“Take care of your body.
It’s the only place you have to live.”
~ Jim Rohn
Getting to an ideal weight
After the first part of ‘Managing your weight’ (in our previous post) you might have found your ideal weight range. If you’ve identified that you are either underweight or overweight – or even if you are trying to maintain your weight, you need to learn to calorie count.
You probably know the logic but here is a reminder:
- If your body is processing food normally and you are regularly taking in more energy than you are using, your body will store this energy and you will put on weight.
- If you take in less energy than you use you will lose weight and if you balance the energy in with energy out you will maintain weight.
- The bigger you are the more energy will be used to perform the same activities as someone smaller than you.
- As your weight changes your calorie need will change too and you can adjust for that.
- Calories (with a capital C ) are the units of energy used in dieting; this information is available on all packaged food and drink and can be looked up for ‘fresh’ produce. Sometimes energy is also displayed in kilocalories (kc) or kiloJoules (kJ) where 1 Calorie = 1kc = 4.2kJ.
Know your maintenance calorie needs
calculator.net/calorie-calculator will tell you the calories needed to maintain your correct weight with your current lifestyle. You can then set your calorie goal as a variance from this. If you are underweight the chances are you have been taking in too few calories and if you are overweight too many calories. There is a danger that if you just cut down or add proportionately to your current diet you will feel hungry or bloated. But there are some low-calorie foods which are very filling and the converse is also true, so choosing carefully can mean you feel nicely full whilst still moving towards your target weight. Don’t eat on the run: sit and enjoy what you eat, if you focus on the act of eating you are likely to feel satisfied with less food.
The 500 Calorie rule
Now you need to set your calorie target. Keep your target to within 500 Calories of your daily maintenance calorie needs to make sure your body is not being too stressed by the change of weight. This will mean you will lose (or gain) 3,500 Calories a week which roughly equates to a pound (450g) weight change. You might like to think of that as losing a small packet of butter, if it helps.
Some diets advocate fasting days and combining foods which might mean there are days that are far less, or more. Just bear in mind over a week that the calories should balance out.
All calories count!
Don’t forget drinks. Allow 100 Calories per glass of wine and 180 per pint of beer. Tea can have up to 50 Calories per cup with milk and sugar though semi-skimmed with no sugar will bring it down to about 15-20. Swapping to green tea reduces this to 1 or 2 calories.
Calories count even if:
- No one else is watching
- It’s from someone else’s plate
- You’re wearing training shoes (it does NOT make consumption into exercise)
- The date says it’s between Christmas and New Year
- There’s one bite left
- It’s your birthday
- You eat standing up
- You’re on vacation
- It’s free
- It would be rude not to
Do it anyway, occasionally. Enjoy the odd treat. But don’t give up, just try and adjust back to your target over the next few days.
The next article in this series explores ‘Managing your finances’.
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