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Calories & Energy Balance


Most of you have heard of calories but do you know what they are and where they come from?

Let us explain to you all that you need to know.

Calories (kcals) are a unit or measurement of energy stored in food. Different food contains different amounts of calories..

Everybody has their own specific Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). What is BMR then? BMR is an amount of energy (kcals) required to sustain homeostasis (correct bodily functions such as: brain and organs function and body temperature). 

Let’s not forget about your lifestyle…

On the top of BMR we also need energy for daily activities such as going to work, exercising, making food etc… Here we have TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure).

TDEE is a combination of our BMR plus any energy expended for other activities e.g. TDEE = 2000kcals (1200kcal BMR) + (800kcals daily activity)

TDEE is influenced by many factors, such as: Age, Sex, Height, Weight, Body type, Hormone function, Career, Activity level and more.

(Note: energy expenditure decreases as we lose weight but increases with activity)


Energy balance is a scale of energy: IN Vs energy OUT.

We have 3 types of energy balance. 

Positive energy balance is when energy in exceeds energy out – this is what causes us to gain weight.

Negative energy balance is when energy out exceeds energy in – this is what causes us to lose weight.

Neutral energy balance is when energy in matches that of energy out. It is important to note that energy balance is calculated over a long period of time and not overnight. For e.g.

Ground Rule: To lose weight you need to be on the negative energy balance

over a set period of time however in order to carry on losing weight

we need to be able to consistently have negative energy balance

which will require you to reduce kcals intake

To continue losing weight and maintain negative energy balance we need to gradually reduce kcals in intervals over time. Therefore we must not reduce kcals too much at the start as this will leave us with no room for further reductions.

E.g. starting a diet at 1800kcals and reducing 200kcals each month down to 1200kcals Vs starting a diet at 1200kcals and not being able to reduce any further (because of BMR requirements), thus preventing consistent negative energy balance as you lose weight.

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