Sunday, September 20, 2015

How to Calculate Calories

I am on a mission to get back in to my old clothing. I have a huge luggage bag of clothes that I can't fit into. I am very happy that to date (after close to 5 months post natal) I have shed 15kg. Although nowadays I just eyeball the portions, previously I would diligently count every calorie that would enter my body even if it was 1 cracker!

So what are calories? 
Calories are the amount of energy your body will get when you consume a certain food. So, if you over eat the amount of calories needed, there will be access energy that will be stored in the form of fat. 

How many calories do I need a day?
How many calories you need really depends on a few things:
i.  lifestyle (sedentary, light activity, moderate activity or very active)
ii. gender
iii. age
iv. height
v.goal (lose weight, gain weight or maintain weight)

So, if you are looking at weight loss, you will need to eat less calories than you are currently consuming.

You can do a quick calculation on Calorie King. Choosing your lifestyle/activity level can be tricky, so here is some perspective from Calorie King, "Someone constantly chasing toddlers needs more fuel than an office worker." So if you are a SAHM, feel blessed knowing that your daily activity level is medium. 

If you are a breastfeeding mom feel double blessed as you need roughly 500 Calories more than usual depending on how much / how many times you feed a day. Sometimes I do try to cheat by throwing in an extra pumping session.

How to calculate calories?
For pre-packed items like milk, bread, chocolate and so on all you have to do is read the nutrition information. Always have a small weighing scale and measuring jug to ensure you are having the right portions.

How about food that you cook yourself? It is pretty simple actually. Let me show you an example that I have done for calculating Apple Crumble.

Ingredient Amount Calories (kCal)
Granny Smith Apples 6 480
Brown Sugar 200g 700
Butter 170g 1220
Whole Wheat Flour 160g 765
Total 3165
Serving 8 395.625

First, you need to know the individual Calories of the ingredients that  you use. You can check individual packaging of products to find out their Calorie content or you can use mobile apps such as Control My Weight, MyFitnessPal or do a quick search online.

Next, you total up the numbers and divide by the number of portions in one dish. There! It's that simple.

Once you get the hang of it, you will start to notice that unprocessed, fresh foods are very much lower in calories then their processed counterpart. So, reach for the chicken breast instead of chicken nugget.

If you have any other questions on counting Calories, please ask away. I will be delighted to help =) Cheerios! Happy Monday!

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