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Picture this: you just finished your dinner with your friends or family. You feel full to the brim from your meal. As you look across the table, you stare at some unfinished bowls of food and are tempted to finish what is left, just so it isn’t wasted. No harm isn’t it, just another heavier meal. Does this scenario sound familiar?
The truth is, every extra mouthful is additional energy intake. While we need energy to function, how much we eat (Energy Intake) and how much we use (Energy Expenditure) eventually affects our weight and health. This concept of the balance between energy intake and energy expenditure is known as Energy Balance. Explore how this works by clicking on the buttons at the top to try out the different scenarios.
Energy intake comes from 2 main areas:
Energy expenditure comes from 3 main areas:
Click on the buttons above the scale to see what happens when you increase your energy expenditure or energy intake beyond a balanced amount.
Consuming greater amounts or more caloric-dense options of food and drinks can cause an increase in total energy intake. If our increased energy intake from food and drinks is not matched with sufficient energy expenditure (e.g. from physical activity), our total energy intake might exceed our energy expenditure. This means that we are eating more than what we are using, and the energy balance scale is tipped, with excess energy intake. This can result in weight gain.
To prevent this, try to refrain from excessive snacking and caloric-dense foods as they contribute to unnecessary energy intake. Aim to use healthier cooking methods that refrain from excessive oil use, and exercise portion control throughout your meals. When planning meals, try to aim for more wholefoods such as wholegrains, fruits, vegetables, and lean meat. We require energy from food to carry out daily functions and to give us energy to exercise, but try to avoid unnecessary intake beyond what we need.
Don’t forget about strength training! If your physical activity involves mostly aerobic activities like jogging and cycling, try to also include some strength training for a more wholesome training program. Strength training such as lifting weights or doing bodyweight exercises, like squats or push ups, can help to support your efforts in increasing total energy expenditure through multiple ways:
Combining aerobic exercise, strength training and a well-balanced diet promotes greater energy expenditure, while conferring a plethora of health benefits including better blood pressure management, improved body composition, and lowered risk of chronic heart disease, to name a few. If you are interested to include some strength training in your routine, sign up for our Physical Activity e-Workshops in the link below!
Increasing physical activity leads to a higher amount of calories burned and greater total energy used. This can come in the form of more exercise, sports, or simply walking more. Increasing our physical activity, when matched with a well-balanced diet, can cause our energy expenditure to be more than our energy intake. This means that we are using more than we are consuming, and the energy balance scale is tipped to an energy deficit. When this happens, we generally lose weight.
Tweaking our lifestyle to include more walking, exercise, or any other form of physical activity like housework, can pay off in terms of better weight management and overall health. By combining more physical activity with a healthy diet, we are keeping our weight and health in check. If you are looking to lose some weight, increasing energy expenditure with more movement or exercises can help us to do so.