WHAT IS ENERGY BALANCE?
NICHOLAS ALEXANDER CARACANDAS
So What is Energy Balance?
Energy is another word for “calories.” Your energy balance is the balance of calories consumed through eating and drinking compared to calories burned through physical activity. What you eat and drink is ENERGY IN. What you burn through physical activity is ENERGY OUT.
You burn a certain number of calories just by breathing air and digesting food. You also burn a certain number of calories (ENERGY OUT) through your daily routine. For example, children burn calories just being students—walking to their lockers, carrying books, etc.—and adults burn calories walking to the bus stop, going shopping, and at work etc.
An important part of maintaining energy balance is the amount of ENERGY OUT (physical activity) that you do.
It should be obvious that people who are more physically active burn more calories than those who are not as physically active.
Here are 3 different scenarios for 3 very common outcomes or goals:
- The same amount of ENERGY IN (calories consumed) and ENERGY OUT (calories burned) over time = weight stays the same.
- More IN(consumed) than OUT (exercise) over time = weight gain.
- More OUT(exercise) than IN (eaten) over time = weight loss.
Your ENERGY IN and OUT doesn’t have to balance every day. It’s having a balance over time that will help you stay at a healthy weight for the long term.
Personally, I calculate the calories for clients to balance out over a period of 7 days rather than day-to-day. This allows for adherence and absolute freedom and room for any indulgences and joys (Because life is worth it).
Balancing your calories in versus calories out on a daily basis is a good idea as time is an expensive commodity and to find out that you have just been winging it over a period of 3 months without tracking your day to day calories will inevitably slow down potential results. We can only manage what we measure.
Something to keep in mind when tracking calories is that we need to reduce the calories and NOT the food. This is where so many go wrong. Calories go down but food intake needs to remain high. This allows you to be limiting calories while being able to eat and be merry (like all people should).
PRo TIP: Calories fro fibre are not counted towa5ds calorie totals. This means that although broccoli has a carb content ( which display as calories), these carbs are mostly from fibre which means they are almost non-existent.
Energy Balance in Real Life
Think of it as balancing your “lifestyle budget.” For example, if you know you and your family will be going to a party and may eat more high-calorie foods than normal, then you may wish to eat fewer calories on the day or for a few days before so that it balances out.
Or, you can increase your physical activity level for the few days before or after the party, so that you can burn off the extra energy.
In an ideal scenario, you would do bot. Decrease in your intake and increase your activity.
The same applies to your kids. If they’ll be going to a birthday party and eating cake and ice cream—or other foods high in fat and added sugar—help them balance their calories the day before and/or after by providing ways for them to be more physically active.
Here’s another way of looking at energy balance in real life.
Eating just 150 calories more a day than you burn can lead to an extra 5 pounds or 2.5kg over 4 – 6 months. That’s a gain of 10 pounds or 4.5kg a year.
150 calories equate to 1 bite of a chocolate bar, 3 apples, a pinch of almonds or 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil!
If you don’t want this weight gain to happen, or you want to lose the extra weight, you can either reduce your ENERGY IN or increase your ENERGY OUT. Doing both is the best way to achieve and maintain healthy body weight.
Next step is your protein intake and training stimulus.
Yours in Strength and Diabetes,