Better Living through Balancing Energy Input and Output

Hello Wondrous World!

I finished my first Nutrition Class, and I'm so happy to share that I passed both lecture and lab!  I learned so much and have been trying to collect my thoughts on how to consolidate, so I can pass along the wealth of information to all of you.  

Energy Balance.jpg

Let me start by saying... probably everything you heard from your grandparents and great grandparents, about eating your fruits & veggies, having balanced meals, and finishing what was on your plate, actually holds water...pun intended!  I have always fundamentally believed that balance was a great thing, and that's never been more applicable than it is with food! 

I heeded this advice in order to stay fit, but never realized that improper nutrition could be the cause of chronic disease.  In fact, the # 1 and # 2 leading causes of death in the USA, Heart Disease and Cancer, are often connected to improper nutrition.  

Maybe you like to throw caution to the wind, or just can't enjoy life without your Wonder Bread and a Super-sized Triple Cheeseburger meal, but I have faced the big C head-on already, and that's one box I never want to check again!  That's why I want to share all that I've learned thus far, to lead you down a healthier path towards a happier future!

As part of my nutrition lab, we had to keep a food diary for a week to document what we ate!  Never, did I imagine that I was actually eating too little!  I was consuming 1/2 of the calories I should be...but consuming ALL of the empty calories, which meant my balance was completely out of whack!  I have changed my diet, and am now eating more...and feeling great!  I've added more fish, fruit, veggies, whole grains, and 2% milk, and I've reduced red meat and alcohol consumption, while continuing to eat organic...and I'm making sure there is room left over for ice cream, dark chocolate and wine! 

Here are a few suggestions to help you get on a HEALTHIER track:

1.  Keep a food diary for one week.  Don't change a thing, but write down everything you eat and drink, along with the portions....I am certain it will be enlightening for you as well.  Then look up the calories to see what you consume in a typical week.

2. The estimated Energy Needs for 'Sedentary Females' 51 years +, is 1600 calories, and 2000 calories for Sedentary Males 51 years +.   You can go to this website to determine your Caloric Intake:

3.  Create a weekly food plan for yourself using this guideline:  Try to measure everything for one week...this will also help you to begin recognizing what a 'portion'  looks like.  

4.  Now, whatever you're doing for just a little more!  Try adding 15 more minutes a day, or increase your intensity, or just stand-up instead of sitting for 30 minutes, or take a walk around the block.  

DID YOU KNOW…Eating just 150 calories more a day than your body requires will lead to a weight gain of 5 pounds over 6 months?  This amounts to a gain of 10 pounds in a year.  And over a couple of years…that’s why we end up the way we do!  

150 calories is the equivalent of drinking one extra soda or beer a day.  This doesn't seem like over indulging, but it makes a significant impact!  Therefore, you must know how much energy your body needs / burns, so you know how much to eat!!!

Here is how you calculate the energy you burn:  

  1. First, multiply your age by:
    • 9.53 if you are a man
    • 6.91 if you are a woman
      • For example, I am a 51 yr old female, so mine is 51 * 6.91 = 352.41
  2. Next, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to get weight in kg
    • Mine would be 126 / 2.2 = 57
  3. Then, multiply your weight from step 2 by:
    • 15.91 if you are a man
    • 9.36 if you are a woman
      • Mine would be 57 x 9.36 = 533.52
  4. Now, determine your physical activity level (PA) & multiply by your weight
    • Sedentary = Typical daily living activities only
      • Men 1.0
      • Women 1.0
    • Low active = 30-60 minutes moderate activity daily
      • Men 1.11
      • Women 1.12
    • Active = 60+ minutes moderate activity daily
      • Men 1.25
      • Women 1.27
    • Very Active = 120+ minutes moderate activity daily or 60 vigorous and 60 moderate daily
      • Men 1.48
      • Women 1.45
    • My activity level is 1.27 because it is 60-90 minutes of moderate activity each day.
    • Take the PA number from step 4, and multiply by your answer from step 3
      • Mine would be 1.27 * 533.52 = 677.57
  5. Then, determine your height in meters by dividing your height in inches by 1.7
    • I am 67 inches tall / 39.37 = 1.7
  6. Now multiply your height in meters from step 5 by:
    • 539.6 if you are a man
    • 726 if you are a woman
      • Mine would be 1.7 * 726 = 1234.2
  7. Now, you will plug your numbers from the above calculations into the following formula to calculate your Estimated Energy Requirements (EER):
    • For Men:  EER = 662 - [result from step 1] + [result from step 4] + [result from step 6]
    • For Women:  EER = 354 - [result from step 1] + [result from step 4] + [result from step 6]
    • Mine would be 354 - 352.41 + 677.57 + 1234.2 = 1913.36

The Result is the number of calories you should eat to maintain your body weight!  

In order to maintain your weight, you should consume this number of calories each day.  If you want to lose weight, a safe goal is 1-2 pounds per week.  In order to achieve this, you should make sure that your daily food intake equals 500 to 750 calories less than your energy output (EER calculated above).

If you need help, I am available to consult.  You can leave a comment at the end of the blog, or use the Contact Us function at the bottom of the web page.

Next blog, I will talk about vitamins and minerals, and which foods to eat to get all the nutrients you need.

Until then,



Carol SmithComment