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Calories: How Much Should You Eat to Lose Weight?

Calories: How Much Should You Eat to Lose Weight?
Kevin Cleary

The food that we eat has a direct impact on our weight. What and how much we eat can determine if we are a healthy weight, underweight, or overweight. If your goal is to lose weight, the question becomes how many calories should I take in daily? While this may seem like a straightforward question, it is not necessarily a one-size-fits-all answer. There are many factors that can go into determining how many calories are appropriate for you in order to lose weight. We here at HPFY can give you some insight into how many calories may help you lose weight.

Weight Measurement

USDA Standards for Weight Control

We normally eat when we are hungry, but is this the best way to determine how many calories we should be eating? Probably not!! I’m sure we have all done it and have headed to the fridge purely out of boredom. We also can have a bad habit of eating for flavor or taste well after we have satisfied our hunger. Needless to say, these are behaviors that will lead to weight gain. So how do we know what the proper number of calories are to maintain a healthy weight or even lose weight? Unfortunately, there are factors that can impact this amount and they can include:

  • Gender
  • Activity level
  • Age
  • Height
  • Weight

Estimates of calorie departments can range from 1600-2400 Cal per day for adult women and 1400-3200 Cal a day for adult men. With both estimated numbers, the low-end is for those who lead a more sedentary life and the higher caloric intake is for more active individuals. As we age, it is normal for our caloric needs to decline. Young children require roughly 1000-2000 Cal per day and can increase to 1400-3200 Cal per day as they age with boys having a higher caloric need than girls. The chart below gives you a good idea of your caloric needs to maintain a healthy weight.

Estimates of Calorie Departments

Guidelines for Weight Loss

Our weight can be directly related to what we eat, so what should our caloric needs be if we want to lose weight? The basic mathematical equation for losing weight is to ingest less calories per day venue burn off. Seems simple, doesn’t it? Ahh, if it was that easy!! Daily the average woman who requires 2000 Cal per day may need to ingest 1500 Cal per day in order to lose 1 pound per week, whereas the average male who requires 2500 Cal per day to maintain healthy weight should look to ingest 2000 Cal in order to lose 1 pound per week. These guidelines can be influenced by factors such as age, height, current weight, and activity levels. These caloric needs can even be influence by metabolic health. A calorie is just a measure of energy and in order to lose weight you need to burn more energy than you take in. Of course, exercise is a large component of weight loss, so the theory is eat less, move more. So how do you lose weight without starving yourself? Some options include:

  • Protein: Increasing your protein intake can increase your metabolic rate and curb your appetite. This makes your body an efficient calorie-burning machine.
  • Avoid Drinking Sugar: Sugary drinks such as soda or fruit juices are laden with sugars that are incompatible with weight loss. Opt for club soda or drinks without high levels of sugar to maximize weight loss.
  • H2O: It’s a great idea to drink more water for a number of reasons and losing weight is one of them. Approximately eight glasses of water can burn off approximately 96 more calories per day. It can also help you curb your appetite with more water before meals.
  • Exercise: Duh, pretty obvious huh!! Exercise burns calories and that is the goal of anyone hoping to lose weight. By paring a reduced calorie diet with exercise, weight loss is maximized. Weightlifting anaerobic exercises are great for shedding those pounds.
  • Carbs Taboo: Carbohydrates can be a detriment (especially for those with type II diabetes). A diet low in carbohydrates can assist in your weight loss plans. If you must eat carbs, trying to eat carbohydrates that have higher fiber content.

Losing weight requires dedication and perseverance but understanding the impact calories have on your weight is just as important. There is an old computer saying that goes “garbage in, garbage out” and the same can be said for your diet. By eating a healthy, lower-calorie diet you can maximize your chances of success for losing weight dramatically. Always, consult your physician before you start any type of diet plan or seek out the advice of a professional nutritionist/dietitian. Eat well and stay healthy!!


Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.

HPFY Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary has been a Health Products For You contributor for many years and has a degree in marketing. His health and wellness journey has a very personal meaning and has guided him in his content writing for HPFY.

In 2006, ...

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