In one word: Energy.
Calories are the energy that keeps our bodies moving. They allow us to live and function, anywhere from breathing and keeping our heart running, to allowing our brain to function all the way to running marathon’s and working out! As an example, you could think of it as fuel for a car. You gas up your car so it can burn fuel then you get to drive your car and without it the car would stop working. Without calories we would no longer function as there would be nothing to burn.
How many calories do we need to keep our body running?
(RMR) Resting Metabolic Rate: This is the minimum number of calories needed in order to keep you alive and is approximately 400 to 600 calories a day. This number is not static and does change from day to day. In order to calculate your RMR there are many different factors that need to be looked at such as age and sex.
Now we know what a calories is, how does one gain weight?
It’s simple; you eat more calories than your body needs. When calories are consumed and not used up it gets stored as fat. To gain an extra pound you would need to consume an additional 3500 calories. This may sound like a lot, but if you eat a few extra cookies, a few extra scoops of ice cream or an extra serving of meat, then this could be a few hundred calories per day. It could lead to almost a pound of extra weight each week which is 4 pounds a month and 48 pounds a year!! Now, not everyone gains weight at this rate but you can see how easily it could be done.
Well then maybe I will just eat very few calories to loose weight?
Eating a very small number of calories is not recommended as you need a certain number of calories each day or your body will think its starving. When this happens your metabolism get’s slower (meaning you cannot burn calories as quick!) and your body will start storing fat for you as it is unsure of when your next meal will be (If you think back to cavemen days). So, when you start eating normal again, you will probably gain weight faster than before and is why you hear of people gaining back the weight and more.
So then how do I loose weight the right way?
There are a few ways. You can do it on diet only, but for many other health reasons, I would recommend adding in exercise as well. In terms of the food if you need 3500 calories to gain a pound then you need to use up 3500 extra calories to loose a pound.
Let’s look at an example:
You want to loose 10 pounds and you figure out you need to eat 2,000 calories per day to stay at your current weight. This means you need a deficit of 3500 calories to loose one pound and 35,000 to loose 10 pounds. I know it sounds like a lot, but here is one way of doing this.
Instead of eating 2,000 calories each day, you eat only 1750 and also exercise each day burning 250 calories. This would be a total deficit of 500 calories per day and therefore 3500 calories lost each week meaning one pound lost per week and in turn you would loose your 10 pounds in 10 weeks.
I do caution: Please remember that there is a minimum calorie intake you need to have so you cannot just cut your calorie intake each day by half.
In conclusion, calories are needed in order to keep your body moving and alive and depending on how many you consume it will effect you in different ways.
**Resources by www.livestrong.com.