Why most of Us should eat fewer calories

November 12, 2012

Why most of Us should eat fewer calories

Eat Less and Get Healthy

Almost 66% of the adult English population is overweight or obese and the reason for it is simple. People eat too much and do not do enough activities. New research has reinforced what most people can see on a daily basis, the majority of people are overweight or obese. The reason for weight gain is because the body takes in too much food for the work it is expending. Weight loss comes about by eating less.

Weight gain comes on slowly but with the increased weight comes an increased risk to health. The risks of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, some type of cancer or stoke all increase.

Any food or drinks we input to our body provides us with energy in the form of calories. If we do not work enough to use that amount of calories then the body stores the excess as fat. The more fat we store, the heavier we become and the more the health risks increase.

In order to attain a healthier weight a person must cut back on their calorific intake, that means eat less. Look at your favourite drinks too, some of them are loaded with calories. In addition to cutting back on your calories start doing activities. Increased physical activity with a healthy eating pattern is the best method of reaching your ideal weight.

Calories per Day

Everyone needs a different amount of calories to maintain their weight. Factors which can affect the number required include your size, age, how physical your job is and even muscle mass in your body. Recent research indicates that those with a larger muscle mass have a metabolism which runs faster, and hence burns calories quicker too.

General figures for guidance say that an average man should have about 2,500 calories a day from a healthy diet to maintain a healthy body weight. For women that figure is about 2,000 calories.

These figures are not representative if you do a lot of physical work everyday, either at work or as a sportsperson. People in these groups require more calories. However if you have a sedentary lifestyle the opposite may be true. That is you may need fewer calories to maintain a stable weight. In this case you have three options, either cut back on your food or do more activity. But the best option is do both, cut back and exercise more.

A healthy diet is where your body gets the right mix of foods to ensure that all the nutrients are present and in the right amounts to maintain a healthy weight. This means there is no excess energy stored in the form of body fat. To lose weight the best option is to go slowly. Try to lose about half a kilo a week, that’s about a pound or so. Do this until you are at your healthy weight. Cut back about 500 to 600 calories a day and you will easily meet this target. The Eatwell Plate is a very good source of information regarding amounts and nutrients present in foods and how much of each food group we should eat each day.

How Much is Enough?

Even if you have a diet eating healthy food but you eat too much then you will gain weight. Recent research has indicated that most people eat about 10% more calories than they use everyday. Although not a massive amount it will cause weight gain over time, and if you continue to take 10% more calories on a daily basis then your weight will continue to increase.

If you like sugary or high fat foods and drinks then it is very easy to go over your limit of calories. And if you are doing an activity it is very easy to believe that you have burned up more calories than you actually have. For example doing 10 kilometres on an exercise bike over 30 minutes doesn’t even cover on pint of beer or an average size bar of chocolate. If you like pies you may still be pedalling tomorrow!

Overweight and obese people can regularly eat 500 or so calories per day more than someone with a healthy weight. If you are serious about weight loss and changing your lifestyle then you must identify the areas to target. It is common for every meal to be a bit heavy on the calories, so perhaps it is time to look at the portion sizes as well as methods of cooking.

Cut Back Now

Everyday we make choices, now is the time to take the healthier option whenever available. If you like 2 sugars in your tea then try to take it sugar free, but if that is not for you try a sugar substitute or less sugar. Work hard at cutting your portion sizes. Most people if served larger portions will eat larger portions but they are not really hungry, it’s just that they are there. If portions are a bit smaller they are just as full.

When you go to restaurants do not upsize, have regular sizes and consider what is high in fats.

Address what you drink, all alcoholic drinks are high in calories so try to cut back to recommended limits. Many soft drinks are very high in sugar, choose low calorie options or better still just have water.

Nowadays it is very easy to find how many calories are in each food we eat. Ensure that you know how many calories are in the food you take. You are making choices, choose the lower fat or calorie free options. Understand that with, for example, dairy produce the low fat option still has a high fat content because dairy produce is a very high fat food source.

Because most foods have the calories printed on the label just look at it as you shop. If two manufacturers make the same product check which one has fewer calories.

General tips to help weight loss include:

  • Throw away the frying pan,- boil, grill or poaching saves lots of calories.

  • Drink water instead of fizzy drinks, even squashes and some fruit ‘juices’ are very high in calories.

  • Cut back on alcohol, stopping altogether is best.

  • Use low fat spread and keep it thin – use it sparingly.

  • Cut out biscuits and cakes, these are known as empty calories.

  • Eat more wholegrain foods, because they are high in fibre they take longer to digest and leave us feeling fuller for longer.

  • Become a smart shopper, read labels and compare foods for calories.

Do Exercise

If you are starting a weight loss regime then exercise has to be a major part of your plan. However, if you are overweight or obese then start slowly and build up to your target. The WHO and the NHS in the UK, recommend that adults take part in at least 150 minutes of moderately aerobic exercise every week.

This can be any activity that gets the heart going and causes you to break into a sweat. Most people who were successful in losing weight tell us that you must enjoy your activity because you will be doing it as part of your lifestyle. So take time to think of what your preference is. Some people like conventional activities like walking or swimming, others take up dancing or the more energetic forms of yoga. Just make sure that you enjoy it. It is also better to do 5 days worth of 30 minutes rather than 150 minutes in one day. The aim is to increase activity throughout the week.

Doing physical activity keeps you away from the food too, as well as taking your mind of food related subjects. If you do feel the need for something then try fruit or vegetables, in fact whatever you like and is filling but low in calories.

Sources of Information

If you feel that now is the time to start making changes to your lifestyle with the aim of attaining a healthy weight then there are lots of sources of information relating to what to eat. The internet is full of sites designed to help understand calories and foodstuffs. Perhaps the most balanced and trustworthy sites are the ones supported by health departments.

Tags: , ,

Category: Articles