Weight loss: How walking contributes to burning calories
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Weight loss is simple maths – you need to avoid eating more calories than you’re burning. Every food item has calories in it, you just need to pick the lowest calorie items to lose weight. Express.co.uk chatted to Signe Svanfeldt, a food scientist at Lifesum (www.lifesum.com), the world’s leading global nutrition app to find out whether or not you can lose weight without counting calories.
One calorie is the amount of energy needed to raise one gram of water by one degree Celsius.
It’s more commonly known for the energy that exists in the food we eat, and the energy our body consumes.
Cutting down on how many calories you eat will naturally help you to lose weight… but can you lose weight without tracking your calories?
Can you lose weight without counting calories?
Counting calories is not essential for weight loss – you can still lose weight without counting calories.
Signe said: “By making small adjustments in your diet, you can reduce the number of calories without having to count them.”
For example, the following swaps will help you cut down your calorie intake:
- including more vegetables in your meals
- switching to whole grain options
- swapping soft drinks for water
- eating less saturated fat including butter and cream
- eating less nutrient-poor, energy-dense foods rich in sugar, such as sweets, biscuits and ice cream
Having a balanced and varied diet rich in vegetables, fruits, lean protein, whole grains and healthy fats isn’t just helpful for weight loss, it is key for your overall well being.
Signe said: “If you want to lose weight without tracking calories, a good tip is to include more vegetables and whole grains in your diet.
“Vegetables are rich in nutrients and low in energy which means you can eat a large amount without getting a lot of calories.
“Whole grains are rich in dietary fibre which makes you feel fuller for longer – plus it’s beneficial for your digestion.”
Weight loss is quite simple when you think about it, you just need to burn more calories than you eat.
You don’t need to exercise to burn calories, your body burns calories to do basic day-to-day activities and functions.
Signe explained: “Your body constantly needs energy for basic bodily functions such as breathing – and for the heart, brain, lungs and tissues.
“The amount of energy needed to do these basic functions is called Basic Metabolic Rate (BMR), and the amount is depending on variables, including sex, age, weight and height.
“In addition to the BMR, you also burn energy doing your daily tasks such as working, walking and exercising. All of these burn energy too.
“If you eat as much energy as your body burns, you will maintain weight. If you eat more energy than your body burns for a period of time, you will gain weight – and, likewise, if you eat less energy than your body burns, you will lose weight.”
In order to know how much energy you need to eat to lose weight, you need to know how much energy your body needs daily.
Signe said: “You can calculate this yourself, but it can be a bit tricky – a great tip is to use Lifesum as it will calculate this for you.
“It is recommended to have a stable and healthy weight loss pace, at around 500 calories deficiency.
“So, if you need 2500 calories to maintain weight, a suitable weight loss would be around 2000 calories per day.”
If counting calories sounds like too much hassle, you can use a smart tracking tool like Lifesum, which allows you to save your favourite foods, meals and recipes in the app to make it easier.
Signe noted: “A useful function within Lifesum is the barcode scanner, which allows you to easily scan the food you eat.”
The expert also advises those hoping to lose weight to eat more mindfully and listen to your body.
She said: “Our bodies are wonderful creations, and they give us signals when we need to eat, and when we are full – and should stop eating.
“In order to increase awareness of these cues, we need to pay attention to our bodies and be more mindful when eating.
“Some tips on eating mindfully are to eat slowly, chew your food properly, don’t eat in front of screens, and make sure to always sit down while eating.”
If you feel triggered by counting calories, you should not do so.
Signe said: “If you feel like you have a complicated relationship with food, you should contact your GP for further assistance.”
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