It’s a C word that gets spoken about a lot but one that carries a lot of weight with it (excuse the pun). So let’s break it down and you can make a decision for yourself…

What is a calorie?

A calorie is simply a unit of energy—it’s a measurement, just like inches or degrees or kilograms. The food that you eat has energy in the form of calories that are locked up in the protein, fat and carbohydrates.

How many calories should I eat?

The average female needs to eat about 2000 calories per day to maintain her energy and weight. The average male needs to eat around 2500 calories to maintain his energy and weight. The exact number will obviously vary due to multitude of factors that need to be taken into consideration such as output, exercise, illnesses, constitution and career etc.

Do we need to count them?

We can count them, sure, but I actually don’t think it’s necessary. If you are healthy and have no health issues then it’s more important to look at WHAT you’re eating and the QUALITY of the food rather than the calories contained. Obviously if you are underweight or overweigh then calories need to be examined but I don’t think we all need to be hellbent on counting them.

Please note however that all calories are not created equal! We know that whilst two completely different foods can have the same amount of calories but they are quite different in terms of nutritional value and benefits. For example, a handful of nuts (almonds lets say) has around 190 calories. Similarly a handful of jelly sweets also has around 190 calories but they have no nutrients in whatsoever! So whilst I say that calorie counting is not necessary we do need to be aware of the differences from a nutrient stand point.

If you’d like to get a good idea of your daily intake then I recommend using sophisticated apps such as myfitnesspal. Otherwise you can just used your hands to measure or monitor your calories.

Here’s how:

• Your palm determines your protein portions.

• Your fist determines your veggie portions.

• Your cupped hand determines your carb portions.

• Your thumb determines your fat portions.

For men:

• 2 palms of protein dense foods with each meal;

• 2 fists of vegetables with each meal;

• 2 cupped hands of carb dense foods with most meals;

• 2 entire thumbs of fat dense foods with most meals.

For women:

• 1 palm of protein dense foods with each meal;

• 1 fist of vegetables with each meal;

• 1 cupped hand of carb dense foods with most meals;

• 1 entire thumb of fat dense foods with most meals.

Much more relaxed I know, but so much easier and less stressful (which Im always a fan of)

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