To understand how to lose weight, one must understand calories.

What do we know about calories? We are familiar with ideas like “women can have between 1,500 to 2,000 calories daily, and men can have 2,000 to 2,500 calories daily” – and “eating too many calories in a day makes us put on weight”. And for quite a few people, this is the full extent of their knowledge.

We need to know exactly what calories are to understand any weight loss programme we want to undertake. The above statements should actually read kilocalories (kcal) not calories because a calorie is a unit of heat. It is a unit of energy that is equal to the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree centigrade. Being such a small unit, the above equation is usually expressed in terms of kilocalories (kcal) to kilograms of water.

The energy in food is also measured in kilocalories. Proteins and carbohydrates have 4kcal per gram, and fats have 9kcal per gram.  This makes it easy to monitor your diet.

5 grams of butter (fat) = 45 kcal. By counting the number of kcal you eat in a day, you can tell if you are eating more than your daily allowance of kcal – and know why you may be putting on weight!
 
Some dieticians measure the energy of food in kilojoules (kJ).
1 kilocalorie = 4.1868 kilo joules
5 grams of butter = 188.4 kJ

One interesting fact about dieting to lose weight is that your daily allowance of calories will depend on your existing weight. This means that a person who weighs 200 lbs will be given a higher allowance of calories than a person who weighs 150 lbs, even though they are both losing weight at the same rate. This happens because the heavier person requires more calories to just move all that weight around. Of course, as the heavier person starts losing weight, his calorie allowance will go down further.

To lose 1 kilogram of weight, you have to burn 3,500 kcals! This is more than one’s daily allowance, so it has to be done gradually. Eating 500 kcal less than required per day will result in a 1 kilogram loss in weight in a week – a safe and healthy rate at which to lose weight. So you can see the important role calories play in losing weight. Now imagine if your appetite was suppressed so you wouldn’t eat those extra calories a day – that is the promise of pure hoodia gordonii.

One important thing to remember is that your body requires at least 1,200 kcal a day to keep up its normal functions. So never eat less than that in a day. The healthiest weight loss is a gradual one, building new eating habits like the hoodia habit as you go along which will help you maintain your desired weight.