Listen, If I had the answer to that question, I would certainly be telling you. Sorry to sound like such a smarty pants, but the reality is that there really is no set answer. I guess the best answer to the question of “How many calories should I eat to lose weight” is less than what you are eating now! Right? It just makes common sense and I’m a big believer in that. See, no matter how many lose weight articles that you have read giving you advice, or diets that you might have tried, there really is only 2 ways to lose weight. The first is consuming less calories that you currently are doing and the second is to burn more calories than you consume on a daily basis. Period. And the magic really starts to happen when you combine both at once! But quite frankly, that isn’t the easiest thing to do for most people. If it was, the diet and all the so called lose weight gurus would be out of business. Wouldn’t you agree?
Now since you want a better handle on the question of “How many calories should I eat to lose weight” , I found a interesting article from the University Of Maryland Medical Center that was a good dose of common sense advice. The following is an excerpt about the whole calorie debate:
USDA Food Plate “As a rough rule of thumb, one pound of body fat is the result of eating about 3,500 calories. A person could lose a pound a week by reducing daily caloric intake by about 500 calories a day. Naturally, the more severe the daily calorie restriction, the faster the weight loss. Very-low calorie diets have also been associated with better success, but extreme diets can have some serious health consequences.
To determine your daily calories requirements, multiply the number of pounds of ideal weight by 12 – 15 calories. The number of calories per pound depends on gender, age, and activity levels. For instance, a 50-year old woman who wants to maintain a weight of 135 pounds and is mildly active might require only 12 calories per pound (1,620 calories a day). A 25-year old female athlete who wants to maintain the same weight might need 25 calories per pound 2,025 (calories a day).
Fat intake should be no more than 30% of total calories. Most fats should be in the form of monounsaturated fats (such as olive oil). Saturated fats (found in animal products) should be avoided.
Common sense right? Reduce what goes in and start becoming more active. Hopefully you also paid attention to the part about “extreme diets” because some people do choose to try and go down this path and according to The Medical Center, it can lead to disasterous results. So please don’t think that if you eat just 500 calories a day you are doing yourself any favors. More than likely you will do yourself more than harm than good. Remember, the battle to lose weight is a slow and steady process and not something that is achieved overnight!
I came across a quote by author Marion Nestle from the book “Food Politics” which just about sums up my feelings on the whole issue of just how many calories should I eat to lose weight and here it is:
“As to how many calories you personally need, I think they are too difficult for most people to count accurately to bother. The bottom line: If you are eating too many, you will be gaining weight. The best advice I can give is to get a scale and use it. If your weight starts creeping up, you have to eat less.”
Gee, pretty much summed up in a nutshell don’t you think? Now if you read this far, and you agree, please share it. And if you are so inclined, leave a comment and share your ideas on the subject!