Practically everyone knows how important calorie counting is to weight loss, yet very few people know what those calories actually mean in terms of losing weight and keeping it off. Knowing how many calories you need to eat for weight loss could be the difference between always trying to lose weight, and losing weight & keeping it off.
When you know how many calories to eat for weight loss, you’ll understand just how important calories are to your ability to lose weight. It’s not an easy task, but knowing these calories will help you see the importance of regulating what you eat.
Weight Loss Formula
The basic rule of weight loss is to consume fewer calories than you burn through basic body functions and regular exercise. This formula is good news for anyone in need of burning off a few calories because there is no “magic number” of calories you need to eat. The magic is in the number of calories you need to eliminate from your daily diet and burn to lose weight.
To lose one pound of weight per week, which is what most physicians consider healthy weight loss, you will need to burn 3,500 calories. If you eat 500 calories less each day, by the end of a week you will have lost 1 pound of body fat. Keep in mind however, that it’s easier to burn more calories through exercise than by simply eliminating 500 calories from your diet each day.
Knowing how many calories are in each dish you eat is important, but not as important as understanding how many calories you consume per meal. Understanding your daily caloric intake is the only way to figure out where you can afford to eliminate calories in your diet. To figure out the number of calories YOU need to eat to lose weight, you have to first determine how many calories you already eat each day.
That number will allow you to determine how many calories you need to cut in order to create a 3,500 calorie deficit each week. Let’s say you currently consume 3,826 calories (a 2009 UN estimate of American daily calorie consumption) a day and you burn 1,500 calories a day; you would still need to eat less than 1,500 calories a day to lose weight. If you aren’t getting enough physical activity you’ll have to eat even less than that for weight loss, but you don’t have to be a slave to calories at every meal, just be wise about how you indulge.
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If you were interested in maintaining your current weight, you would continue to consume the same amount of calories you currently do without increasing (or decreasing) your amount of physical activity. Don’t worry about how many calories you “should” be eating each day; weight loss only works if you go by how many calories you actually take in each day.
Start counting calories for weight loss by figuring out how many calories (on average) you consume each day. This number will help you determine the best way to go about creating a calorie deficit. To figure out which calories to cut, write down the calories in everything you eat including beverages and snacks.
Cutting calories for fat loss is completely up to you. Begin with easy ways to create a calorie deficit like switching from refined grains to whole grains and replacing most of your drinks with water. Then target your portion sizes. Eating too much is a common problem for most of us and you’ll cut enough calories to matter by simply decreasing the size of your meals.
Balanced Weight Loss
The best way to count calories for weight loss is to use a combination of calorie-cutting measures and regular exercise. To create a 500 calorie per day deficit, eliminate 200-300 calories from your diet and burn the rest through physical activity. Remember that your body also uses calories as energy so simply eliminating 500 calories a day from your diet isn’t the best way to achieve weight loss.
Losing weight the right way will require you to get the majority of your calories from fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. You’ll get the most energy from these foods with fewer calories, which means you’ll feel satisfied after you eat and still have energy to create that calorie deficit that lets you know you’re losing fat the proper way.
Calories are crucial to weight loss, and successful weight loss depends on your ability to track your calories. This doesn’t mean you have to glue yourself to a calorie-counting website just to get healthy, eliminate foods high in fat, sugar, and salt. Make simple changes to your diet for an easy transition to weight loss and be sure to get regular exercise.
The more information you have about the calories you eat, the more power you have to control your weight loss efforts. Take a few minutes to find out how many calories are in your favorite foods from deli meat for sandwiches to microwave popcorn, lobster, or even baked chicken pesto. This information is key to your weight loss success.
Find out how to maximize your workouts for the most efficient fat loss by reading our review of Turbulence Training. Exercise is a critical aspect to fat loss, so let fitness expert Craig Ballantyne give you a few fat burning pointers.