You only get out what you put in

You only get out what you put in

Energy In vs Energy Out
by: Chyna Dolores

You only get out what you put in

That''s the catch phrase of a breakfast cereals we have in Australia called Nutri-Grain, I saw the ad last week and it got me to thinking about the importance of understanding the basic workings of our bodies.

The heavier you are the more energy it takes to perform a task. If you are 120kgs and are eating the energy requirements for a 80-90kg person it''s probable that your body will break down lean muscle tissue as well as fat to make up the deficit energy requirements. May sound good in the short term (as you will lose weight fast to begin with) but in the long run you will probably gain more than what you started with, and this regained weight will be fat, making you ''fatter'' than when you started.

So how do you know what your energy intake should be? The safest bet would be to visit your local GP or Nutritionist, they can give you all the information in regards to calorie intake. You could even join a weight loss group like Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers and follow their guidelines, taken from the World Health Organisation.

A basic rundown of your energy needs is as follows, please note this is only a rough guide you should consult your doctor or nutritionist before embarking on any weight loss program.

50-60kg = 5000kJ [1200cal]
60-70kg = 6000kJ [1400cal]
70-80kg = 6500kJ [1500cal]
80-90kg = 7000kJ [160cal0]
90-100kg = 7500kJ [1800cal]
100-110kg = 8000kJ [1900cal]
110-120kg = 8500kJ [2000cal]
Over 130kg = 9000kJ [2100cal]

Portions and Servings

We''ve all heard that we should eat 5-6 serves of bread/cereals/pasta; 5-7 serves of fruit and vegies; etc, etc. You learn this in school – it’s the Healthy Food Pyramid.

In today''s society of super-sized meals we''ve actually lost sight of what an actual serving is. We fill large plates and bowls because we are so used to large servings. It''s no wonder there is such a high obesity level in the world - we over eat all the time. If you were to put a proper serving onto a plate you''d be surprised at how ''little'' it is.

Being used to larger servings of meals can make it hard to judge a serving for a meal. Don''t fret! There are a few tricks you can use to trick your body into thinking it''s eating those same ''big'' serves you''re used to.

* Measure or weigh out serving sizes, this will ensure you are getting the right serve. You do not have to use the serving size suggested, if you want a slightly larger or smaller portion adjust it accordingly – just be aware of what you are consuming and don’t overdo it.

For example, instead of a 250ml glass of juice with your breakfast have a 150ml glass. If you are on a higher energy intake, instead of the suggested 2 slices [25g] of meat for your sandwich add an extra slice to boost your intake.

* Use the same sized plate/bowl. By this I mean if you have cereal most mornings have it in the same sized bowl every morning. Once you have been measuring your cereal for a few weeks you will see how much "belongs" in the bowl. However, don''t be fooled into thinking you no longer need to measure out your serve as it''s easy to over judge while you’re pouring – by all means, start measuring on your own, just remember to check what you are doing occasionally.

* Use smaller plates. We are used to eating on large plates that generally tend to hold larger than normal servings. When you put smaller servings of meals on a large plate you can [subconsciously or not] feel like you are denying yourself, which could lead to binging or even a subconscious sabotage of your good effort. By using a smaller plate it''s harder to ''overload'' your plate, and you can trick your body into thinking it''s not being denied. When you put the right serve on a smaller plate it makes the plate look ''fuller'', and more like we are used to.

For example try eating your ice-cream from a rice bowl. A regular serve of ice-cream is about 50g; in a normal size bowl it looks rather small and pitiful. Now put the 50g serve of ice-cream in a small rice bowl and the bowl not only looks full but you don’t feel like you are depriving yourself of the treat. Also, in the case of desserts like ice-cream, try eating it with a teaspoon – it will take you a little longer to eat so you enjoy it more.

* Try eating your meals with different cutlery. In the above example of the ice-cream, instead of eating with a normal dessert spoon try using a teaspoon. It will take you a little longer to eat so you will enjoy it more. Try eating your main meal with chopsticks [ie a stir-fry or rice dish] it takes a little to get used to and you will eat slowly but you will savour and enjoy what you are eating more then the traditional means.

* Use smaller glasses. This works the same as the above point. Most glasses are larger then most drink serving sizes. Go and measure how much water a glass holds and take a look at the amount of juice you should have per serve - you''ll be surprised at the difference. Again when you pour out an actual serving you may feel ripped off as the glass is ‘half full’. By using smaller glasses you can trick yourself into thinking u aren''t being ripped off because the glass is full, not half empty.

What is a portion?

As I said before, we tend to ''oversize'' our portions. So what exactly is a portion? Some basic portion sizes are as follows [all are in metric cups] And don’t forget, if you are counting calories you will need to consult your calorie guide and/or the label on the packet.

Bread & Cereal:
1/2 cup of dried or 1 cup of cooked pasta/noodles
1/2 cup cooked rice or 1/4 cup of dry rice
1 thick slice of bread or 1/2 a bagel or large roll
1/2cup of cooked beans/lentils
1 cup of flake type bekkie cereal
1/2 cup oats or muesli

Poultry/pork [cooked] 75g [the size of a deck of cards]
Red meat 75g [deck of cards]
Fish fillet 1 med piece, 100g
Mince meat 1/2 cup
Nuts a small handful
Eggs 1 medium [55g]

Fruit & Veg:
1 large potato [about the size of your fist, 30g]
Apple/orange/pear - 1 medium size
Kiwi fruit, strawberries - 2
Dried fruit 4-6 pieces
Oven chips [cooked] 100g

Cheese 30g
Milk 250ml
Low fat yogurt 200g

Read the Label

Always read the labels for the ''suggested serving size'' and ''serves per pack/bottle/etc''. And try and stick to one serve. Bottled drinks are notorious for having more then the recommended serve. Be careful especially when having soft drinks, such as Coke or Pepsi, most people have a 600ml bottle... a serve of coke is actually a 250ml.

For example the bottle of Mineral Water that I have actually has 1.5 serves per bottle. Its serving size is 200ml, I have 150ml served in a flute glass with my main meal so the bottle gives me ''two'' drinks. It makes a nice compliment to my meal. Cutting serves like that is ok. It can create havoc when you are counting calories though but the Nutritional Info should have a energy per serve and energy per 100ml [or grams, etc]

The most important thing to remember to keep an eye on what you are doing - keep a food diary and keep track. Food diaries are very helpful to us, and are not just for calorie counters. Now before you say "But thin Sally doesn''t use one, why should I?" -- ''Thin Sally'' obviously doesn''t have a food problem. Thin Sally probably already eats healthy and in moderation & is probably physically active to boot. Those wanting to lose weight on the other hand DO have a problem and need to work on it. You may not be aware of what you are putting in your mouth.... that popcorn & soda at the movies... the couple of mouthfuls of cheese at the grocery shop stand. You need to put in everything and work from there.

If you aren''t counting calories or on some specific diet, like Akins/South Beach, or following what a die titian or doctor has given you, then you will need to basically follow the Food Pyramid. If you would like to try something different have a go at following the Asian Food Pyramid, it works on Daily, Weekly & Monthly foods. Both Pyramids work on "Everything in Moderation", and THAT is the key to healthy eating.

Remember: You only get out what you put in. You are eating to fuel your body, not eating for the sake of eating.

Energy Expenditure

So you''ve eaten well each day - that''s a great start to weight loss. However, you need to do more in order to shift those excess kilograms, to do this you are going to have to ''burn off'' the extra energy [this means fat]. Exercise in not your only weapon here - incidental exercise & normal household chores can also play a part.

It is important to mention that while you are training [exercising] there are three major things to remember:

1. See your doctor before you start any training [exercise] program. High impact aerobics are great but you need to work up to them - going hard at it straight up could cause injury. Also it could be hazardous to you if you have a heart [or other medical] problem. Your doctor will be able to help set you in the right direction.

2. Don''t train [exercise] yourself to [or beyond] physical exhaustion. Training until you are physically sick and continuing is alright if you are in Special Forces but it is NOT good for us mere mortals. Listen to your body, take breaks if and when you need them and keep some water nearby. If you find yourself unable to keep up with an aerobics class stop and march on the spot. If you are weight training try lighter weights. You are trying to get healthy - not punish yourself.

3. The whole energy in/energy out deal does not work on a daily scale it averages out over a period of a time [ie a week]. So don''t fret too much if you go "off the rails" one day food-wise [ie eat more calories then you should have or overindulged on a piece of cake] or miss an exercise session during the week. The important thing is to get back on track and not continue on the eating binge, etc. You maybe surprised at the end of the week to see that you lost weight despite the hiccup. With that said, let’s see what energy is burnt in various activities.

10,000 Steps Program

The 10,000 steps a day program works on incidental activity as well as actually getting out for a daily walk. The average person will burn approximately 1255-1880kJ walking 10,000 steps. This isn''t power walking, just everyday steps. So naturally if you walk faster you will burn more energy. Also, people who are overweight will burn more energy then those who are at a healthy weight.

kJ[cal] burnt in 10mins

Here''s a list of activities with their approximate kJ[cal] expenditure. These values are based on the number of kJ[cal] burnt after 10 minutes of continuous activity by someone who weighs 65kg. If you weigh more than this you will burn more kJs. Everyone’s metabolism is different but the general rule of thumb is the more energy you put into an activity, the more energy you will burn.

Activity kJ[cal]

Aerobics, low impact 230[55]
Aerobics, high impact 270[65]
Aqua aerobics 250[60]
Badminton 270[65]
Circuit training 355[85]
Cleaning the house 165[40]
Cleaning windows 165[40]
Cooking 125[30]
Cycling @ 9km per hr 125[30]
Cycling @ 15km per hr 230[55]
Dancing, ballroom 145[35]
Dancing, disco 270[65]
Driving a car 85[20]
Eating 60[15]
Gardening, digging 335[80]
Gardening, mowing 315[75]
Gardening, weeding 145[35]
Golf 230[55]
Ice skating, average pace 210[50]
Ironing 85[20]
Jogging slowly 335[80]
Mopping the floor 165[40]
Netball, average speed 290[70]
Pilates 125[30]
Running @ 10min per km 630[150]
Running @ 12mins per km 525[125]
Running @ 15mins per km 375[90]
Shopping 165[40]
Sitting 60[15]
Skiing 270[65]
Skipping 460[110]
Squash 585[140]
Stair climbing 460[110]
Sweeping 125[30]
Swimming, slow 355[85]
Swimming, fast 420[100]
Tennis 290[70]
Typing 85[20]
Vacuum cleaning 190[45]
Walking, slow 165[40]
Walking, briskly 250[60]
Walking uphill, slow 210[50]
Weight training, free weights 230[55]
Yoga 125[30]

It is recommended that you aim for 30mins of exercise a day. If this seems like too much to start with, break it up. Do three 10min sessions a day and build it up from there. It does not matter how you start out – the important thing to remember is that you are doing something.

About The Author

Chyna Dolores is an author on http://www.Writing.Com/ which is a site for Writers. You can view her personal work at