system will be used up, not stored as fat for later. A diet low in protein is said to slow your metabolism, meaning you burn fewer calories at rest. A low protein diet may also lower the energy it takes for you to pack on fat. With fat storing easier and staying longer, this could lead to dramatic weight gain, even obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease.
The worst side effect however has little to do with how you look at the beach. A low protein diet causes the loss of lean muscle mass, dying muscle releases hemoglobin, and hemoglobin is toxic to the kidneys. So, over extended periods of time, a low protein diet could lead to the possibly of catastrophic kidney issues.
How Do Calories Equate to Pounds and Weight Loss?
- There are approximately 3,800 calories per pound of fat
- To lose between one and two pounds of fat per week, you’d have to shave off about 800 calories a day.
The moral of the caloric story here is to find a number of calories that work for you, with a balanced diet leaning a little toward the protein side when you can. If you live a sedentary lifestyle you will typically require fewer calories than say a carpenter or Olympic athlete (Olympic athletes can eat over 11,000 calories a day). Keep a food journal to track what you eat and tally up the calories.
Once you find your equilibrium, not gaining weight or losing, adjust from there depending on what you’d like to achieve. Slim off some fat before summer or add some muscle, it’s up to you. Remember to check with your healthcare provider before embarking on any new diet. He or she can provide key nutritional counseling to help you eat the right types of food with the amount of calories necessary to achieve your goals. Request more information about Calories and Weight Gain today. Call (832) 532-0050 or contact us online.