Energy Balance Creates Life Balance
There is undoubtedly a whole sea of information relating to weight loss, good health, and well-being. Much of the information is correct and factual, but there are also many articles, videos, and books full of misleading ideas. We can’t discount the importance of details, but one factor remains at the center of it all. Don’t believe us? Read on to find out what that is…
Understanding Energy Balance
Take, for example, weight loss. It is among the most convoluted areas in health and fitness, which makes sense. Many people want to lose weight, and many more people want to capitalize on that by appearing like they have the correct answer.
So, countless diets, training programs, and fat-burning supplements exist. But do you know what? Weight loss is quite simple to understand. All you need to do is consume fewer calories than you burn. In doing so, your body has no choice but to start burning lean and fat tissue to get the remaining energy it needs. And thus, you lose weight. This is energy balance in action. In contrast, if you consume more calories than you burn, your body stores the excess energy in the form of muscle and fat, and you gain weight.
Your third option is to consume roughly the same number of calories as you burn, which allows you to maintain your current state.
The Components of Energy Balance
The energy in part of the equation is straightforward: it encompasses the calories you consume through foods and drinks.
The energy out half is a bit more complicated, as several components make it up. Most notably, your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and activity level, which is comprised of your exercise and non-exercise activity thermogenesis (EAT and NEAT, respectively). Your BMR represents the number of calories your body burns to carry out its processes. Meaning, even if you spend the entire day without moving a muscle, your body would still burn a certain number of calories.
Next up, we have EAT, which is the calories you burn from dedicated exercise. And finally, we have NEAT with encompasses all of the calories you burn through movements - brushing your teeth, walking your dog, playing with your kids, and everything else you can think of.
Together, these things, alongside the thermic effect of food (which is a topic for another day), create your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE).
Energy Balance Creates Life Balance
Energy balance is at the core of life, and if you’re looking to be fit and healthy, you need to understand yours.
First, you need to have an idea of the energy out part of the equation: your activity level. You can calculate activity level with many formulas, but a simple online calculator will give you a good starting point. All you have to do is input personal information like your age, gender, height, and weight, and you’ll know where you stand.
Once you know that, you can start tracking your activity to understand where you stand. A simple way is to install a step counter on your phone. Look at your number to see how much you tend to move at the end of each day. Heart rate monitors can also give you valuable insight into your activity level and how many calories you burn per workout.
How often you exercise is another excellent way to gauge your activity level. As discussed above, EAT is a component of your metabolism, so the more frequently you train, the higher it will be. Based on that information, you can get nutrition plan templates with unique caloric goals that fit your needs. For one person, that might be 2,000 calories per day. For another - 2,500-3,000.