Calories are the body’s fuel source – they provide the energy that your body needs to function. The three main sources of energy for the body come from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Carbohydrates and proteins contain about four calories a gram and fats contain about nine calories per gram. Alcohol is also a source of calories, containing about seven per gram.
No matter where they come from, the calories you consume are either converted to energy or stored within the body as fat. The stored calories remain in the body as fat unless they are used up, either through a reduction of your calorie intake (which forces your body to draw on fat reserves for energy) or through an increase of physical activity so that you burn more calories.
3,500 calories equal about one pound of fat, so you need to burn about that many calories to lose a pound of fat. A few ways that you can reduce your calorie intake include:
- Replace high-calorie, low-nutrition items with low-calorie substitutions
- Cut out high-calorie, low-nutrition items
- Reduce portion sizes
- Start small – at the beginning of a meal, take slightly less than what you think you’ll eat. If you’re still truly hungry, you can always have seconds later.
- Eat from plates, not packages
- Check food labels
- Use a calorie counter
Resources"Weight Loss." Counting Calories: Get Back to Weight-loss Basics. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 June 2014.