A food calorie is a unit of energy that you take on when consuming most food and drink. While for most people, we won't be counting each calorie, we can adjust your portions to manipulate how much energy you consume through food and expend through exercise.
We do this in accordance with the Law of Energy Balance.
In other words, and simply put:
- If you consume more calories than you burn off, you put on weight.
- If you burn off more calories than you consume, you lose your weight.
- If you roughly level your consumption and expenditure of calories, you stay the same weight.
This means that, typically speaking, you could burn off 400 calories in a workout and balance it out by eating 400 calories worth of ANY food source.
Obviously, the better the sources of food, the more additional nutritional benefit you will gain.
Its worth mentioning that some foods are more dense in calories than others (these tend to be, processed foods, but not always). For example, 100 calories worth of chocolate has much less volume than 100 calories worth of broccoli. This means that it will do less to throw off hunger.
Some sources of calories provide little to no nutritional benefit, these are known as 'empty calories' and are often seen in alcoholic beverages. Though they can provide mental and social benefits, they can slow down your results. That means reducing (not eliminating entirely) these calorie sources would be a positive step for a fat loss goal.
The majority of our clients monitor their intake through portion control. We look at increasing/decreasing portions as a means to achieving the desired effect. These portions are in relation to the size of your hands/palms etc, and are easy to assess by eye. This is ideal for those that have a hard time working with numbers and data tracking.
Other clients prefer a more accurate, detailed approach. This requires you to weigh, count and log your food as we will provide you with specific calorie and macronutrient requirements. This takes a bit more time and effort and requires a habit unto itself.
Both methods are equally effective, provided that the person following them is suited to that method. There is no better or worse - it depends on the client.
If you are very strict and disciplined, then you may prefer to work with specific numbers. However, if you cant imagine yourself realistically logging and weighing food, you are far better off working with portions. If in doubt, portion control is often ideal.