Here’s The Super-Simple Way To Count Kilojoules For Weight Loss
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Count kilojoules without losing your sanity.
The mere thought of tracking, counting, calculating and tallying kilojoules is a drag that takes the joy out of burgers and fries so much, you’d actually rather ditch it. And every time you have a brownie with your coffee or grab a pie for lunch, it feels like a flashing balance sheet pops up above your head, as if every kilojoule over your daily requirement proves you’ve failed.
The (Very Basic) Math
The rules of weight loss are simple and finite: “You need to create and maintain the kilojoule deficit over time in order to bring about weight loss,” explains dietician Dr Celeste Naudé. And it’s not a once-off deficit, either. After you eat something, your body takes days to process the nutrients that are burnt for fuel, and then stores excess kilojoules as fat. According to Dr Michael Jensen, who focuses on endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism, the largest part of your kilojoule intake (25 percent) goes to your muscles – so the adage “muscle mass burns more kilojoules” really makes sense. Only two to three percent is portioned to fat cells, which also explains why, over time, lean people gain less fat than obese people despite taking in the same number of additional kilojoules.
Exactly How To Create A Kilojoule Deficit
So what’s the golden number? “The general recommendation is to aim to lose 0.5 to one kilo per week. Although it seems simplistic, this advice comes from the following rationale,” explains Naudé. “Half a kilo of fat equals 14 700kJ. To create a deficit of 14 700kJ in a week, you would need to cut 2 000kJ from your daily kilojoule input through healthy and sensible food choices and portion sizes, and by upping your energy usage with exercise.” Simply put, taking in 2 000kJ less per day should help you lose 0.5kg of fat in a week. Considering 30 minutes of a spin class can burn 1 400kJ and half an hour of gentle yoga stretches 500kJ, including activity in your routine will help you reach the kilojoule deficit required. Sounds simple enough?
What Not To Do
If you’re trying to seriously ditch the kilos, eating 14 700kJ of chocolate a week isn’t going to be a nutritious or sustainable way to ditch the kilos. Plus, you’d probably struggle to keep up with your workouts because your body isn’t getting muscle-building, fat-torching nutrients. Sorry, but your body wants spinach. According to a study published in the Abstract Journal of the American Dietetic Association , healthy grazers who ate two or more snacks per day ate more fibre, fruit and vegetables. The key, according to lead study author Dr Anne McTiernan, is limiting healthy snacks to just 840kJ. FYI, that’s half an apple with a teaspoon of PB, or a quarter-cup of almonds, cashews or pistachios.