The purpose of LittleCalorie.com is twofold:
1. To inspire others to health
2. To keep family and friends informed on happenings in our life through the "Other Stuff" page
You: Aren't there enough food blogs in the world?
You: Then why in the world would you waste your time with just another food blog?
Me: Simple. Because Lil Cal is not just another food blog. She's devoted to inspiration, but she's not a crazy health nut (in fact, she's been known to forgo a salad or apple for a big juicy burger and a frosty mug of beer).
You: What can I get out of it?
Me: Here at Lil Cal, you can find articles, recipes, and food comparisons on the subjects of health, calories, exercise, and food politics.
You: So ... what has health done for you?
Me: "Health" is central to the person I strive to be every day. I believe it is important to visualize my best life and then do all I can to pursue it. And I always fall back to this: when my body is healthy, I have more energy; when I have more energy, my mind is sharp and I learn; when I learn, I have a purpose and I move confidently in the direction of my dreams and goals.
I am fascinated by all the information, resources, and advice the health world has to offer, and it's a subject I dive into head first! I view this site as a great way to condense and share all of those interesting and helpful things I have learned, lived through, or tested. I always encourage feedback and questions because I certainly don't have all the answers, but I'll put my best efforts into finding them!
What is a calorie?
A calorie is a unit of energy. And, when talking about food, a calorie is a measure of potential energy in food.
Though there are several methods for tracking a healthy diet, I prefer the bare-bones basics of counting calories. The rule is simple: to lose weight, burn more calories than you consume. To maintain a certain weight, balance your intake of calories with the amount you burn. Cutting carbs, reducing fat, limiting sugars, low-glycemic-index-eating ... all these plans boil down to eating fewer calories.
When the body breaks down the molecules that hold food together, it releases the energy to fuel everything a person does, from thinking and breathing to running and talking. If the calories consumed are not used, the body will store those extra calories in the liver as a type of easy-access energy reserve (which is why we don't have to eat constantly in order to stay energized). When the reserve gets full, some of the extra calories are passed to muscles to be used as needed to move the body. Depending on a person's weight and metabolism, this "bank" of calories in the liver and muscles is about 300 to 400 that can be accessed as needed. However, when the amount of calories consumed is more than those that are burned, and in excess of the temporary reserves, the calories are converted to fat that distributes throughout the body.
To determine the amount of calories in a certain food, scientists separate the caloric (protein, fat, and carbs) and noncaloric (water, minerals, etc.) compounds. They measure the weight of each caloric compound in grams and multiply any protein x 4, fat x 9, and carbs x 4 per gram.
How many calories should I eat?
To get to (or maintain) a healthy weight, the amount of calories one should consume depends on various factors, such as age, current weight, height, gender, and activity level. All of these factors make it far too complex for me to state a fool-proof method for determining the right amount of calories for every single body type. Personally, I try to exercise at least four days per week, eat between 1500 and 2000 calories per day, and eat lots of fruits and vegetables. I also allow myself special rewards (maybe an ice cream sundae, a day off from counting calories, or a new pair of shoes) in order to stay motivated. I can only speak for myself, but this system works for me!
Finally, I want to share a thought on counting calories. I suspect many people believe it takes all the fun out of eating (and it can if you let it), but the truth is I LOVE FOOD! Instead of thinking of low-calorie eating as a bummer, I think of it as a way to maximize the amount of good foods I can eat in a single day. And if I'm really craving something bad (mmm, pizza) or if I'm meeting friends out for dinner (and/or drinks), I can make all those things fit into a low-calorie lifestyle by staying on track the majority of the time and making healthy decisions.