Eat the right amount of energy for you!

Maintaining a healthy weight in an appropriate range requires a balance between the calories you take in through food and drink, and the calories you burn through physical activity.

Believe it or not, every person has different calorie needs depending on their weight, age and physical activity level. The term, calorie actually refers to the energy a person needs to perform everyday body functions. Energy can come from fat, carbohydrates and protein sources.

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Maintaining a healthy weight in a healthy range requires a balance between the calories you take in through food and drink, and the calories you burn through physical activity. USDA‘s MyPlate helps to define the balance of calories into three categories: 

Maintaining weight: Your weight will stay the same when the calories you eat and drink equal the calories you burn.
Losing weight: You will lose weight when the calories you eat and drink are less than the calories you burn.
Gaining weight: You will gain weight when the calories you eat and drink are greater than the calories you burn.

Your energy needs depend on your height, weight and activity level. Since men have more muscle and are typically bigger than women, they tend to require more calories throughout the day. Since women typically have less muscle, more fat and are smaller than men, they tend to need fewer calories to maintain a healthy body weight and activity level. Moderately active women need 1,800 to 2,200 calories a day. Visit the MyPlate to calculate your needs.  

Being aware of your individual energy needs in relation to your height, weight, and activity level is a great step towards successfully maintaining a healthy weight. When we have the ability to see what is not working, we can make changes to fix the situation. For example, just 100 extra calories a day adds up to ten pounds in a year. Being aware of how these calories affect weight can motivate us to make positive changes for health. Reducing 100 calories can be as simple as eliminating mayo or cheese on a sandwich or taking a brisk walk for fifteen minutes. MyPlate is a great resource for further information on nutrient and physical activity needs. The Michigan State University Extension Health and Nutrition Institute offers I Know MI Numbers nutrition and physical activity classes that focus on nutrient needs and balancing calories consumed with calories burned. 

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