22/05/2024

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How Many Calories You Should Be Getting To Lose Weight

How Many Calories You Should Be Getting To Lose Weight

Most people associate weight loss with painful dieting that leaves you feeling as if you would be better off just keeping all the weight on. The truth is you can gradually lose weight as long as you have a good idea of how many calories you should be getting, then consistently consuming less, even if the amount you cut down is the equivalent of one can of soda each day.

Just exactly how many calories you should be getting isn’t as easy as stepping on a scale.

What’s enough for one person isn’t enough for another. Exactly how many calories you should be getting varies with size, age and most importantly activity level. Also changes in stress and hormone levels from an upcoming presentation at work or preparing for a wedding can strongly affect your metabolic rate.

Quickly cutting out too many calories can also shock your body into a starvation response, which results in a loss of muscle mass. You might notice a drop in weight at the scale, but the lack of muscle means you need to eat less and less to keep from gaining it back. Keeping your daily calorie intake at a level that is just two or three hundred less than your body burns each day will have you feeling good and enjoying steady fat loss.

So, the first thing you need to do is find out just how many calories your body burns in a day. Health professionals call this the basal metabolic rate or (BMR) then you need to add a percentage of that BMR based on how much exercise you’re getting. Calculating it isn’t difficult, but if you don’t feel like doing the math, try this calorie calculator.

For Women:

641 + (4.4 x your weight in pounds) + (4.7 x your height in inches) – (4.7 x your age in years) = BMR

For Men:

69 + (6.3 x your weight in pounds) + (12.8 x your height in inches) – (6.9 x your age in years) = BMR

Remember your BMR is the number of calories you would consume lying in a hospital bed comatose. BMR also rises with a higher proportion of muscle mass to overall weight. Even at rest, a gram of muscle mass consumes lots more calories than a gram of fat tissue. This is the reason crash diets fail in the long run. The human body’s response to starvation is to decrease muscle mass first.

Any activity you do will add to the amount of calories you should be getting each day:

  • If you are sedentary, for example, a desk job, no exercise, you should multiply your BMR by 1.2 to calculate your daily calorie deficit
  • If you are lightly active, for example, walk a lot at work, commute by bicycle, walk the dog most days multiply your BMR by 1.3 to calculate your daily calorie deficit
  • If you work out at the gym, run, cycle at least 4-5 days a week for an hour or longer you can multiply your BMR by 1.4 to calculate your daily calorie deficit
  • If you’re an athlete in training you probably have a well paid professional calculating exactly how many calories you should be getting, but just so you know you can multiply your BMR bu 1.5 to calculate your daily calorie deficit

Don’t feel like doing the math? I don’t blame you, try this calorie calculator.

Your daily calorie deficit is the number of calories you can eat each day or average throughout the week and stay the same weight. You can safely reduce your intake of calories by about 15 to 30 percent without your body switching on it’s natural starvation-survival mode. A pound of fat equals around 3500 calories, reducing your intake by 500 calories a day should have you dropping a pound a week safely without becoming irritable and fatigued. If you regularly consume energy drinks or soda, simply drinking water instead of those sugar laden beverages could have you losing a couple pounds each month.

Remember there are a lot of variables involved in calculating exactly how many calories you should be getting to lose weight. I suggest you start by calculating your daily calorie deficit and staying at that level for at least a couple weeks before putting on the squeeze. If you are the same weight after a couple weeks, then begin reducing your calories in order to lose weight.

I strongly suggest going slow. Find your calorie deficit and reduce your intake by about 25% and you’ll still be able to give into occasional food cravings. With a good amount of exercise you might not even feel like you’re dieting. Carefully counting calories isn’t as quick as a crash diet, but it’s a lot easier, healthier and in the long run a much more effective way to look your best.