Calorie Counting 101

Once people have lost the desired weight with a medical weight loss program and once they have re-incorporated healthy carbohydrates, initiated a cheat day and begun the process of lifelong lean healthy bodies, the focus should turn not just to carbs but also to calories.

Calories are a unit of heat that is generated when a substance is used for energy. A gram of carbohydrates contains about 4 calories, a gram of protein also contains 4 calories and a gram of fat contains 9 calories. This means that when a person is using fat as their primary source of energy, they will get “more bang for their buck.” However, once we restore the carbohydrates in the diet and the body is no longer using fat as a sole energy source, the number of calories eaten must be taken into consideration.

Obtaining an accurate calorie burn count is important.  This is the total number of calories that you burn during your waking hours. There are guides and estimates for how to calculate this, but I have not found them to be very accurate. The best way to determine the number of calories burned in a day is to utilize a heart rate monitor that measures calories burned. The monitor should be worn from the moment one wakes to the moment you go to bed.  Depending on the brand, the calories will be counted when the monitor is in “exercise mode.” Once the day is done, press “stop exercising” and the menu will give a number of calories burned.  Write this number down and repeat the process for at least 14 days. At the end of the 14 days, add up all of the numbers and divide by 14.  This will give an accurate count of the average calories burned in one day.

Once this number is known, it becomes relatively easy to prevent further weight gain.  The physiology of this is quite simple; never exceed the number of calories burned by the number of calories consumed and weight gain will be a near-impossibility.  If the number of calories consumed exceeds the number burned, then the excess calories will be stored, usually in the form of fat.

Taking this simple formula into account and following the Phase 4 food combining principles will ensure that your body stays at your goal weight.  We recommend this for our Phase 4 dieters and not for the fat loss portion of the program as there are other factors that must be taken into account when one is trying to actually lose more fat.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about how medical weight loss program can help you lose fat, get fit and achieve the body goals you may have, contact us today!

Dr. Jason W. Haas

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