The best way to determine if you are eating the right amount of calories for your energy needs is to track your weight. You should weigh yourself once a week at the same time of day with the same amount of clothing (i.e., no shoes, coats, sweaters, or other heavy clothing). Keep track of your weight on a chart for a few weeks to look for a pattern of weight loss, gain, or maintenance.
If you are taking in the number of calories that your body is using every day, then you will maintain your current weight. Since the calorie recommendations on http://www.choosemyplate.gov are an estimate based on your personal information, you may need to slightly increase or decrease your calorie intake to stay at the same weight.
If you want to lose weight, you need to eat less calories than you use every day. An effective way to lose weight is to combine a lower calorie meal plan with increased physical activity. If you eat 200-300 calories less per day than the number of calories you need, you should lose about ½ pound per week. Limit your portion sizes and try to avoid high sugar, high fat foods and beverages. By increasing physical activity, you will use more calories. If you use an additional 200-300 calories per day, you should lose about ½ pound per week. By combining a lower calorie intake and higher level of physical activity, you may lose 1 pound or more per week. Physical activities (both daily activities and exercise) help tip the balance scale by increasing the calories you expend each day.
Recommended Physical Activity Levels:
- 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobicactivity (i.e., brisk walking) every week and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back,abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).
- Increasing the intensity or the amount of time that you are physically active can have even greater health benefits and will help to control body weight.
- Encourage children and teenagers to be physically active for at least 60 minutes each day, or almost every day.
- Each person’s body is unique and will have different caloric needs. A healthy lifestyle requires balance, in the foods you eat, the beverages you consume, the way you carry out your daily activities, and the amount of physical activity you engage in on a weekely basis.
- If you want to gain weight, you need to eat more calories than you use every day. To boost your caloric intake, consume somewhat larger portions of healthy foods and beverages from the five
There are some really great tools available to help individuals keep track of their calorie intake and physical activities. Here are two for you to try:
- HFA’s Get in Gear free mobile fitness app. This app helps individuals track their activities, time and distance all while listening to your own music library. It records and logs activites and rewards users with achievement awards. It is available on both Apple (Ipod/Ipad) and Android powered devices. The added benefit of this application is that user not only help themselves they raise money and awareness for individuals with a bleeding disorder simply by having and using it. Get more info at: http://getingearapp.com/
- The SuperTracker can help you plan, analyze, and track your diet and physical activity. You can look up individual foods to see or compare their nutritional value, find recommendations for what and how much you should eat, compare your food choices to these recommendations and to your nutrient needs, and assess personal physical activities and identify ways to improve. Find recommendations for what and how much you should eat. Get more information at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/supertracker-tools/supertracker.html