People who want to lose weight will always be tempted to cut down the amount of food they eat.
Sure, right!?! I mean, it’s logical to think that when we reduce our calorie intake we’ll lose weight.
This good in theory… HOWEVER… if we reduce our calories too much we may not only prevent weight loss, we will set the stage for weight gain and unfortunately, along with that, the potential for other health problems.
What Are Calories?
Calories are units of measure the amount of energy in our food. Calories are also units that measure the amount of energy is required to keep the body functioning at rest (AKA our Basal Metabolic Rate) and to measure the amount of energy we expend through activity and exercise.
Though some of my clients might prefer to define calories as…
To maintain your body weight, calories used during your day should be roughly the same as what you take in through food and drink. Our bodies can compensate for the occasional meal that is high in calories, but over the course of a time, if we continue to eat more than we use up, we will gain weight.
6 Major Factors Effecting Calorie Requirements
Not everybody needs to eat the same amount of calories. Here are the major factors that will influence how many calories a person needs to consume on a daily basis:
- activity level
- lean body mass.
How many calories do you need should you eat each day?
Women – Ideal Calorie Intake
We will first set the stage by saying that these numbers are averages and are based on the assumption that a person is a young adult (that’s about 25-years-old), fit and healthy. Remember, calorie intake is impacted the 6 major factors we just talked about.
The average calorie intake for a woman who has an average lifestyle (again, is fit and healthy) is about 1800-2000 calories daily. The calorie requirement for a woman who is pregnant or breastfeeding will rise to around 2300 calories each day.
Men – Ideal Calorie Intake
An adult man who is moderately active will need roughly 2300-2500 calories daily. A very active man may require 3000+ daily to maintain their weight and stay strong and healthy.
“Quick” Calorie Intake Formula
If you know your current body weight, there is a fast and simple method to determine approximately how many calories you need is to maintain, lose or gain weight:
33-35 calories per kilogram of bodyweight for MAINTENANCE
26-28 calories per kilogram of bodyweight for FAT LOSS
40-44+ calories per kilogram of bodyweight for WEIGHT GAIN.
Okay my fellow Canadians, remember there are 2.2 lbs to 1 kg!
Therefore a person who weighs 68 kg (that’s 150 lbs) needs 2244 calories each day to maintain their current weight, 1768 to lose weight and 2720 to gain weight.
Again, this is a very simplistic method to estimate caloric needs, however, its most obvious flaw is not taking into account activity level or body composition (lean body mass)..
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