Here's the straight-up 411 on calories and how they work! Plus, the ultimate restaurant-menu resource. This email is worth reading carefully and sharing with friends...
How many calories should I consume each day to maintain my weight? What if I want to lose weight?
The simple answer? To maintain your weight, you should consume the same amount of calories that you burn. For each pound of weight you'd like to lose, you need to expend 3,500 calories beyond what you take in. So if you were to consume 500 calories fewer than you burn daily, for seven days straight, you'd lose one pound that week. Health pros recommend aiming for one to two pounds of weight loss AT MOST per week. Remember to ALWAYS consult a doctor or health professional before starting a new diet or exercise plan; it's just smart and safe.
Okay, well, how do I know how many calories I burn?
Excellent question! Click here for a snazzy tool that will help you determine your BMR, a.k.a. your basal metabolic rate -- that's how many calories you burn just being you, doing no activity whatsoever. To get an estimate that factors in your activity level, click here. Those calculators are fairly accurate, but if you want to get specific, individualized stats, there are some products on the market that can help you out. The Bodybugg is one that we've tried at the HG HQ, and it works really well. It's not cheap, but if finding out your EXACT daily calorie burn is important, it can be a good investment. The Fitbit is a similar product that we've heard good things about. And if you just want to figure out how many calories get burned during specific activities, plug your info into this calculator! Bet you didn't know how many calories you'd shed from a half-hour of coal mining...
How do I find out how many calories are in my favorite foods?
Luckily for us all, this information is becoming more and more readily available. Skip the guessing games and go to websites like CalorieKing (our personal favorite at the HG HQ). There, you can search your food of choice -- let's say it's pepperoni pizza -- and get a crazy huge list of items, from "Average All Brands" generalizations (totally helpful) to brand- and restaurant-specific stats. Sure, the MOST up-to-date numbers will always come from the companies or the restaurants themselves, but if you want quick info, you can't beat this site.
Hungry for More Info? GOOD!!!
Having trouble tracking what you eat? Try a food diary. It may seem a little bothersome at first, but it REALLY does help to record and review everything you eat in the course of a day, a week, etc. You could identify problematic patterns, trigger foods, and all kinds of things that might be sabotaging your weight-loss/weight-management goals. There are pen-and-paper journals as well as online options. For tangible food and exercise diaries, check out DietMinder Personal Food & Fitness Journal and Fitbook. And take a look at the online journals at FitDay, SparkPeople, MyPlate, and MyFitnessPal.
Look at restaurant menus and nutritional info BEFORE you go out! Once you're at the restaurant, things can get hectic: You're hungry, you get distracted, and maybe you pick a meal with more calories and fat than you would ordinarily select. Here's a quick rundown of popular chains that post their nutritionals online -- of course, not every menu item is HG-friendly, but this info can help you to make informed decisions. YAAAY!
Applebee's - View the menu here, and click on "Download Nutritional Information" for the stats.
Bob Evans - Click here to search the menu stats! No downloading required...
California Pizza Kitchen - To menu browse, just click here. To download stats, choose "Nutritional Information" from the list on the left.
Chili's Grill & Bar - Click here to peruse the menu, and select "Download Nutrition Information" from the bottom left side of the page. Olive Garden - Click 'n view, hungry people!
Outback Steakhouse - Outback makes it easy. Click 'n calculate. Panera Bread - Click here to navigate through Panera's schmancy nutrition site!
P.F. Chang's - Click here to see all the nutritional deets. Note the "Servings Per Dish" column!
Romano's Macaroni Grill - All the nutritionals you crave can be found here! Ruby Tuesday - Click here to see the menu, and choose "Nutritional Menu Guide" on the right-hand side to download stats.
Here's a rundown of about how many calories a 140-lb. person would burn in half an hour while doing fun warm-weather activities...
Bicycling (at a medium pace): 255 calories Golfing (carrying your clubs!): 140 calories Playing beach volleyball: 255 calories Playing Frisbee (casually, not competitively): 95 calories Playing tennis: 220 calories Snorkeling: 160 calories Swimming (leisurely, not laps): 190 calories
Compare these to only 32 calories burned in half an hour of watching summer reruns... Get outside and do stuff, people!
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We may have received free samples of food, which in no way influences whether these products are reviewed favorably, unfavorably, mentioned with indifference, or mentioned at all. Click for more about our editorial and advertising policies.
Hungry Girl Inc., 18034 Ventura Blvd. #503, Encino, CA 91316