How much weight you can lose is dependent on your ability to reduce the amount of calories you eat over a long period of time. It doesn't matter if you eat a little more today and a little less tomorrow. For weight loss, you need to think in terms of weeks and months rather than hours and days.
The only thing that matters is how many days you can eat less calories than you need to maintain your current weight vs how many days that you eat enough or more calories than you need to maintain your current weight.
This is how to picture eating for weight loss over a week:
Lets say you need to eat 2000 calories per day to maintain your current weight (and lets also assume you want to be lighter than this weight).
Lets also assume you want to lose half a pound of fat this week. A half pound of fat contains about 1750 calories.
By the end of this week you would need to have eaten 1750 calories less than the amount of calories that keep you at your current bodyweight.
It doesn't matter at all how you get to this deficit. It just matters that by the end of the week you have eaten less food than you needed to stay the same weight. That's it.
The real trick is finding a way to do this consistently. Most popular diets give you a set of rules to follow every day, every time you eat, taking all the fun and spontaneity out of eating. These diets are doomed to fail because they are too restrictive. Food is fun, and social, and nobody wants to be told they can't eat their favorite foods or that they can't go out and eat when everyone else is and enjoy the same foods and not feel guilty about it.
Basic Calorie Requirements Calculation Based on Activity Level:
Sedentary : 13 X Weight = Avg. cal/day Sedentary is not exercising at all
Moderately Active: 16 X Weight = Avg. cal/day Moderately Active is exercising approximately 3-4 times per week
Very Active: 19 X Weight = Avg. cal/day Very Active is 5-7 strenuous exercise sessions per week.
If you weigh over 200 pound now, and you'd like to weigh closer to 150, here is a calculation you could use to get started: Assuming you are going to be adding enough exercise to quality as Moderately Active, we'll use 16 as our modifier:
150 pounds X 16 calories per pound = 2400 calories
Less 500 (Using the common 500 calories per day reduction) gives us a total of 1900 average calories per day.
So back to the original question: how many calories should i eat a day to lose weight?
Answer: It doesn't matter, and it is too difficult to monitor how much food you eat on daily basis. Instead set your goal to be less food over a week, not a day. This will take the guilt away on days when you go out and eat socially, or ϳust want to have some ice cream and burgers. So the new question is this; How do you do this? And I think I have the answer.
I have recently been exposed to a new style of nutrition that is the easiest way to achieve a weekly caloric deficit that produces lasting weight loss and does not restrict any of the foods I like to eat or when I can eat them! This new program is called Eat Stop Eat, and frankly it's so obvious it was almost embarrassing that I never managed to think of this on my own years ago. The basic concept is short term intermittent Fasting!
Yes that's right Fasting! The concept blew me away when I first heard it. And then it started to make so much more sense as I read into the research with the help of the author of the book Brad Pilon. And the big difference with this style of nutrition is that it is flexible, sustainable AND effective.
Calorie is a measure of energy. The number of calories that you should eat is determined by a variety of factors including your age your gender, your weight, your height, your physical activity levels, and on whether you want to gain, lose, or maintain weight.
A vital balance between your calorie intake and your calorie expend is required. You can estimate the number of calories you need each day with some mathematics. Using a formula known as the Harris-Benedict principle, you can calculate your BMR1. BMR is defined as the amount of energy needed by your body in order to carry out its functions properly. These functions include pumping blood, movement, blood purification, breathing, etc. After you get an idea of your BMR, you can estimate the ideal calorie intake for you there from.
You can use the following formulas for calculating your BMR. Both of the following formulas apply only for adults. Use formula number one if you are a man and formula number two if you are a women.
Formula no. 1
66 + (6.3 x weight in pounds) + (12.9 x height in inches) - (6.8 x age in years)
Formula no. 2
655 + (4.3 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) - (4.7 x age in years)
BMR gives you the estimate of the energy needed by your body to function properly. But you need more energy than your BMR, in order to carry out your physical activities.
Calories needed daily = "Amount of energy body needs (BMR)" + "Amount of energy your body needs to perform physical activities"
If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, multiply your BMR by 20 percent; if you are a little active, multiply it by 30 percent; if moderately active, by 40 percent; if very active, by 50; and if extra active, by 60.
Add the number that you get through this calculation to your BMR. This is the number of calories that you should consume every day in order to maintain your present weight. If you want to increase your weight, you have to increase your calorie intake more than this number, and if you want to lose your weight, decrease your calorie intake from your calculated ideal number of calories per day.
If you want to lose weight
If you want to lose weight, as mentioned earlier, you have to cut from the ideal number of calories specified for you. For the calorie deficit you create to be a healthier and an easier option for you, you need to cut back on your calories gradually. There are 3500 calories in each pound. You can lose almost one pound a week if you cut 500 calories each day. You can cut off 500 calories every day from your diet or else, you can burn off 500 calories each day through exercising. But an ideal combination of both is vital. Adjust your diet and exercise regimes in such a way that you cut back on 250 calories from your diet and burn 250 calories by exercising every day.
There may be a little variation every week in your weight loss. Initially you may even be gaining a little weight due to muscle development as a result of your work outs. But that helps you in the long run. So don't worry.
But always bear in mind that your weight loss should be a healthy one. Opt for a healthy weight loss rate ranging from 0.5 to 2 pounds a week. Trying to lose more than 2 pounds a week is not advisable as such a weight loss cannot be a permanent one. Cutting on more than 300 calories per day unless advised by your physician must never be done. Maintain a journal, and record all your calorie intakes and your physical activities each day for at least a period of one week.
Try to incorporate changes in your daily diet in order to cut back on calories, gradually. You can do this easily. Follow our ideas listed below.
In the food journal that you maintain, record the calorie content against each food taken. You can check the foods' calorie content from internet or books.
Portion sizes matter. You can use a measuring cup or scale to measure out your food portions for a sometime till you learn measuring ϳust by seeing.
Eliminate some foods altogether. These should be those unhealthy, highly processed and junk foods. Avoid all fried stuff, cookies, candies, butter, margarine, etc.
Switch to low-calorie healthy foods. Include a lot of fruits and vegetables in your diet. They contain minerals, vitamins, dietary fibre and some disease fighting phytochemicals in them.
Replace certain foods with their healthy counterparts like whole milk with low-fat milk, red meat with white meat, white sauce with red sauce, nuts with air-popped pop corn, ice creams with frozen yogurt, etc. Prefer grilled, roasted, boiled, broiled, poached meat over the fried ones.
Take mono unsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) containing foods. They will help you suppress hunger and food cravings.
Take fat burning foods like olive oil, eggs, apples, berries, garlic, etc.
Drink three liters of water daily.
Next to diet control, comes your exercising part. Burn off 250 calories through physical activities and exercises every day. Exercise for at least 30 minutes each day. Involve yourself in a lot of outdoor activities like swimming, racing, rowing, cycling, running, jogging, etc. At home too, you can perform exercises like crunches, sit ups, plank, step ups, push ups, squats, etc. The video below illustrates the amount of calories appropriate for various types of persons.
Stick to strict disciplines in your exercise regime. Maintain timing and exercise duration. Learn simple warm up and cool down tricks; and do them before and after exercises.
Kick away laziness. Besides exercising, keep yourself active all through the day. Resolve to keep active even after your efforts have paved way to achieving your desired weight loss. Keeping yourself active works wonders on your health and overall being.
BMR - Basal Metabolic Rate, is the amount of daily energy expended by humans and other animals at rest.