I know what it’s like. The summer holidays are just around the corner, or your friend’s wedding is coming up, and you want to lose weight. And you want to lose weight fast.
You’ve probably realized that fad dieting just doesn’t work, so you’ve decided to try counting calories. Which is great, as i believe calculating your calorie intake and controlling your calorie deficit through your diet and physical activity are the only ways to lose real weight (as in fat). And more importantly, counting calories is the only way to keep your weight off.
What many dieters do not realize is that you can quite easily equate your calorie intake, or your calorie deficit in fact, to actual weight lose.
If people understood this, they would be much more motivated to stick to a healthier lifestyle.
How many calories do we need?
Before we can calculate our calorie intake to lose weight, we need a good estimate as to the number of calories we need each day, on average, to sustain our body’s functioning and all our physical activities.
As a good, accurate estimate, it is generally accepted that women require 2000 calories per day, and men 2500 calories. Your actual figure will depend on many factors, but these figures are generally accurate and give you a good starting point for you to count and monitor your calorie intake.
So what exactly do these figures mean to you?
If you eat, on average, more that your daily requirement, then you are going to put on weight. It’s as simple as that. All those extra calories, if you don’t burn them off, will be converted to fat. And your weight will go up. And up. And up. In fact, your weight will continue to go up until you start burning off more calories than you consume. This is the important point.
So let me put this another way, and sum this up in one statement.
If you burn off more calories than you consume, then you will lose weight.
Cut back on your calories, or increase your calorie expenditure, or a combination of both, just so long as you burn off more calories than you consume, then you are going to lose your fat.
It doesn’t matter whether you want to lose a stone, 3 stone, or 10! So long as you are in calorie deficit you will lose your fat.
How to calculate calorie intake to lose weight
In 1 pound of human fat there is about 3500 calories of energy. This is important information for you to know.
It means that when you have burned off 3500 calories more than you consume, that is a calorie deficit of 3500 calories, then you will lose 1 pound in weight. You will jump on the scales and be 1 pound lighter.
Spread over a week, this means you need a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day to lose 1 pound per week.
So combined with your average daily calorie intake as stated above, you now know how to calculate calorie intake to lose weight!
For women, to lose 1 pound per week, you need a daily calorie deficit of 500 calories, meaning you need to consume, on average, 1500 calories per day (instead of 2000 calories). And similarly for men, except 2000 calories (instead of 2500 calories).
It really is that simple.
But you should note that reducing your calorie intake by 500 calories per day is really the upper limit. If you cut your calories more than this then you will soon suffer burn out, become all lethargic, and generally feel run down. And you’ll be missing out on essential vitamins and minerals that keep you healthy.
Does that mean you can’t lose more than 1 pound per week?
Calculating your calorie intake to lose weight is not the only way to achieve calorie deficit. You can also increase your physical activity! Did I hear you groan then?
Don’t be put off though. A brisk hour’s walk, three to four times each week, can help you lose an additional half pound each week. If you do more exercise, and more vigorous exercise, the easier it will be to lose that extra weight.
But you don’t even have to exercise like this. Ever heard of NEAT? That is, non-exercise activity thermogenesis?
Well, is basically a fancy way of saying you can burn off a load of extra calories every day just by moving around. If you’re on the mobile phone, just stand up and walk around the room whilst chatting. Use the stairs more, rather than the lift. Jump off the bus a stop early. Do more gardening. Just don’t sit down on your butt all day.
Research has shown that doing these simple things can burn off up to several hundred calories extra every day!
Do you know how much weight to lose?
It’s always a good idea to know how much weight you need to lose.
Take a look at the BMI calculator to give you an indicator. It has its limitations, especially if you have a lot of muscle, but for the majority of us it is a great tool to use.
If you don’t know how, losing fat can be like trying to wash your clothes in a mud bath. You are never going to manage it.