We tend to view calories in a negative way since we equate them with bigger hips or thighs. A calorie is simply the amount of heat (energy) needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram (l/28th of an ounce) of water 1 degree Celsius. It is how much heat (or energy) our food can generate for our body. Higher fat foods (butter, pastries, fried food) have more energy or calories (9 calories per gram). That is a wonderful thing when food is in short supply but in the U.S. we have restaurants on every corner. We also get energy (calories) from protein (4 calories/gram), carbohydrates (4 calories per/gram), and alcohol (7 calories/gram).
A calorie is a calorie whether it is in portato chips or carrots. The problem is when we eat more calories than our body needs. Excess calories are mostly stored as body fat. Our age, sex, activity level, genetics and body size, all impact how many calories we need to maintain weight.
There is a general rule that it takes a 3500 calorie deficit to lose one pound of fat. Simply eliminating about 250 calories/day (about one doughnut, peanut M&Ms or 2 Reese Cups) for 2 weeks or brisk walking at least 30 minutes/day for the same time period would lead to a one pound weight loss. (This would equal a 24 pound weight loss in a year)! Those “little things” really do add up!