The Mighty Calorie

September 5, 2016



I want to talk about calories.  People obsess over them, cringe thinking about them but mostly just over eat them.  What you put in your body makes a huge difference in how you feel, duh!  I will go into detail about carbs, fats and proteins another day – today we focus all our attention to the mighty calorie!

Did you know it only takes 3,500 calories to make one pound of fat.  Let me simplify that a little more…. If you simply eat 10 more calories than your body needs a day, then in roughly 1 year you will accumulate 1 pound of body fat.  Now I want you to stop and think about how many calories a day you actually consume in excess.  A little scary, right?  Or are you completely oblivious as to how many calories a day you actually need?  No worries, let’s talk about that.


Everyone has a Basal Metabolic Rate (or BMR).  Your BMR is the amount of calories a day your body burns to keep you alive.  So sitting at a desk all day and on the couch all night, your BMR is the amount of calories your body burns for digestion, respiration, heartbeat, organ functions, etc.  Your BMR is of course influenced by many factors such as age, gender, weight and so on.  In case you are curious, here are the BMR formulas:


MALE: 66 + (6.3 × body weight in pounds) + (12.9 × height in inches) − (6.8 × age in years)


FEMALE: 655 + (4.3 × weight in pounds) + (4.7 × height in inches) − (4.7 × age in years)


It is possible to increase your BMR with exercise, and of course these equations are estimates due to the varying factors that contribute to individual BMR.  Your BMR accounts for roughly 75% of your daily caloric expenditure, so if you do not incorporate activity into your daily life (which you ABSOLUTELY SHOULD be active daily!) then you should try your best to not over eat on a daily basis.  

Now that you have a basic understanding of the minimal amount of calories your body needs you should be able to see why your weight might be creeping up on you.  Again, it only takes 10 additional calories a day for a year to gain 1 pound of fat. 

Personally I LOVE to eat and hate to not eat things I love.  So instead of restricting my diet I incorporate more exercise and moderation.  I love pizza, fries and beer.  I do not plan to give any of them up, so I make choices.  If I know I am going to eat pizza for dinner I have a healthy salad for lunch.  If I am going out with the girls and I know I am going to have a few drinks I do not drink at all the rest of the week.  See where I am going with this?  You do not necessarily have to give up the foods (or beverages) you like, you just need to make adjustments.  Except soda – EVERYONE SHOULD GIVE UP SODA!! 

Small sacrifices allow me to live the life style I want.  Of course I splurge sometimes, everyone needs that.  When I splurge I do not feel guilty for it, I do it and enjoy it and get back to my routine the next day. 


I hope this helps guide you into a healthier and happier lifestyle!!

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Aslyn Van Cleave

Personal Trainer/ Coach

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