6 Things About Calories You May Not Know
With all the media hype regarding latest health and diet fads, it can be overwhelming understanding how to get started managing, losing, or even gaining weight in Friendswood. Counting calories, watching calories and restricting calories are terms we often hear so much that we begin to think of calories as a horrific disease we may catch if we come too close.
However, this is not the best mentality to have nor is it the healthiest. Rather than looking at an essential component to life as something that should be stomped out because it will make you "fat", let's examine what a calorie is and why we need them!
Food is Fuel
So what are calories? Calorie (kcal) is a word used in mathematics to give a value for heat similar to Fahrenheit, Celsius, or Kelvin. The body requires fuel for energy. Without food (fuel), the body cannot produce energy (heat). The quality of food will determine how well the body runs.
Similar to a fancy race car, if given regular fuel, the car will spit and sputter or possibly stop working. Likewise, if the body does not receive high-quality, clean food, the body will begin experiencing discomfort, illness, and disease over time.
We are Energy
The body produces energy (heat) at all times. When the body is at rest, it still produces energy for all of its systems to function. Whether you are sitting or standing, even laying down, the muscles of the body maintains muscle tone. Any kind of muscle contraction (tone) requires fuel and creates energy.
Because the body is in a constant state of motion every second of every minute, it generates heat. Heat occurs from energy production. This is the reason why we have a body temperature, which is normally about 98.6 degrees.
How Much Energy Does the Body Make?
Our body maintains a perpetual state of movement even at rest. We call this the Resting Metabolic Rate or RMR. In order to determine how much energy the body creates, and how much fuel the body requires to keep up with its processes, your weight can be used to get an approximation using body weight.
A larger person - height, bone density, muscle mass, etc... - makes more energy and requires more fuel. If a person weighs 150 pounds, we can multiply by ten OR simply add a zero at the end of the weight. This number (1,500) is the approximate RMR or amount of energy expended at rest.
Activity increases the metabolism. Therefore, the more active the body is, the more calories the body burns and more fuel the body requires.
Okay, I need calories to live...Why do I have to restrict calories to lose weight?
So, why all the hype about calories? It's very simple.
A recent statistic has shown that 86% of Americans have a job that requires workers to sit for most of their day. In addition to on-the-job inactivity, sitting during lunch, the drive to and from work, Americans spend an additional 1-2 hours sitting in front of the TV, on a game, lounging or sitting on the computer.
That's a lot of sitting!
The issue lies not with the calories but with the level of inactivity that 86% of Americans suffer from every day. Losing weight and feeling great is not about depriving oneself of life sustaining energy, it's about living a lifestyle that supports wellness through eating quality food, remaining active, and making good choices.
The Bottom Line
Movement creates heat and heat is the result of burning calories. The resolution is not in restricting calories. The solution is to find outlets to maintain movement and keeping active. If you're at a job that requires you to sit, here's some things that you can do:
- Walk during lunch
- Take intervals of at least 5 minutes to "stretch your legs" at your desk
- Use 15 minute break times constructively by going outside for a walk or finding a place to stretch
- Take a walk or a run after dinner
- Pick up an exercise routine
If the body is not moving, it's not burning as many calories. If you're eating a lot of calories but not moving to burn them, it stores that energy (as fat) for a time when the body might need to use it. If you never use up the energy that the body stores, it accumulates - creating a larger problem.
Unfortunately, with the quality of food sinking deeper and deeper into the gutter, the incidence of depression rising, and the push for cheaper, sweeter foods made available...the cycle of weight gain, depression, and inactivity will continue to flourish and Americans will continue to be pushed to believe that depriving themselves of food will help them lose weight and feel better.
Chiropractic for nutrition and weight loss? I thought they only cracked backs!
If you're struggling with poor diet, inactivity, depression and weight gain but feel unable to manage this on your own, seek the help of a health care professional.
Dr. Haywood at Forever Well Chiropractic in Friendswood, TX can provide natural, drug-free solutions for nutritional support. He can offer tools for making better calorie choices, therapeutic exercises for in home or in the office, and offer guidance for your Wellness!
Call and book a consultation today.