How many calories should you consume to lose weight?

How many calories should you consume to lose weight? - If you've ever tried to lose weight you're probably all too familiar with those cunning little guys called calories, people usually think of them in terms of how fattening a certain product is, so they believe that the fewer calories you consume the more pounds you lose, hate to break it to you but there's a lot more to weight loss than that.

We're about to explore exactly how many calories you need to consume based on your personal situation, so that you can finally get rid of excess weight once and for all, although it may sound pretty tiresome, counting, and cutting down on calories has helped lots of people shed unwanted pounds, the fact of the matter is that you need to consume fewer calories than you burn if you want to lose weight period. How fast that will happen depends on how much you reduce your calorie intake, but it's not a one-size-fits-all type of situation your ideal calorie intake depends on your age, height, size, lifestyle, gender and overall health, at the same time that are some general recommendations.

How many calories should you consume to lose weight

The 2015 to 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans advisement to consume 2,500 calories a day while that number for women is 2,000 , little kids should take in about 1,500 calories a day, while adolescents require a lot more, especially boys for instance an active and rapidly developing male teen from 16 to 18 years old needs roughly 3,200 calories per day, as people get older they need fewer calories, the reason for that is their metabolism slows down, so they need less energy. That's why women aged 19 to 25 need 2,000 calories a day, but that number drops to 1,600 after they turn 51 years old.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if you consume the same number of calories as you burn you're in what's called caloric balance. This way your weight will remain stable and unchanging, if you take in more calories than you burn you're in caloric excess, as a result you put on weight and if you want to lose weight you need to create a calorie deficit, that is you should consume fewer calories than you burn, and that's where the main problem lies. Too many people get overly enthusiastic and start under eating.

But consuming only 800 or 1,000 a thousand calories a day isn't enough to support your body mass during the weight loss process, not to mention you risk messing up your metabolism, or even worse seriously harming your health, so how can you figure out the perfect daily calorie amount that will lead to shedding unwanted pounds without damaging your system? for one you can use an online calorie calculator, any search engine will offer you a number of options to choose from, or you can use the Harris Benedict equation, first of all you'll need to calculate your basic metabolic rate or BMR using the following formulas:

For women 
BMR equals 655+(4.35 x weight in pounds)+(4.7 x heihgt in inches)-(4.7 x age in years).

For men 
BMR equals 66+(6.23 x weight in pounds)+(12.7 x height in inches)-(6.76 x age in years).

Break down the number you get in the end, and then move on to the next step.

Determining your activity factor 
Just choose which of the following best describe your general level of activity throughout the day:

Very light or sedentary
You spend most of your time in a seated position, as for your go-to free time activities they include watching TV, reading, perhaps strolling through the park or doing light household chores. If that sounds like you then your activity factor is 1.2

Light 
You also spend a lot of time sitting down you probably work in an office but you get at least one hour of moderate activity or exercise in your schedule each day, if so your activity factor is 1.375

Moderate 
You perform light physical or manual labour throughout the day, you also get some intensive exercise that lasts no less than half an hour three to four times a week, might be jogging, cycling, swimming, or playing active sports like basketball or tennis, in this case your activity factor is 1.55

Very active 
This will be your level of activity if you exercise for no less than one hour five to seven times a week, or perhaps your occupation demands a lot of physical labor, for example construction work or it playing, carpentry, farming, and so on. If this is the case your activity factor is 1.7

Extreme 
There aren't that many people who have an extreme level of activity, but they do include for instance athletes with demanding and almost non-stop training sessions or people who have an extremely hard physical job, such as steel workers or miners, these people's activity level is 1.9

After you figured out your level of activity, multiply your BMR by your activity factor, the number you get is the number of calories you need to consume every day to maintain your weight, if you want to lose weight try to create a caloric deficit, this will set the wheels in motion, and exactly how big should this caloric deficit be? that of course depends on three things :

1. How much do you exercise per day and in what way? 
You expend calories all the time, but some activities burn way more calories than others, here are several examples of different activities and how many calories you burn doing them for half an hour. For the sake of calculation this is an approximation for a person weighing 125 pounds.

- Simply working on a computer burns 41 calories.
- Weightlifting will burn 90 calories
- Half an hour of water aerobics burns 120 calories
- Walking at a speed of 4.5 miles per hour will expend 150 calories
- Just swimming for half an hour burns 180 calories
- Running at a speed of six miles an hour burns 300 calories
- And even when you're asleep you burn about 19 calories every half hour

2. What's your diet like? 
If you follow a high-protein diet you burn more calories, surprisingly your body needs to make more of an effort to digest and metabolize protein, that's why it's a good idea to alter your diet instead of just eating less.

3. What's your individual metabolism? 
Any calorie calculator including the Harris Benedict equation is based on averages, but you are YOU not some average or generalization!, you can use these numbers at the beginning of your weight loss journey, but later on you'll need to adjust this system to your personal needs as your metabolic rate changes over time.

On average experts recommend cutting down on 500 to 1,000 calories a day to lose one or two pounds of fat in a week, but such a drastic reduction can seriously influence your ability to lose weight in the long run, those pounds you've shed with such difficulty and strict limitations will come right back as soon as you return to your previous calorie intake, that's why you should take it slow and monitor every step you take.

For example, at the end of a two week period check how much weight you've gotten rid of, if you're left dissatisfied with the rate of your weight loss try to include more physical activity before you reduce the number of calories you consume, after that remove another 250 calories from your daily intake and test this approach for two more weeks, there are also some tips on how to burn energy faster so that you can lose weight more efficiently :

Eat a breakfast full of protein and healthy fats
That'll keep you full for longer so that you don't feel the desire to snack throughout the day

Have your meals at the same time 
This will help you burn calories more effectively

Include slow burning calories in your diet 
High-fiber carbohydrates found in quinoa, buckwheat, or beetroot and healthy fats in avocado, fish, and olive oil need more time to release energy, so after eating them you won't get hungry so quickly.

Consume more foods rich in fiber 
Vegetables fruits and whole grains will do you right, change your manner of eating, try to rest between courses and eat slowly, it usually takes your body 20 to 30 minutes to realize it's fall.

Don't ban your favorite fruits from your diet
This will only lead to cravings, feel free to spoil yourself with a treat from time to time, just keep the portions small.

Make a shopping list 
That includes all the products you'll need for healthy meals and snacks and more importantly stick to this list when you go grocery shopping.

What tricks do you use to lose weight? do you count calories? tell us in the comments below and if your wish is to stay healthy and slim.
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