How Many Calories Should I Eat To Lose Weight? How Many Calories Per Day?
Let's put a little fun into counting calories for once.
Okay with you?
The art and science of calorie counting isn't obsolete and it doesn't have to be a drag.
There are a couple of things I want to discuss before I just throw out a number to you.
First, let's look at what discourages people when they hear the term 'calories' and dispel that negativity.
For one, this was among the earliest modern diet concepts.
We might have heard 'that's too high in calories' and such for our entire childhoods, leaving us with a lasting bad feeling.
Kids didn't understand the idea of 'calories', only that all the foods they want to eat seem to have too many of them.
Also, calories involve math, which can be overwhelming. You calculate how many you are supposed to be allowed and stand in the supermarket calculating.
The whole concept feels like a drag when you're upset by bad memories and don't like math.
Let's get to know calories and dispel that anxiety! Anxiety doesn't help anyone lose weight.
Why are calories so important for weight loss, anyway?
Compare your body to a car for a minute. You fill your car with gasoline and driving the car burns the gas away. The food we eat works in the same way but our 'miles per gallon' is measured in calories burnt instead of miles driven.
Let me explain further:
Like cars, we're not all built the same way. That's why there are calorie charts. We'll get to that part later but for now, let's go on with our car metaphor.
Bigger cars generally burn more fuel than smaller cars but not always. The factors that determine miles per gallon in a car, like how many cylinders it has, is called metabolism in people.
When you park your car, it burns no fuel, and something similar happens when we go to sleep for the night, which is why you shouldn't eat a large, high-calorie meal before bed.
And in the case of us humans, we burn less fuel when we're idle, which accounts for the fact that people that fidget tend to be slim. (This is scientifically proven, by the way).
Determining our own MPG isn't as simple as it would be in a car. The charts give us some basic guidelines but they aren't personalized.
They don't take much about our lifestyle into account. Below is a standard chart. After you have a look at it I'll give you some more details about counting calories for weight loss.
This chart is for determining caloric intake to maintain your weight. To lose weight, it is recommended that you reduce your calorie consumption from this amount by about 400 calories a day.
If you eat more calories than you should regularly, you need to restrict any calories you eat that are over the limit given as well.
Here is a link to a chart of maintenance calories.
So, how many calories should I eat to lose weight based on the chart? And how many calories per day?
Before we answer that, there are a few more things to consider.
Let's make your results more personal:
1. Did you gain the weight you want to lose at some point in your life that you can identify?
- having kids
- changing job
- going to college
- or getting married
If you answer yes, examine how the change altered your eating habits and activity level.
Try to estimate the extra calories you consume now, or don't burn, due to these changes.
2. Have you always struggled with your weight?
If you answer yes, you may have a slower metabolism.
Don't feel let down. Calorie counting is your friend if your metabolism is sluggish because it is one weight loss principle that will work for you.
You may have to work a little harder to burn a calorie but you can also use techniques to boost your metabolism.
3. Has your weight bounced back and forth for most of your life?
If this rings your bell, resolve to pay careful attention to calories and avoid fad diets. This is an important factor in permanent weight loss and maintenance.
"Yo-Yo" dieting artificially lowers your metabolism.
What Is Metabolism, anyway?
Your metabolism takes the calories you consume and decides how to apply them.
You may not always agree with your metabolism's decisions.
It puts calories where it 'thinks' you need them the most, which means making fat if it decides that you're starving.
Ideally, the calories you consume match those you burn and your metabolism doesn't have excess calories to save in the form of fat.
Are All Calories The Same?
No. Calories in food with little to no nutrients are called 'empty' calories because they don't nourish us, while some foods that are high in calories actually cause our bodies to burn more fuel.
White sugar and white starches are considered the worst offenders among calories because that rush of energy is gone and the calories are converted to fat before most of us can exercise them away.
Fat in your diet can count as empty calories, but you have to keep in mind that not all fat is bad for you and also that the fat you eat doesn't simply become fat on your belly.
Your metabolism converts it into calories, as it does with all foods. Fat doesn't provide an energy rush but it digests quickly, so it's easy to overdo it. Fat can increase how many calories per day you consume.
Can I Increase My Metabolism?
Yes! HIIT Exercise is a famous way to change metabolism and there are other techniques as well.
Several foods are thought to increase metabolism. We'll list foods like this elsewhere, but let's look at a famous example:
Hot chili peppers are fairly well proven to aid weight loss, possibly in several ways. Scientists are trying to figure out the details but we can say with some certainty that the hot, burning sensation of eating spicy food is literally our bodies burning calories and temporarily speeding our metabolisms.
Lasting metabolic change helps you lose weight and keep it from coming back. And it can be done! Calories from whole grains and vegetables like broccoli are not only nutritious but they take more work to digest.
They keep your body 'fidgeting' inside and you may burn nearly as many calories as you ingest, or at least give you room for a pat of butter.
So how much should I eat to lose weight?
Food packages and even recipes usually list calories per serving.
Some break it down to calories 'from fat' and calories 'from sugar' but unless you are having a splurge day that consists entirely of cake and ice cream that part isn't very helpful.
An avocado is full of 'calories from fat' but the monounsaturated fat in avocados may actually help you lose belly fat.
Apples are fairly high in calories from sugar but they carry a nutritional power pack and take work to digest.
A good calorie restriction diet will not be too strict about limitations and derive the majority of your calories come from 'good calorie' sources.
Even if you only omit 200 calories a day, if you stay active and nourish yourself properly you will lose weight, guaranteed.
Ready to see results? Take a look at our programs and coaching to see what others have accomplished.
Transformation Coach/ Pizza Lover