The Balance: Caloric Deficits & Surpluses
People have been counting calories for generations. But unfortunately for most, the job is only half-done. We may look for the calorie count on our soda bottles and on the walls of our favorite restaurants, but many times we ignore the other side of the equation, the calories we burn.
The amount of calories we take in each day is known as your daily caloric intake. Though most food products list 2,000 calories as the average, the United Nations Food Agriculture Organization lists the average American caloric intake at 3,790 calories. And in Florida and other parts of the South, it’s believed to be higher.
The intake of all those calories usually leads to a caloric surplus, or weight gain.
So how do we find the balance? The answer is to measure the calories we consume along with the calories we burn, and make sure that our intake is equal to or below the number of calories we burn.
In the past, the hard part used to be finding a method of measuring our specific activities. You could have two women running the same path at the same pace, but they wouldn’t burn the same amount of calories because of weight, metabolism and other factors.
But health organizations have created calculators that give an accurate estimate of calories burned according to weight and activities, the most popular of these can be found at http://www.healthstatus.com/calculate/cbc.
Just for fun, I’ve come up with a short list of activities and the amount of calories a 175lb person would burn in doing that activity for 30 minutes.
Sexual Intercourse 168
Walking (4 mph) 205
Basketball (full court) 436
Rock climbing 436
Running (7 mph) 457
Of course, these figures are most accurate when measured to your exact weight and your daily caloric intake. When you begin to take in less calories then you burn, you’ll lose weight, or have what we call a caloric deficit.
Also, when counting calories, don’t forget about liquids! Soda, juices, and alcohol are usually the biggest culprits to weight loss because they usually go unnoticed. So next time you’re looking at the Nutrition Facts at a Burger King, or Chik-Fil-A be sure to check out the drinks as well as the sandwiches.
You may be surprised.