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Posted by on Jul 12, 2013 |

Be A Calorie Counter

Be A Calorie Counter

Before starting any diet, it’s essential to know how your body takes in energy and nutrition. Diets almost always come down to one thing, calories in and calories out. That’s why it’s vital to be a calorie counter.

We all need calories everyday for energy; yet not all calories are created equal in terms of a food’s nutritional value. Moreover, we come in all sizes and each person’s body burns energy (calories) at different rates. While there is not one specific number of calories that everyone should eat, there is a recommended range based on gender, age and activity level.

 

Gender Age Sedentary Moderately Active Active
Female

19-30

31-50

51+

2,000

2,000

1,800

2,000-2,2002,000

1,800

2,400

2,200

2,000-2,200

Male

19-30

31-50

51+

2,400

2,200

2,000

2,600-2,8002,400-2,600

2,200-2,400

3,000

2,800-3,000

2,400-2,800

 

  • Sedentary means a lifestyle including only light activity associated with typical day-to-day life.
  • Moderately active includes activity equivalent to walking about 1.5 to 3 miles per day at 3 to 4 miles per hour, in addition to typical day-to-day activity.
  • An active lifestyle includes exercise equivalent to walking more than 3 miles per day.

In figuring the right amount of calories for you, also consider a healthy weight goal:

  • To maintain weight, calories in (food and beverages consumed) should equal calories out (metabolism + routine activity + physical activity).
  • To lose weight, calories in should be less than calories out.
  • To gain weight, calories in should be more than calories out.
Fatty High Calorie Food

Getting too many calories from fatty foods can be dangerous.

Consuming too many calories from poor-nutrient and calorie-dense foods, like sugar and solid fats, and having a sedentary lifestyle is a dangerous situation. It can result in obesity and an increased risk for disease. Work on improving your energy-intake and wellbeing:

  • Make nutrient-dense selections from the basic food groups, especially of foods that are good sources of vitamin E, potassium, calcium, and fiber.
  • To lose a pound a week, consume approximately 3,500 fewer calories per week. Reduce your daily intake by 500 calories per day. Keep your metabolism revved up by eating smaller, more frequent meals.
  • Keep a food diary. 
  • Increase physical activity. If you are not active, start walking and gradually build up to 1.5 to 3 miles per day. As the weather warms, enjoy family exercise and outside games.
  • Consult with your doctor, health professional, or wellness coach about a nutrition and exercise program that will meet your needs. Pregnant and lactating women may need an additional 300 calories each day; talk with your doctor to find out your calorie needs.

Sources: HHS Dietary Guidelines for Americans, MedlinePlus, American Dietetics Association, American Heart Association, MyFoodPyramid.gov, LifeWork Strategies, and Washington and Shady Grove Adventist Hospitals. For additional information, consult your physician.

LifeWork Strategies delivers integrated wellness and behavioral health services to employers. Our high quality programs include Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) and Wellness Programs help your organization reach its health goals and in turn reduce your health care costs. Our high-touch programs empower employees to engage in healthy behaviors, increase productivity and provide the access needed to take action towards a happy, healthy life.

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