How much should I eat?
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A question that you might often be asking yourself is 'How much food should I be eating?'. Whether your goal is to lose weight, gain muscle or to just fuel your body appropriately, it can be confusing to decide what the right amount is for you. We want to help make this a little easier for you!Let's start with the term 'calories' and try to better understand what it means, and what exactly we are talking about when we say 'energy balance'. In simple terms, ENERGY is another word for ‘calories’. Your ENERGY BALANCE is the balance of calories consumed through eating and drinking compared to calories burned through physical activity. What you eat and drink is ENERGY IN. What you burn through physical activity is ENERGY OUT.

Calories IN higher than Calories OUT = Weight GAIN

Calories IN and Calories OUT equal = Weight MAINTENANCE

Calories OUT higher than Calories IN = Weight LOSS

So if you want to lose weight, you must be burning more calories than you are taking in, this is a 'calorie deficit'. If you want to gain weight/ muscle, you must be taking in more calories than you are burning, this is a 'calorie surplus' and if you want to maintain your weight, you must have an equal balance of the calories you take in and the calories you burn.You might think that exercise is the only way to burn off the calories you consume, WRONG! Our bodies actually burn calories in way more ways than you think. In fact, ENERGY OUT comes from:

  • Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): Energy expended by the body to maintain basic physiological functions. You burn energy just living
  • Thermic Effect of Food (TEF): When we consume food there is an energy cost attributed to digesting it, converting it, and storing it (this doesn't play a huge role)
  • Exercise Energy Expenditure (EEE): The amount of energy you expend exercising (scheduled workouts)
  • Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT): This is the energy expended outside of exercise and basic function (steps, gardening, housework, walking to the car etc..)

Therefore, before deciding how many calories you should be eating. You must find out your TDEE - Total Daily Energy Expenditure (Your BMR plus the amount of calories you expend through activity) . Your TDEE represents roughly the amount of calories your body needs to maintain the weight it is at. This is different for every individual. It varies based on gender, age, height, weight, lifestyle and your level of activity.When you have calculated your TDEE, you can then add 100-200 calories daily to be in a calorie surplus or you can deduct 100-200 daily to be in a calorie deficit. It all sounds very complicated but luckily, there are many great calculators online that can take away all the hard work! Here is one that we recommend trying: you are unsure, or need further guidance with regards to structuring your calories and the kinds of foods you should be eating, it is always the best option to seek the advice of a coach but this is a great place to start, and hopefully the reasoning behind it all makes a bit more sense now.We hope this helps!Catch you soon,The EXCAPE Team