Health Behaviours and Heart Failures (3rd of 12 posts)

Posted by Heart Niagara on

Health Behaviour #2: Quantity of food eaten

Our bodies need enough food (calories) to sustain our basic, doing nothing, energy (basal metabolic rate) plus our “on purpose” physical activity energy demands. It goes without saying, the less active you are the less food (calories) you need. If we overeat and are not physically active enough to burn up the excess calories we intake, we have a problem. When we have unused calories floating around in our blood, they have to go somewhere and almost always they end up turning into fat tissue. Having some fat tissue is a good thing, but too much becomes a problem. Weight management is complicated and genetics are involved but it is mostly controlled calorie intake/portion control that is the golden rule.

Calories are not something we accidentally intake from air or water, we deliberately drink them or eat them. We have to deliberately take calories into our bodies to survive so we get to make choices. Making choices is all about our personal values and beliefs and the resulting personal behaviours. The amount of food (calories) we eat is our own choice and is one of our own behaviours related to food. Unfortunately, we have a lot of complicating behaviours related to eating that really mess with controlling our basic behaviour around how many calories we eat. Too complicated in fact. So how can we keep calorie control as simple as possible.

A suggested approach is to first focus on quantity of food eaten not the quality of the food. You can join Weight Watchers and learn about portion control or you can try figuring it out yourself. First find how many calories you should be eating at a website like…. Then use an app or website of a system like MyFitnessPal…. In MyFitnessPal you can set your calorie target and your activity level. Now your task is to log “EVERYTHING” you normally eat (no exemptions) so you can get an idea if you are eating enough, just right or too much. If you are eating too much find ways to reduce portion sizes or change the quality (type) of food you eat.

Remember, this is not about how much you weigh, it’s about how much you eat. Overeating is essentially a risk factor for heart disease and diabetes.

Next time, we will learn about quality of food!


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in blog entries are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Heart Niagara.