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Nutrition Column

Caloric comparisons for weight loss

Something to think about when choosing how much, along with what, you eat is the time it will take to burn off the calories you consume. Becoming aware of the caloric comparisons allows for a clearer understating of the role your food choices play in determining your body weight.

While the low-fat whole-food, plant based diet allows for many more foods to be eaten you can't eat unlimited amounts and not expect to gain weight. Exercise gives you more leeway. The caloric burn during and after each workout not only aids in weight loss but allows you to "splurge" every so often without regain.

It is, however, important to become aware of just how much time that extra bagel, bite of chocolate, or other digression will take to burn off and to balance your caloric expenditure with you caloric intake.

For walking or running, a ballpark figure to use is 100 calories per mile. While body weight plays a role in caloric expenditure (a lighter individual will burn fewer calories than a heavier person) this figure is a good estimate and provide you with something to use either when walking or doing daily chores since 2,000 steps on a pedometer measures approximately one mile.

For the 24 calories in a 1 ounce Hershey's Kiss, you'll need to add 500 steps to your day's total. More for larger or different choices.

Remember, in order to lose one pound of body fat per week you need to create a daily caloric deficit of 500 calories. That means along with 250 fewer calories ingested you will need to add 250 calories worth of additional activity - be it 5,000 extra steps - or doing one of many different activities.

Attached is a link to a table where the minutes required to burn 250 calories are listed based on activity and body weight. Any additional time spent will further aid your goals and add more pleasure to your day. Enjoy.

Written by Dr. Sternlicht for on 4.13.06