Trying to Lose Weight? This Is How Many Calories You Should Be Eating
Losing weight can be a complicated, emotionally draining process. However, when done right, it can be a meaningful challenge that sharpens your mind, teaches you discipline, and makes you feel accomplished. There are tons of quick fixes out there that promise extreme weight loss in a matter of days. Science and basic common sense tell us, though, that these methods aren’t successful in the long run. In fact, many people who lose weight in such a short amount of time end up gaining it back quite quickly after they reach their original goal.
In order to lose weight, you need to be in a calorie deficit. Experts have calculated that it takes a deficit of 3,500 calories in order to lose one pound of fat. A common way to approach this is to consume 500 less calories a day in order to lose one pound a week. But should this be the same across the board, no matter what gender and size you currently are? Every person is different, so it doesn’t logically make sense that one solution would work for everyone. We talked to an expert to get the facts. Here’s what you need to know about being in a calorie deficit in order to lose weight.
The amount of calories you should eat depends on a variety of factors
Although it seems like easy math to simply consume 500 less calories a day, that won’t be the case for everyone. “The amount of calories you should be consuming are dependent on your lean body mass and activity level,” Liz Letchford, MS, ATC, personal trainer in San Francisco, says. “The more muscle you have, the more calories you need. Similarly, the more you move, the more energy you will be expending and the more energy you will need to consume.”
A great way to find out how many calories you should be consuming every day is using a macronutrient calculator. After putting in your weight, your age, how active you are, and how many pounds you want to lose each week, it will calculate how many calories you need on a daily basis. It’s even better to get body scans done, which will measure body fat, resting metabolic rate, etc., but a simple macro calculator will get you started on a good path.
The quality of your calories matters
Sure, you can consume 1,200 calories of fast food every day and maybe lose a few pounds, but that’s not the whole story. “The old ‘calories in, calories out’ saying is only partially true,” Liz explains. “The more calories you consume from whole, unprocessed foods, the healthier and more energized you will feel.”
In other words, just because you eat less calories every day of crappy food doesn’t mean you’re doing your body any good. Rather than throwing back low-calorie, low-fat desserts that are packed with artificial ingredients and chemicals, choose to snack on clean, whole foods that are naturally delicious and good for your body, like unsweetened dried fruit from Healthy Truth. They contain no sulfites, preservatives, or additives and they’re dried at low temperatures to maintain quality and integrity of all the vitamins and minerals. Not only do they taste great, but they’re a fantastic sweet treat to have around when you’re trying to reduce calories and limit junk food intake. Other great choices from Healthy Truth include sprouted protein crunch and sprouted nut clusters. Consuming these types of foods will help you shed fat faster than if you were choosing processed goods.
Focusing exclusively on calories isn’t enough
Although calorie counting is the primary way to see weight-loss results, it’s not the only thing you should be focusing on. After you’ve tuned in your diet, think about daily habits that are impacting your overall health, such as sleep schedule, morning routine, exercise frequency, and daily habits. Are you using your electronics too often? Are you moving your body regularly? Are you stressed all the time? These are all important factors when it comes to losing weight.
“Outside of counting calories, managing stress and finding active hobbies that you love are the best ways to improve your body composition,” Liz confirms. She recommends you find ways to lead happy, healthy lives outside the kitchen. That will have just as much of an impact on your weight loss as the number of calories you eat a day. Rest well, drink plenty of water, and take care of your body.