Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Guest!

Here's something you've never seen here before - a guest post. Caitlyn is all into health & fitness & nutrition like I am. Yes, I know. My real life peeps are still in shock over how into all this I am. Anywho - Caitlyn wrote a post about all sorts of things I want to know about but am too lazy to research. The problem is there's too much "stuff" out there. I need a synopsis & that's what we have here!

Hello everyone, I'm Caitlin, a full-time SAHM, nature lover, writer, and health nut! Traci has been generous enough to have me on her wonderful blog. Today, I'd like to share with you some of my favorite tips on Calories 101! If you have any questions feel free to email me!

Calories 101: Eating & Burning

It’s amazing when I think about how food affects my life. When I eat more calories than I expend, the number on the scale goes up. If I eat fewer calories, the number goes down. Some health experts say that if you want to stay fit, it’s all about calories consumed and burned. But in studying healthy eating and fitness, I have learned that it is more complicated than that. The type of calories I eat matters, as does the type of exercises I do.

Calorie Basics

Food calories are a chemical measurement. In short, one food calorie (sometimes shortened to kcal) is the amount of energy needed to raise one kilogram (2.2 lbs) of water by one degree Celsius. Good to know, but that makes almost no sense to me from a dietary standpoint. So, I think about it this way. Each calorie in a portion of food provides energy for me to expend in digestion, body function or exercise, or store as fat. The more energy provided in the food related to its weight, the more calories I have to burn off or store as weight.

Calorie Types

Of course, each kind of food provides calories from different sources. Most calories come from carbohydrates, fat and protein. While it may seem obvious that carbohydrates have more energy, since starches and sugars are energy-dense, the reality is a little more complicated. Each gram of protein or carbs contains four calories. Each gram of fat contains nine calories. For years, nutrition experts said to count calories and focus on limiting fat, since fat is denser in calories than protein or carbs. However, recent research indicates this is not always the right path. In fact, current recommendations suggest limiting carbs and increasing fat and protein consumption to reduce insulin production and keep people satisfied longer.

Body-Mass Index

Speaking of weight maintenance, much ado has been made of late about a person’s body-mass index, or BMI. BMI is a calculation related to a person's height and weight, and is a useful basic assessment of a person's weight. People with a BMI under 18.5 are considered underweight, 18.5-25 is considered normal, 25-30 is overweight, and over 30 is obese. However, BMI does not tell me a lot about my health or physical fitness. When I was first working out and dieting, I gained muscle faster than I lost fat. Muscle weighs more than fat, so my BMI went up before it went down. That’s why BMI is only one useful tool in any health plan.

Calorie-Burning Metabolism

Eating a healthy diet is great, but it isn’t enough for most people, and certainly not enough for me. If I do not exercise regularly, my metabolism slows to a snail’s pace and eating celery would pack on the pounds. A 160-lb woman running 30 minutes at 5 miles per hour will burn around 300 calories, where the same woman would only burn about half as much walking at 3.5 mph. High intensity interval training (used in popular at-home workouts like p90x and Insanity) burns about 5 times more calories than a typical cardio exercise. Add resistance training into that and you will continue to burn calories long after you’ve finished working out. But burning calories and building muscle and endurance depends on an individual’s metabolism and experience with the exercise. It’s important to do the research and find what will work for your fitness level.

To a certain extent, it is true that weight loss is about calories in and calories out. One pound of fat equals 3,500 calories, so cutting or burning that much should equal weight loss. But in the long run, I also carefully choose the types of calories I eat and the exercises I use to burn them off.

It's me again - Thanks Caitlyn for all of the info!!


1 comment:

  1. How neat to have a guest poster! Thank you Caitlyn for all of this information! It's definitely good to know.