Understanding The Significance of The Calorie

A basic understanding of how calories work is essential to a successful and safe weight loss. Calories are obtained from essential nutrients (carbohydrate, fat, and protein) and serve as fuel for the body to carry out vital functions like breathing, eating, and sleeping. In addition, calories fuel all types of physical activity from taking a shower to strenuous exercise.

There are 3,500 calories in one pound of fat; therefore, if 3,500 calories are accumulated within the body over a given period of time, a calorie surplus occurs resulting in a net weight gain of one pound. On the flip side, if 3,500 calories are expended over a given period of time through physical activity, a calorie deficit occurs resulting in a net weight loss of one pound. When the amount of calories consumed from food sources is equal to the amount of calories expended through physical activity, no weight gain or weight loss occurs.

In order to lose weight the amount of calories expended must continue to exceed the amount of calories consumed until the desired weight loss is achieved. Once this occurs, the amount of calories expended must continue to equal the amount of calories consumed in order to maintain the desired weight, indefinitely. 

But, it doesn't stop there! 

While calorie control is important for weight loss, it is more important to prioritize good nutrition over general calorie counting in order to optimize your weight loss efforts. In fact, a diet emphasizing sensible portions of high-quality carbohydrates, healthy fats, and lean protein can actually negate the need for calorie counting by boosting the body's natural fat burning mechanisms.

It's true!

Collectively, these essential nutrients contain all-natural chemicals that can greatly boost your weight loss efforts primarily by revving up your metabolism, optimizing digestion, and reducing fat absorption and storage. Eating this way also helps to reduce cravings, curb hunger, and control appetite making it easy to eat less and lose weight ("Why Good Nutrition Is Better Than Calorie Counting").

In light of these facts, for successful and sustained weight loss, it's important to keep tabs on both your calorie and nutrient intake while also exercising portion control. The most effective weight loss strategy involves a healthy diet emphasizing good nutrition with calorie deficits created by way of moderate calorie restriction (a reduction of daily calorie intake by 15-17 percent) and daily physical activity (click here for a simple guide to eating sensibly).

For more of the latest and greatest in health, fitness, and nutrition, "Like" me on Facebook at Nina Cherie, PhD of Complete Health Solutions and follow me on Twitter at @NinaCheriePhD.

Disclaimer: The information provided is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a physician for advice.

Before starting an exercise training program you should first make sure that exercise is safe for you.  If you are under the age of 55 years and generally in good health, it is probably safe for you to exercise.  However, if you are over 55 years of age and/or have any health problems, be sure to consult with your physician before starting an exercise training program.

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