Weight Loss

How to Calculate Your Energy Balance to Lose Weight

It is important to understand the energy balance when you are trying to lose weight. Most people don’t think of their weight loss journey as a math problem. It is, in many ways. To lose weight, you must first calculate your energy balance equation and then adjust the numbers to achieve weight reduction. If you can get your numbers to tilt in the right direction, you’ll lose weight more effectively.

Energy Balance Equation

Energy balance simply means the relationship between your input and output energy. This is how the energy equation looks:

Energy Input (calories in) – Energy Output (calories out) = Energy Balance

It doesn’t appear very difficult. However, you might not have the math skills to calculate the numbers. You need to gather important information in order to calculate your energy balance.

Calculate Energy Balance

You will need to collect data about your energy input and output to understand how to manage your energy balance.

Energy Input

When we eat, energy is added to our bodies. Calories are the calories we consume from the food we eat. Calories can be described as a unit of heat or energy. Different foods and drinks provide different amounts of energy. Carbohydrates and protein each have 4 calories per gram while fat has 9 calories per grams.

How can you determine your energy input number. Count the calories you consume each day. You can either use a simple, downloadable food diary or a popular calorie-counting app. An average woman could consume anywhere from 1,600 to 2,400 calories each day.This is a wide range. Keep track of your calories for at minimum a week to get the most accurate number.

Energy Output

Your body uses energy to produce energy. This is commonly referred to as “burning” calories. Even when you’re sleeping, your body uses energy to perform basic functions like breathing and circulating blood. Your basal metabolism rate (BMR), is the rate at what your body burns calories when you’re not actively using them. BMR accounts for roughly 60% to 75% the total calories you consume each day.

You also burn energy doing daily chores like shopping or washing dishes. These activities account for 15% to 30% of your daily calorie burn.Thermic effects of food can help you burn the last 5% to 10% calories, depending on how much you eat.

There are many ways to calculate how many calories you have burned each day. A calorie calculator is one of the easiest ways to calculate your daily calories.

Energy Balance and Weight

You will need to determine if your energy balance is positive or negative in order to determine how it affects your weight. Take your numbers and enter them into the equation at top of the article. Next, determine if you have either a negative or positive energy balance.

You will maintain your current weight if your energy intake and output are equal. A stable weight is achieved when your energy balance is perfect. To change your body weight, you will need to tip the scales in order to make them not balance.

Positive Energy Balance

Positive energy balance is when your energy input exceeds your energy output. You eat more calories than you use. Excess energy or calories are stored as fat in the body. This can lead to weight gain.

Energy Input > Energy Output = Weight Gain

Negative Energy Balance

When you have a negative energy balance, weight loss is possible. You eat more calories than what you burn. This imbalance causes your body to burn stored energy (fat), which can cause weight loss.Negative energy balance is also known as a calorie deficit.

Energy Input < Energy Output = Weight Loss

It is important to get as accurate a reading as possible when evaluating your energy balance. Even small variations in energy input or output can make a huge difference in your weight.

Example of Energy Balance Equation

Are you ready for your energy balance calculation? Here are two examples to help you get started.

Example #1: Megan

  • Calories consumed daily: 2,000
  • Calories burned per day: 1,750
  • 2,000 (energy input) – 1,750 (energy output) = 250 calories

Megan consumes 250 calories per day of positive energy. It doesn’t seem like much. It’s not much, but she could gain about a half-pound of weight over the course of a week if she consumed 1,750 calories.

Example 2: Cameron

  • Calories consumed daily: 1,800
  • Calories burned each morning: 2,050
  • 1,800 (energy input) – 2,050 (energy output) = -250 calories

Cameron has a 250 calorie negative energy balance. Cameron’s body will need 1,750 calories to burn stored fat over the course of a week. She could lose approximately one-half pound.

If weight loss is so easy, why is it so difficult? There are many factors that can affect both your energy output and energy input. Every day, your energy balance equation is affected by factors like your health, age, mood, and medical condition.Weight loss is easy. However, finding the right balance takes some effort.

The energy balance equation is a great place for you to start if you’re just starting your weight loss journey or if your current diet and exercise plan are not working. You don’t have to spend a lot of money or buy fancy tools to lose weight.

You can make changes on your own. Consider the factors that impact your caloric intake, and output. Some factors are easily controlled (like activity level), while others are not as easy to control (like age and sex). Change what you can to shift the balance of your energy equation and achieve your weight loss goals.

Source: Very Well Fit

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