Calories are the units of energy that determine whether you add, lose or maintain your weight.
Therefore, if you`re looking to lose weight, it`s crucial that you look up to the suggested calorie intake.
The general rule of thumb is that if you`re looking to lose weight, your calorie intake should be lesser than your calorie output, or rather the calories you expend.
In reality, however, the above metrics are a little complicated than they seem to be.
But before we look at why, let`s first define calories.
What are Calories?
Calorie refers to a unit that measures energy.
This unit is used for measuring the energy content in foods and beverages.
To lose weight, you should consume fewer calories than your body burns each day.
Calorie Intake to Lose Weight
So, what`s the minimum calorie intake should you be taking to experience weight loss?
Well, as we mentioned earlier, this is a difficult question to answer since there’s a gamut of factors influence your exact calorie intake.
Let`s look at some of this factors.
Gender plays an important role when we`re looking at calorie intake and weight loss.
All things are equal; men tend to burn more calories than women even of the same age.
This is because men are more muscular, and the muscles increase metabolism by burning more muscles, even when men are sleeping.
Therefore, comparatively, men are required to consume more calories than women.
Your activity level will determine the number of calories you need to consume to lose weight.
For instance, if you`re an active person, you will burn more calories than an individual who lives a sedentary lifestyle.
Individuals who live a sedentary life don`t perform any activity, meaning they don’t use much of the calories. On the other hand, active people engage in activities that use up their calories.
This is to mean that if you`re considering losing weight using calorie intake, you`ll also need to factor in your activity levels.
Normally, the calorific needs of human beings peak at age 25, when they`re most energetic and full of life. After that, the calorie needs gradually decline by roughly 2% for every 10 years.
This is to mean if you`re 25 and say you need 2,200 calories to maintain weight; you`ll need 2,113 by age 45 and 2,071 at age 55 and so on.
Remember that as you age, your body replaces your muscles with fat. Unlike muscles, fat burn fewer calories.
Our bodies have different metabolic rates.
Metabolism refers to the rate at which our body breaks down the food we eat and convert to energy.
Individuals with higher metabolism mean that they`ll have to eat frequently, or rather more will need a greater calorie intake because they break down their food much faster.
Body Size and Shape
As we mentioned earlier, muscular bodies burn more calories than fat does.
Therefore, if you have a solid shape with a greater proportion of muscle to fat, your metabolism is higher, and this translate to greater calorie intake.
Conversely, if you have a body with more fat and less of muscles, you will have a lower metabolism, and you`re at a greater risk of storing fat.
These among other factors will affect your calorie intake.
To figure out how many calories you should be eating in a day, you need to determine how many calories you roughly need.
In many cases, your metabolic rate or BMR is used to approximate how many calories you need.
To get your BMR, you`ll need to;
- Measure your current weight
- Multiply the weight with 11 if you`re a man and 10 if you`re a woman
This is to mean if you`re a 200-pound woman, you`ll need to consume roughly 2,000 calories a day. On the other hand, if you`re a 150-pound man, you`ll need to consume 1,650 calories a day.
However, the BMR is the minimum amount of energy your body needs at rest, meaning you`ll have to take additional calories for other activities.
Whatever happens, it`s essential that your BMR never falls below 1,200 calories. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics asserts that this figure is the fats and safe rule for safe weight loss.
If your BMR goes below this rate, your metabolic rate might severely get affected and might see your body “eating” your muscles.
How Many Calories Do I Need for Weight Loss?
Now that you have a rough idea of how many calories your body needs to stay functioning, you`ll need to figure your minimum calorie intake for weight loss.
To lose weight, you`ll need to cut the calories from your maintenance mode.
However, weight loss by calorie intake is not only achievable by creating deficit solely by consuming less, but it can also be achieved by working out.
Working out will not only take the pressure of limiting your consumption, but it`s also good for your health.
The guide above is a good way to make your calorie consumption go in line with your weight loss goals.
However, as you`ve seen, it`s an arduous task to keep on measuring your calories while factoring in other metrics.
An easier way to do this is by using a calorie calculator.
A calorie calculator allows you to track your food and calorie intake.
Some of the popular calorie calculators include; Lose It!, FatSecret, Cron-o-meter, SparkPeople among others.
Our favorite, however, is MyFitnessPal.
What is MyFitnessPal?
It`s a popular app that will track your weight and daily calorie requirement for weight loss.
Using an extensive nutrition database with over 5 million foods, the app paints a clear picture of the calories consumed in a day, recommended intake, and the number of calories you`ve burned by exercising.
What are the Exact Calories Needed to Lose Weight?
As a fitness enthusiast, I know that you have a thing with figures.
According to Healthline, an average and fully-grown man requires 200 calories to lose a pound of weight in a week.
Again, this will depend on an array of factors, which we`ve seen above.