Calories…what’s the big deal?

Fat – types of…(1)

There are three types of fat on the body, one is nutritional fat which also contains protein, water and connective tissue, and another is subcutaneous fat which is pure fat; as is visceral fat – the most dangerous of all – which attaches itself to your vital organs (also known as belly fat).  The good news is that whilst visceral fat is the most dangerous, it is also the easiest to shift and the first fat to go!  

One pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories.  One Kilo of fat is equal to 7,716 calories.  This means that if you consume 500 less calories than you burn, you will lose 1lb in weight, if you consume 1,000 less calories than you burn, you will lose 2lbs which is considered a healthy rate of weight-loss.  So there are two ways that you can lose weight; eat 500/1000 less calories than you are now and do no more than you do now and you will lose weight; or maintain current calorie intake but burn an extra 500/1000 calories using exercise to lose weight. Ideal calorie intake per governmental guidelines is 2,079 for a woman and 2,605 for a man (2) .  I hope this blog helps you to decide which is best for you.

Okay, so now for the hard bit; confronting how many calories we eat in a day.

A typical day’s calorie intake: (3)

 Breakfast:                                           Calories

Hovis Granary Toasted x 2                      192

Butter teaspoon                                             50

Yoghurt low fat                                             95

Coffee with milk                                         110

(Black coffee is 2 calories)                      447 total calories


 Crisps  100g                                                181

Cream egg                                                   173.6

Coffee with milk                                         110

464.6 total calories


Ham and cheese toasted sandwich            429

Twix                                                                   284

Coffee with milk                                             110

823 total calories


 Digestive biscuits x 2                                  141

Yoghurt low fat                                               95

Coffee with milk                                           110

345 total calories

 Dinner: Order in Indian Food

 Chicken Korma                                           498

Poppadom                                                         55.3

Half of a Nan bread                                    269

Red wine 125ml                                             85

907.3 total calories

 Total Calories in one day: 2987.9

 Of course, if you drink coke (142 calories per can) or diet drinks (1.3 calories per can – but be warned. For one thing, the sweetener in Diet Coke is Aspartame and has been under controversy for some time as to whether the FDA should ever have approved it. 
From Wikipedia:  “Some studies have also recommended further investigation into connections between aspartame and diseases such as brain tumours, brain lesions, and lymphoma [a type of cancer]. These findings, combined with notable conflicts of interest in the approval process, have engendered vocal activism regarding the possible risks of aspartame.”)(4)

As you can see, the calories consumed in the example are higher than the guidelines suggest for a healthy lifestyle.

What we burn in our daily lives without exercise: (5)

Daily schedule:                                             calories burned

 Sleeping all night (7.5 hours)                                             672

Take a bath/shower (15minutes)                                           73/50

Getting dressed (10 minutes)                                                  33

Styling your hair – (15 minutes)                                           62

Eating breakfast (standing/sitting) (15 minute)              50/37

Tidying up, light work (30 minutes)                                   148

Walking 3mph (30 minutes)                                                  163

Working in an office – desk work (7.5hrs)                       1,330

Eating sitting down (30 minutes)                                            51

Do dishes and clean up (30minutes)                                    148

Sitting down and watching a movie (1.5 hours)             185

Getting undressed                                                                       33

Reading   (30 minutes)                                                             62

Total calories burned                                                     3010           

And the calories burned are pretty much the same as the calorie intake.  So bearing in mind the healthy calorie intake suggested, if we cut back on calories by 300 – 800 depending on if mail or female and based on the example here, and increased our activity by a relatively small amount we would lose weight!

Exercises – how do I get started?

 If you are not used to exercising it is unrealistic to expect that you can start off by running a marathon!  However, it is entirely realistic that you could ride a bike for 10 or 15 minutes or walk for half an hour a day to begin with. It will take some effort, but once through the first few days, you will notice that your energy levels come up and you are able to do more – and it feels great!

Give yourself a game; it could be getting in to that dress for a wedding, or simply that you want to be able to wear a skirt this summer, or a skimpier top or shorts; this is your long-term goal so you decide what it is you want to achieve but definitely set that goal. Also set yourself short-term goals to keep yourself motivated.  It could be a bit overwhelming to focus only on the long-term goal and you could be setting yourself up for a loss or at least no wins along the way.  Set yourself a target for the short-term that is not too steep and that you can reach in a week or a month. (You will better know what targets to set once you have changed your calorie intake, or exercised for a week or so and have monitored your progress).  It is also important though that you stretch yourself, you will feel more like you have worked for and achieved your target if you push yourself, remember, you have that longer term goal to reach and your short-term targets should work you towards that.  And a very important point – reward yourself!  Sometimes we forget to reward ourselves for our achievements.  So a nice facial, or getting our nails done at the salon – or a pedicure… imagine; we are the ones getting pampered ladies!  And you gentlemen – treat yourself to a sauna or a day at the races, something you would not normally do, but secretly want to!

 Set a date:

 Okay, so you have decided that you want to change your lifestyle either cutting down your calories to healthy levels or burning more calories with exercise to lose 2lbs per week.  Now you have to decide when to start!

According to a BBC report research shows that those who start a lifestyle change on a Monday are more likely to succeed. Whereas, people who begin on a Tuesday for example, are more inclined to give up!

So, mark your calendar for the date that you want to start.

Exercises and their calories: (6)

Each activity is 1 hour:                    Calories Burned        Calories Burned                                                               for weight 155lbs     for weight 205lbs

Walking (very slowly)                              141                        186

Walking (3mph)                                         232                        307

Cycling (stationary) light                        387                        512

Cycling (stationary) moderate               563                        651

Cycling (leisurely)                                     281                        372

Aerobics (low impact)                               352                        465

Aerobics (general)                                      457                        605

Swimming leisurely, not laps                422                        558

Swimming laps freestyle (slow)             493                        651

Swimming Breaststroke                          704                        931

Water Aerobics                                           281                        372

These are just a few of the more common exercises you may want to take up.

The more weight you carry, the more calories you burn per hour of exercise.  As the weight comes off, you will feel more able to do more exercise and you will start feeling really good!


It is vitally important that you are getting the correct nutrition whilst exercising.  Years of eating these refined foods can result in some nasty side effects such as fatigue, weakness, aching joints (all symptoms of vitamins C deficiency)(7) .  To find out what you may be deficient in, and get dietary and supplementary advice for a qualified nutritionist, take this FREE Vitamin Deficiency Test Click Here . Once you have the results, you will see what you are deficient in, and what foods you should eat or avoid, as well as advice on supplementing your diet, should that be required.

As you will be exercising, it is very important to support your muscles as they may not have had exercise for some time.  supplemental magnesium and zinc apparently improve strength and muscle metabolism (6)

Take all the help you can get…

Again, Chromium can be helpful as it potentiates insulin action and thereby influences carbohydrate, lipid and protein metabolism. Reported benefits have been reported on adult-onset type 2 diabetes mellitus and glucose tolerance. Increased lean body mass and decreased total body fat has also been reported. (7)

As refined foods play havoc with system and due to diet we are not eating enough of the foods that give us Chromium, it is entirely likely that we have a deficiency. Where this occurs, it may be necessary to supplement our diet. Likewise, years of refined foods may necessitate supplementing your diet with basic vitamins and minerals to bring your bodies resources up to where they need to be.




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