Good Food Blog
How many calories will I burn?Posted at 12:02PM, 05 March 2012 by Katie Hiscock - Fitness writer and sports therapist
The energy equation
When it comes to weight, we all know the maths: do more, eat less and lose weight; do less, eat more and gain weight. But is it really as simple as that? Sports therapist, Katie Hiscock talks figures...
What's in a calorie?
A kcal is a unit of energy contained in food and drink. UK guidelines currently advise an average of 2,000 calories per day for women, 2,500 calories for men and 1,800 for children aged 5 to 10. These guidelines help steer us in the right direction but they are approximate figures. If you're keen to find out a more accurate figure you need to work out your Total Daily Energy Expenditure - there are numerous tools available to help you calculate this online.
Generally speaking, how many calories your body really uses each day depends on a number of key factors:
In reality, a body builder or well-trained athlete may need three times as many calories as the 'average' person a day just to maintain their weight, that can be up to 6,000 kcal for some athletes!
Move more - eat more
Because exercise builds muscle and muscle is the body's most efficient calorie burner, keeping active can be a more efficient way to watch your weight than shunning scones and dodging doughnuts. And upping your activity level doesn't necessarily mean entering next year's marathon either. Walking the dog for 10 minutes longer each day or hoovering the stairs that bit more rigorously all counts. Here's what that slice of cake equates to in activity terms...
(Estimated calorie expenditure based on a person with a weight of 72kgs)
How to have your cake and eat it...
You don't need to forgo your favourites completely when counting calories. Instead pick the healthier option when it comes to meal choices and cooking ingredients and save the treats for a special occasion. One gram of fat contains nine calories, while both protein and carbohydrate contain just four calories per gram, therefore if you replace high saturated fat foods with those rich in protein and carbs you can still tuck into a hearty meal without feeling guilty.
Here are some low calorie recipe ideas to get you started
Katie Hiscock is a fitness writer with diplomas in personal training and sports massage therapy. With an interest in sports nutrition, antenatal exercise and injury prevention, she works as a therapist for Brighton & Hove Albion.