With the onset of diet crazes such as the Atkins and South Beach regimens, calorie controlled diets have received much less attention than they deserve. The truth of the matter is, calorie controlled diets offer optimum nutrition as well as weight control, in a manner that is both flexible as well as satisfying. Whether you would like to lose weight, gain weight, or simply live a healthier lifestyle, continue reading to find out whether or not a calorie controlled diet is right for you.
How Do Calorie Controlled Diets Work?
In order to understand how calorie controlled diets work, one must understand what calories are, and how our bodies process them. Scientifically speaking, a calorie is a unit of energy that the body burns in order to be able to fuel all of the functions and activities that are bodies undergo throughout the course of a day. Theoretically, the more calories we consume, the more energy we will have to burn. The problem is, we often consume way more calories than we burn, resulting in our bodies' need to store excess energy in the form of fat.
Calorie controlled diets enable us to monitor the amount of calories we consume. If we limit the amount of calories our bodies receive, we are limiting the possibility that unused calories will be stored as fat. In addition, if we restrict ourselves to a limited number of calories per day, we are forcing our bodies to use some other source of energy: primarily, fat. So in essence, when we control the amount of calories we consume, we control the way our bodies receive energy. One objective of calorie-controlled diets is to force our bodies to burn fat for energy instead of calories, resulting in weight loss as well as ideal nutritional utilization.
On the other end of the spectrum, calorie controlled diets can be used to gain weight as well. If we consume more calories than our bodies require, we will store the excess calories as fat, thus resulting in weight gain.
How Do I Know How Many Calories to Consume?
The trick to successful calorie controlled diets knows how many calories you can use before your body begins to store them as fat. There is no steadfast rule as to how many calories your body will use as fuel. So those who seek to loose weight or live a healthier lifestyle through calorie controlled diets must learn how to differentiate between how many calories are required to remain healthy, and how many calories are more than what the body needs. Those who wish to gain weight need to figure out how many extra calories it will take to begin storing energy in the form of fat.
Typically, this can be done in one of two ways. The first is to speak with your doctor, who can do the math for you and recommend exactly how many calories your body needs per day in order to achieve your goal.
The second method is to figure it out for yourself, which involves some pretty serious calculating on your part.
Factors That Determine Calorie Needs
Our calorie needs are typically determined by a number of factors, including: our present weight, our height, our age, our gender, our exercise routine, our health, our body-fat percentage, our environment, and how fast we want to lose or gain weight. Obviously, these factors are a lot to consider, which is why a medical practitioner should determine them.
Determining How Many Calories Are Needed to Lose Weight
For those who are looking for an approximation to begin with, here are some general guidelines for losing weight on a calorie-controlled diet:
Teenagers need about 1500-1800 calories per day before they begin to burn fat
Non-Active women typically need about 1100-1300 calories per day before they begin to burn fat
Active women typically need about 1400-1600 calories per day before they begin to burn fat
Non-Active men typically need about 1600-1800 calories per day before they begin to burn fat
Active men typically need about 1800-2000 calories per day before they begin to burn fat
To lose weight, consume no more than the above-mentioned calorie ranges for the category you fall into. Once again, this is only a rough estimate to abide by until you are able to speak with your doctor.