Are you Burning Enough Calories?
Did you know that being overweight is not caused specifically by eating fat, sugar or carbohydrates. The ultimate cause of being overweight is consuming more calories than our body expends. If we put too much fuel (calories) into our bodies, our bodies begin to store calories. Unfortunately, our bodies can’t store calories in the form of muscle; they can only store calories in the form of fat. Therefore, our goal should be fat loss and this can only be done by:
1. Increasing the amount of calories we burn through exercise.
2. Consuming fewer calories that we use in a day.
Count your calories!
• One gram of Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fiber have 4 calories each
• One gram of Fat has 9 calories
• One gram of Sugar or Ethenol (found in alchoholic Beverages) has 7 calories
Sugar and ethanol have empty calories, that is, they have calories but no vitamins and minerals. So, you must limit the intake of foods with empty calories.
For every 3,500 of excess calories consumed, that the body does not burn for energy, one pound of fat is stored in the body. Likewise, to lose a pound of fat you need to expend 3,500 more calories than you consume. (3,500 unused calories = 1 pound of fat.)
Watch out if you are dieting!
If you want to lose body fat, you need to consume less calories than you are expending; but here’s where it gets tricky; you can actually gain fat when you are on a diet!
If you consume fewer calories than your body requires to carry on basic functions like digesting, breathing, etc… (BMR), your body perceives starvation and it does what it has to do to slow down the calorie expenditure. One way of slowing down is by burning muscle for energy because muscle speeds up the metabolism and it requires energy to maintain itself. At the same time that muscle is being used for energy the body is responding to the starvation by increasing the fat-depositing enzymes which will in turn store more fat.
This is also why some diets make you lose so much weight so fast. They induce muscle burning and because muscle weighs about 5 times more than fat, the total weight loss is greater. What happens when you get off the diet and go back to eating your normal consumption? You actually gain weight because your metabolism has slowed and you require less calorie expenditure to function!
The long term effects of dieting, especially without physical activity, will produce negative effects on your body-composition, not to mention your health. If you lower calorie consumption below your BMR you will lose muscle which in turn will slow your metabolism. Remember metabolic rate is directly proportional to the amount of lean muscle mass you have.
Did you ever gain weight while dieting? What exercises do you practice for burning calories?