Like I mentioned in some of my previous posts, what determines your weight loss is calorie balance (food intake vs energy burned). You can estimate your average weekly weight loss and figure out how many days it will take you to reach your specific weight loss goal.
For example, one pound of fat equals 3500 calories. So if you manage to burn 500 calories more than what you consume through food, it should take you one week to lose one pound of fat (7 X 500 cal/day = 3500 cals/week).
All foods should have a nutritional label on their packaging, and there you will see their caloric value. You can use a mobile app like MyFitnessPal which will make calorie tracking a lot easier.
To estimate your calorie burn you can now use devices like Fitbit and Garmin. They will take into account your steps/heart rate, weight and height to come up with an estimate.
However, all of these methods are just that - estimates. There are too many things to take into account to get 100% accurate value. Devices like Fitbit and Garmin can be way off, and food labels don’t provide entirely correct values either. Food companies are allowed to be within 20% accuracy in either direction when stating calories on their food labels.
As you lose or gain weight, calorie requirements change. For example, as you lose more weight, you will need to reduce food intake even further. Reasons for this include:
All of this is to say that you can’t get a completely accurate values. Our bodies are very complex and some things we can’t control. However, just because we can’t get 100% accurate values, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t track calories. We can get pretty close to our true calorie values and after all, to lose weight you need to expend more calorie than what you consume.
Knowing the calorie values of different foods will help you make smarter food choices. You will be able to lose weight but also enjoy food and stay in control as opposed to just guessing and hoping for the best. Same holds true if your goal is gain muscle without gaining body fat.
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