Jul 27, 2016
Trying to maintain a certain size or physique throughout the years can be very challenging for some. As we live each day, there are a large variety of factors that are effecting our size and weight including hormones, stress, and even our sleep habits. For those who are able to ‘maintain’ their weight with little trouble, this is typically because they are either ‘build’ that way or they simply pay a little more attention to their calorie intake to some degree.
Whether you love them or hate them, calories can be an unavoidable part of the equation. They influence your weight, health, and even how your clothes will fit you from year to year. Though it is important to note that a small amount of weight fluctuation is completely normal, bouncing back and forth from two extremes can be dangerous for your health.
That is why it is key to focus on obtaining a healthy weight rather than an ‘ideal’ weight. In fact, you should probably toss the idea of an ‘ideal’ weight out the window if possible. While many of us see the scale as a measurement of our health, it is crucial to note that body weight is the result of several different factors including your muscle mass, breast size, water retention, hormones, digestion, and genetics.
So What Is Caloric Balance?
Caloric balance refers to the amount of food or calories you should take in to balance the amount of calories that are expended through energy each day.
The calories on the ‘out’ side of the equation have to do with your caloric expenditure or energy output. This will differ greatly for each person and is not only based on how physically active you are, but also by:
- Your age
- What stage of your menstrual cycle you are in
- Your muscle mass
- Your basal metabolic rate
- The amount or type of bacteria living in your gut
This means that regardless of how much energy you may think you need, you could still be way off the mark with this one. This is why you may end up frustrated when your weight doesn’t seem to lower or to be ‘maintained’ despite your careful counting.
That aside, counting calories isn’t easy either. Even with using a simple calorie tracking program, you may be greatly overestimating or underestimating what exactly your body is getting.
Counting alone is not enough and it is important not to obsess over the numbers. Instead, begin your journey by seeking to better understand your eating patterns. Do you find that you eat more when stressed? Do you skip out on breakfast more than you should?
While the counting can be a great way to maintain a healthy weight, you do not need to track them obsessively or even precisely to do so. Instead use it as a way to help yourself listen more to your body and its needs.