A few weeks ago, I wrote about calorie cutting to help with maintaining your weight. This time I’m writing about calorie counting. Everything we do physically burns calories. Even sitting burns calories. But not a lot, so don’t get too excited about that.
We all need to be aware of our body weight and how to manage it. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), a healthy weight loss is 1 to 2 pounds per week. To change your body weight by one pound, you need to either increase or decrease your calorie intake by 3500 calories. One of the best ways to lose weight is to decrease the amount of calories coming into your body (i.e. food) daily by 250 and increase the amount of calories going out of your body (i.e. physical activity) daily by 250. This will add up to 500 calories per day times seven days equaling 3500 calories lost in one week.
Over a period of 52 weeks in a year, you can lose 52 pounds. Yes, that’s a whole year to work at it and this is why so many people yo-yo diet as the exercise industry likes to say. That means they go up and down with their weight loss and gain because they’re not patient enough to wait for the 1-2 pounds per week process. It takes most people weeks and months to gain the excess weight and it will also take weeks and months to lose that excess weight the healthy way of 1-2 pounds per week.
Here’s a few physical activity examples and their calorie expenditure. I’m using my body weight (200 pounds) and just 30 minutes as the time spent on each activity to get these numbers.
Leisure Biking (5.5 mph) = 181 calories
Biking (12-13 mph) = 362 calories
Basketball (just shooting baskets) = 204 calories
Walking (fast pace 4 mph) = 226 calories
Swimming (casual) = 317 calories
Sitting (office work) = 68 calories
Sitting (quietly) = 45 calories
Stair climbing = 362 calories
Softball = 226 calories
Tai Chi = 181 calories
Yardwork (regular) = 181 calories
I chose some of the normal types of physical activities that most people do during the week as examples. These aren’t high level activities and yet they still almost make the 250 calorie expenditure number. And this is only considering 30 minutes of activity so it’s easy to burn more calories by extending your time to 40 minutes or more.
ACE has a great website that you can use to enter your body weight, choose your activity and time spent to find out your calorie burn number.
Enjoy your journey in maintaining a healthy body! Keep at it!
Jonathan Souder is the Fitness Director at Manor House, an Acts Retirement-Life Community in Seaford, Delaware. This column appeared in the March 29, 2018 edition of the Seaford Star.