We avoid high-calorie foods, try to eat a lot of calories, or count them tightly.... but do we really know what calories are?
A calorie is a unit of energy for measuring the amount of heat energy that emitted by a food fire. Our body needs energy all the time (even when we sleep) and it generates energy by converting the calories found in our food to energy. There are foods that breaks down fast and they contain high number of calories (like the simple carbohydrates) and there foods that also contain high number of calories but breaks down slower - like fat and proteins. (read about: How Much Protein Should You Eat in a day? ).
The general idea, which everyone knows, is that if we eat foods that contain more calories than the amount our body needs for its daily activities - we will lose weight and that if we eat foods that contain fewer calories than our bodies need for its daily activities - we are skinny. Well, what everyone forgot to tell us is that if we want to gain or lose weight in a healthy way, we will not only count the calories we eat, but also make sure that they come from the right food sources in proper distribution according to our purpose.
For example, if we eat 500 calories of meat or if we eat 500 calories of rice our body will react differently. To convert the rice to energy our body will exert less effort and those calories will be available for a certain period of time, but to convert the meat into available energy our body will need to Invest more effort for more time.
The source of calories also differs between meat and rice, the calories in rice come mainly from carbohydrates and the calories in meat come mainly from proteins and fats. Our body needs all three (protein carbohydrates and fats) in relation to an average of 25% fats, 25% proteins and 50% carbohydrates.
Our bodies need energy throughout the day, according to our daily activities. A person whose main activity is during the morning and noon should consume most of his or her calories at breakfast and noon and it is recommended that they come mainly (but not only) from carbohydrates, so that they are available relatively quickly.
It is important to know that in order to calculate the amount of calories our body burns per day, our body structure (height, weight, muscle mass and fat mass) needs to be taken into account our age (metabolism slows down with age and needs at least calories for its activity) plus the calories we burn in daily or physical activity (if you do so).
If you plan to start counting calories in order to lose weight enter a calorie deficit of up to 20% and not beyond, the same goes for weight gain - add up to 20%.
Personal tips: 1. There are many apps that help manage daily calorie counts, and divide them into fat, protein and carbohydrate calories. 2. Once a week, leave a place on the menu for something you like to eat. 3. Increase your daily activities gradually.