In a bid to try and lose weight, many of us will aim to reduce the number of calories we consume while at the same time increasing the number that we burn. We do this through a combination of dieting and exercise and the logic is that at the end of the day we will have created a caloric ‘deficit’ that leads to weight loss.
Unfortunately though, what many calorie counters tend to forget is that calories aren’t only a matter of what we eat or how much exercise we do. In every single thing we do, we actually burn calories and likewise every single thing that passes our lips is likely to introduce some new calories to our system. Read on then and we will take a look at some of the calories that are easy to forget when you are on a diet that can end up skewing your final figures.
Calories Coming In
If you’ve spent hours calculating the number of calories that you consume through your food, then you need to make sure that you also think to consider the calories you take in through beverages. One of the biggest contributors to your calories coming in is coffee – especially if you’re someone who likes to grab one from a coffee shop on your way to work.
Getting an Americano, an Espresso or a black coffee won’t actually add many calories at all to your diet. On the other hand though, if you’re getting something creamy with chocolate sprinkles like a Cappuccino or a Latte then you’ve probably consumed more calories than you would have by eating a small chocolate bar. This makes a big difference! If you want to lose more weight, learn to love Americanos…
Calories from alcohol don’t get absorbed in quite the same way as calories from other dietary sources but that’s not to say they don’t have a role to play. And this is particularly important to consider when you bear in mind that drinking a glass of red wine will actually gain you more calories than eating a jam donut…
Soda drinks are one of the worst calories for taking in sugar and calories. Did you know that there’s as much sugar in a glass of Coca-Cola as there are in two Cadbury’s Cream Eggs? And while diet options might be lower in calories, they’re not exactly healthy and may induce cravings.
Fruits are good for you, right? They’re healthy and you should eat them when you’re on a diet… right? Sadly that’s not 100% true. While fruits are healthy in terms of their vitamin and mineral content, that doesn’t mean that they don’t contain calories – in fact they contain a lot of calories so they’re best avoided.
Spices and Flavorings
While they won’t contribute a huge amount, some spices and herbs can still add a little to your caloric intake. More concerning is the amount of calories you can get from the oil you use. While there are healthy options like coconut oil, that doesn’t mean they’re not high in calories and they also need to be calculated.
The good news is that you’ll also be burning a bunch of calories that you probably didn’t calculate. In fact you will be doing this all the time. Even your emotions can burn calories: if you are scared, for instance, then your heartrate will increase and you’ll actually burn more calories than when you’re relaxed. You also burn more calories when you’re cold by shivering and you burn more calories when you’re highly focused and using your brain a lot – even if you’re not moving!
Then there are the extra calories we burn at different points during our sleep, the calories we burn climbing the stairs and even the calories we use in order to digest different foods (the ‘thermic effect’). The calories we burn just in order to beat our heart and blink also vary from day to day. While we will often use a ‘basal metabolic rate’ calculation to work out how many calories we burn when ‘inactive’ normally, this doesn’t take into account changes in our metabolism, fluctuations in weight, the fact that some forms of exercise cause us to continue burning calories long after a workout or many other factors.
Ultimately, it is impossible to create an accurate estimate of your number of calories burned which is why it’s really more effective to simply try cutting back on your diet and monitoring your progress to see what’s effective. If you are going to try and keep tabs on calories though, just ensure that you aren’t forgetting these points and at least make an effort to try account for them.