If you are trying to control your weight you need to know how calories in and out impact your overall weight. It is ultimately calories that determine your weight, and how you go about your days and weeks in terms of calories consumed and burned is the key.
Calories in simply means how many calories you take into your body by eating and drinking things. You commonly see references to a 2000 calorie diet on such things as food label. This does not mean that you should be aiming for 2000 calories per day. The number that you need to hit depends on a whole host of factors including your height, age, sex, and even medical conditions. The easiest way to determine calories in is to get a calorie countercalorie counter book or use an online site to check out your totals.
Calories out simply means how many calories you burn through exercise or just by being a living creature that walks around and breathes. There are a certain number of calories that you need to simply exist and for your core body functions to work. Then there is excess calories that you burn by working out, walking to work, shoveling the driveway, or mowing the lawn. All of these calories together equal your total calorie consumption each day. The easiest way to see how many calories you burn in exercise is to use a heart rate monitor to track your workout.
How Weight Equals Calories In and Out
Your weight is dependent on your total calories in less your total calories out. It is really not more complicated than that, except that you need to understand the math behind this statement. Suppose your body needs 1500 calories each day just to function through a normal day and you take in 2000 calories each day and burn 500 calories each day with a workout. Your would have calories in of 2000 and calories out of 2000 and you would have had enough calories (1500) to use to function. In this case you should expect to stay the same weight.
Let’s take another example. Suppose the same as above but that you workout and burn 1000 calories each day. In this case you take in 2000 but burn 2500 each day. You now have a deficit of 500 calories each day, or 3500 calories each week. If, instead you did not work out you would eat 2000 calories but only need 1500 to get you through the day, yielding an excess of 500 calories per day or 3500 calories per week. It doesn’t really matter if the deficit or excess comes from diet or exercise, it just matters what the final number is.
Why The Deficit or Excess Matters
In our last two examples above we had a 500 calorie shortage and excess each day. This is important because of the relationship to calories and weight. One pound equals 3500 calories. Therefore, if you have an excess of 3500 calories each week you could expect to gain one pound. Likewise, a shortage of 3500 calories each week would cause you to lose one pound. Understanding how to work with this fact is an important first step in weight control.
That is really the bottom line. Over the long term, your calories in and out will determine whether your weight goes up, down, or stays put.