Definition: A calorie is a unit of measurement to measure energy - like a pound measures weight, an inch measures distance, or a watt measures electricity. This energy can be measured in the body in two ways:
Calories consumed - Calories consumed are the potential energy a given food can give your body. Just like we measure how much energy gas can give your car, we can measure how much energy food can provide your body.
Calories burned - Burned calories are your body actually using the energy provided. You burn calories in 3 ways:
Normal bodily functions (RMR) - for most non-athletes, the main use of calories is providing energy to your organs for your body to run healthy. In order for your heart to pump, brain to think, and lungs to breathe, they need energy (calories) in order to do so. If you calculated all of the energy related to these bodily functions, you would get your RMR - or resting metabolism (which you will see in the app).
Physical activity - Walking, standing, running, or playing your sport requires energy too! In this case, your muscles require energy in order to contract and for you to move.
Food digestion - You also need energy to digest your food! The process of digestion is taxing on your body, and anywhere from 5-30% of your foods go to actually breaking them down.
But how do I measure them? For measured calories in food, here’s what the formula is:
1 g Protein = 4 calories
1 g Carbs = 4 calories
1 g Fat = 9 calories
1 g Alcohol = 7 calories
How about calories burned? Well, there’s no simple formula, but the best indicator of how many calories you are burning is your heart rate. The higher the heart rate, the more your body is working, and the more calories you are burning.
How to leverage your calories using the CA APP - Nutrition:
Some of you may think calories are a bad thing, and they can be, if you eat too many or too few. We want you to eat just the right amount! Which is why a component of your nutrition score is being within a certain range of how many calories you should be eating.
If you are unsure around how many calories you should be eating, pop over to the nutrition coach, where we give you estimates to how many calories you should be eating in total and per meal in order to gain, lose, or maintain weight.
How to leverage your calories using the CA APP - Weight:
Believe it or not, we can actually measure how many calories is in one pound of fat, and it’s around 3,600. This means that if you eat 3,600 more calories than you burn, you will gain one pound of fat (and vice versa). We make tracking this easy on the app, by loading you your calories burned (RMR + Calories burned) and your calories consumed for you, and showing you where you lie on the day, and how that behavior would leave you for the next three weeks. DISCLAIMER: Don’t be afraid if your calories are way high or way low on a certain day…your body has a pretty natural way of evening itself out.
Hopefully this quick article helped you learn a thing or two about calories, and the rest of your calorie mastery can come from using the app!