All About Burning Calories

     I’ve mentioned frequently that I am a calorie counter. I lose weight by taking in fewer calories from food than I use during daily activity. My current daily intake goal is 1600 calories.  According to calculations at The Calorie Control Council in order to maintain my current weight I would need to consume approximately 2200 calories a day. In order to lose one pound I have to burn 3500 calories. Based on these calculations I should be losing a little over  one pound a week but have seen very little change on the scales this month at all. So what’s up with the math?

     The first questions I ask myself is, if you aren’t losing weight are you losing inches? I know that I am even though I don’t take tape measure measurements as I should. How do I know? Because I had to replace all of my jeans this month. Even my smallest size 14’s no longer fit. I am now sporting all 12’s and that feels good. My body is getting more toned, I am building muscle, and the muscle weighs more than the fat I am replacing. So part of the discrepancy is this composition change. However, I have a numbers goal I am determined to reach so what do I need to do to make the scales continue to move?

     If the inches aren’t dropping either, there are several things to consider. Evaluate whether the calculations on my activity level are accurate. If your calculations were done using a program that uses vague activity levels like modest, moderate, or heavy you might have chosen the wrong one. How many calories are you really burning in a week?

     For me, I have become rather active, but have lost 70 pounds and increased my endurance also so I may have to step it up a bit to burn the same number of calories as before. As the body becomes more efficient, it doesn’t take as much to make it go. Calculations on how many calories you are burning are estimated by many methods. Even when I am using my pedometer or treadmill those numbers are based on an average not my actual body’s responses to the exercise. In order to lose weight at the same pace as before I may need to up my game.

     The next thing  to look at is whether my caloric intake numbers are correct. Am I recording everything I eat and in honest amounts with accurate weights and measures? I am diligent in my food journaling and most days am on track with the calories. There have only been a handful of days in the entire three months of this year that the numbers were over by more than 100 calories. I work hard to consume foods that have clear and accurate calorie contents. This I have covered.

     The next piece to look at is whether you are consuming too few calories. If your body is deprived of the calories it needs it can go into starvation mode and start holding onto weight. If you are dieting on a highly restricted diet consider upping your calories. Never consume under 1000 calories a day. This isn’t my problem. I have a minimum intake of 1200 calories and a max of 1600. These numbers are not super restrictive.

     Below I have included a little chart with some great basic calorie info. I hope this is helpful for anyone new to calorie counting or who, like me, is dealing with a plateau.

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