Calories: 3 Sneaky Ways They Cause Weight Gain

A calorie is a unit of energy that is burned to raise the temperature of water by one degree Celsius. Or in words we actually understand: A calorie is a way to measure the amount of energy you’ll receive in the food and drinks you consume. Calories are good for you–well most of them. They get you up in the morning; feed your brain during the day and help you feel comfort at night. However, too much or what type can be a bad thing. Here are just a few of the sneaky ways calories can turn from your energy friend to your weight-gain foe.

1. Too many calories, not enough exercise

Life fact: One pound of fat equals 3,500 calories. With a mix of “sit all day/long hour” jobs and the “I don’t have time–let’s do fast food” behavior, it’s not a surprise that this imbalance exists. However it’s not all gloomy. The first step is to be aware of the amount of calories you are consuming on a daily basis and which foods are leading to excess calorie intake.

Type of Food Calories
Pizza Slice 350
Sandwich 500
Fried Chicken (per piece) 200-500
Medium Fries 400-600
Burger 600-1000

So how do you burn all those extra calories off and avoid the extra weight gain? Here’s a quick look at what it takes based on an hour of exercise and a 180 lb. person:

Type of Exercise Calories/Hour
Walking 3mph 270
Leisure Cycling <10mph 327
Yoga/Stretching 327
Running 6mph 817
Swimming Breaststroke 817

The average meal at most restaurants is over 2000 calories!

2. Liquid Calories (no nutrition, just excess calories)

Life Fact: Consuming 100 extra calories a day above our metabolism –  and not burning them off –  could cause you to gain up to 1 lb. a month. Who doesn’t like a Frappuccino or a milk shake? I would be lying if I said they weren’t delicious. But they don’t really add anything to you body aside from a major sugar rush (Sorry, Steak & Shake). Even though it may just be 1 drink, you would be surprised how much it may be stealing from your allotted calories for the day. And don’t forget about alcohol. Those splurges on Friday nights can quickly become unwanted weight gain. Tip: Craving a milkshake? Opt in for the junior or kids size. You can save upwards of 200 to 600 calories, depending on the flavor. And remember, water is always an option. Not only is it good for your body in more ways than one, it’s free!

Type of Drink Calories
Alcohol (Vodka) 1.5oz shot 94
Powerade 20oz 130
Juice from Concentrate 10oz 140
Soda 12oz 150
Alcohol (Rum & Coke) 14oz 268
Medium Flavored Latte 200-500
Medium Frappes \ Frappucinos 250-600
Ice Cream Shakes 800-1800

3. Late-Night Calories

With House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, and Scandal who could resist a binge fest? However, if you’re like most people, you pair up your couch marathon with a calorie-packed salty or sweet treat.

Popular Late Night Snack Calories
Chips (15-17 crisps) 160
Cake (1 Slice) 230-300
Oreos (3 Cookies) & Milk (8oz) 263
Candy Bar 200-300
Ice Cream (1pt. of Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby) 1360

It’s not realistic to completely cut out your snacks when lounging around; Everyone likes to treat themselves. However, the key is to choose snacks that are better for you (in terms of vitamins, protein, fiber, etc.) and will satisfy your hunger. This will help you avoid binge eating the snacks that aren’t so good for you and cause unwanted weight gain.

Healthy Late Night Snack Calories
Frozen Blueberries & Light Whip Cream 100-125
Popcorn (1 Regular Bag) 150-200
Dark Chocolate (1oz) 155
Peanut Butter(2 tbsp.) & Celery 195
Low Fat Yogurt (1 cup) 100-120

As a final note–keep in mind to listen to your body as you intake calories. Learn your habits, find ways to navigate around them (like eating popcorn instead of cake) to achieve your personal-defined success and enjoying life in your body.

Need more tips on navigating your life to achieve your weight loss goals? Schedule an appointment with our weight loss experts at LiveLight Lifestyle Medicine.

1. Source: HealthDay Consumer http://consumer.healthday.com/vitamins-and-nutritional-information-27/food-and-nutrition-news-316/typical-restaurant-meal-loaded-with-fats-salt-calories-studies-676360.html

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