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Calories In Calories Out –

A calorie is the energy stored in food. Calories are the fuel for body and mind.
I’m not a fan of counting daily calories in or out as a guide to health and diet. Ultimately it’s a task doomed to failure and a road to madness.

Everyone will require a different number of calories, depending on age, size, weight and level of activity. There are complicated formulas involved. The first is to calculate the number of calories used when resting and doing no physical activity. This produces the Basal Metabolic Rate. Then it’s combined with the Total Daily Energy Expenditure, which fluctuates considerably depending in activity levels – use of brain, running, house-work etc. Obviously it would be impossible to keep up with a realistic score.

Averages can be used as a guide.
The average man will need around 2,500 calories a day to remain healthy
The average woman will need around 2,000 calories a day to remain healthy

For very active people, especially professional athletes, these figures will be considerably higher.

I find it much more useful to have a rough idea of how many calories certain chunks of exercise use up and how many calories favourite treats costs. This assumes the basic everyday food menu is reasonably healthy.

Moderate cycling for one hour burns 430 calories
30 minutes dancing will use 200
30 lengths swimming at a decent pace burns 400 calories
An hour’s badminton, another 400
Running at a 6 minute mile for 30 minutes 600 calories

Once again, this is an average as it depends on a person’s size and weight how much they burn. A 10 stone (140 lb) person will burn around 1200 calories on a strong four hour country walk, while a 14 stone (196 lb) person would get through nearer 1800 calories.

This is a good resource for checking up on your own favourite activity

So you’ve done your ration of exercise;  you have that glow of satisfaction and now you deserve a treat as a reward. You meet up with a friend straight afterwards and go for a slice of chocolate cake – and why not a good lump of ice cream on top.

Sure, go ahead, except that’ll be a good 800 calories and bang goes all the benefit from the last two exercise sessions.

Fancy a drink instead? A pint of beer will be over 200 calories and another 200 on that packet of crisps (chips in the States).

There’s the snag; unless we are careful, all the good work of the exercise can be undone in a moment.

Happy counting,