Calorie Balance For Weight Loss, Weight Gain, and Weight Maintenance
Providing one’s body with proper nutrients is essential to promote good health and achieve maximum performance during workouts. We all have goals that we set for ourselves surrounding our own health and wellness. For some, the goal is to gain lean muscle mass. For others, the goal is to lose excess pounds of unwanted body fat. Despite the differing goals, maintaining weight, losing weight , and gaining weight can be difficult. That’s where calorie balance comes in.
We could all benefit from gaining a better understanding of how the energy we expend relates to how we fuel our bodies on a daily basis. This can be summarized in what is known as calorie balance, a concept that shows us how the foods and beverages we consume provide the energy we need while at rest and while active. Calorie balance¹ occurs when the energy we take in, via the foods we consume and the liquids we drink, equals the energy we expend on a daily basis.
In simple terms:
Calorie Balance: Calories In = Calories Out
So often, the “calories in“ side of the equation is overlooked as individuals focus on their ability to manipulate the “calories out.” It is essential that people consider both elements while trying to reach their fitness and nutrition goals. Unfortunately, with the amount of fad diets promoted in the media today, it can be difficult for individuals to understand how to properly fuel their bodies for maximum performance. As a result, people often place their bodies in a calorie deficit but fail to maintain their weight-loss results. The process is a dangerous cycle that can be both mentally and physically draining. We may all be humans, but we are not machines! Each of us requires a unique set of nutrients to meet our body’s needs. For this reason, it is important to understand the concepts of individuality and specificity when it comes to planning out the nutrients one would require in order to lead a healthy lifestyle and achieve fitness goals.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans¹ stresses the importance of understanding individuality when it comes to developing healthy eating patterns that can be maintained over time. Also, individualized plans allow us to have a certain degree of control over the foods we are consuming rather than simply tossing aside personal preferences, and cultural and traditional norms in order to create balanced meals. Individuals who want to lose weight hope to achieve a negative calorie balance in which they are expending more energy than they are taking in. Placing one’s body in an intense calorie deficit is certainly not the solution.
Individuals should follow the overarching themes of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans¹, published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services² and the U.S. Department of Agriculture³, in order to maximize their results:
1. Maintaining adequate calorie balance over time
Let’s face it, some days we just aren’t going to meet the recommended intakes for the various food groups. Also, we are likely to fall victim to the temptations of the sweets and treats available throughout society today. Maybe you’re forced to rely on on-the-go options as you’re juggling bringing your kids to school and getting to work on time. However, the important thing is that we create balanced meals and eating patterns that can be maintained over time when faced with all of the events life throws our way.
The United States Department of Agriculture4 recommends that we all limit our consumption of saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium. Thus, when it comes to making meal choices that will allow you to maintain calorie balance, choose less-processed foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables. Also, when looking for a sweet treat during these summer months, try low-fat or fat-free dairy options such as Greek yogurt with fresh fruit. Feel free to splurge every now and then, just don’t forget to include those fruits, veggies, and whole grains as a part of your regular eating patterns!
2. Consuming nutrient dense foods
Nutrient-dense foods are those that are high in nutrient concentration relative to their caloric content. Rather than relying on an excessive calorie deficit, weight loss should come via the consumption of nutrient-dense foods, such as those containing high levels of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and lean protein.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans¹, this includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and poultry, along with low-fat and fat-free dairy options, unsalted nuts and seeds. By incorporating these foods into your diet, you can create a sustainable weight loss, weight gain, or weight maintenance plan that will allow you to reach your ideal body weight! It all comes down to understanding calorie balance and how this contributes to one’s individual body weight.
Whether we’re hoping to gain, maintain, or lose weight, we must all fuel our bodies properly! Nuzest Clean Lean Protein supplies your body with more than 20 grams of necessary protein to fuel your day. Or, check out our complete line of products, including multivitamin drinks and bars.