Cutting calories has often mystified even the most qualified health gurus out there. Knowing how much to eat is one of the greatest challenges associated with losing weight, especially with all the low-calorie, fat-free, and sugar-free options out there. Knowing how much we should be eating, and what kinds of food should be making up our diet can get pretty complicated. So before you start planning out your meals for the week, be sure to take a look below to learn just how many calories you should be eating!
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In order to lose weight, you must consume less calories than your body would typically require in order to rebuild cells and generate energy. Determining how many calories you should eat a day to lose weight relies more on a formula than anything else. It depends a great deal on how much you weigh, how tall you are, how active you are, your basal metabolic rate, your sex, and your age. For instance, a 30 year-old moderately active woman, who is 5'5" and weighs 150 pounds, burns about 2,100 calories per day. You can check out your measurements here.
In order to cut calories in a healthy and safe way, it's important that you know how many calories you burn on average during a day. Only then can you determine how many calories you should cut out of your diet in order to lose weight. Generally speaking, 1 pound of body fat contains about 3,500 calories. In order to lose about 1 pound a month, you must cut 100 calories every day. For healthy weight loss, you should aim to lose about half a pound every week. That means you should probably shoot to eliminate about 400 calories from your diet every day.
Seems simple enough, right? Unfortunately, many women eliminate essential foods from their diet in order to make the cut. What you should be eating is just as important as how much you consume on a daily basis. If you are cutting calories, it is essential that you supplement your diet with a variety of nutrient-dense foods. Fruits, veggies, lean proteins, and whole grains should make up the majority of your meals, and most of these foods tend to be lower in calories anyway. For example, there are about 230 calories in a grilled chicken breast, as opposed to nearly 400 calories in a steak filet. Understanding the nutritional value of what you are eating will go a long way in helping you determine what kinds of foods should be on your plate.
Keep in mind that extreme calorie counting can be just as detrimental as saying "screw it" and eating whatever you want. Very low calorie diets often force our body into "starvation mode." This means that your metabolism basically goes into hibernation and your basal metabolic rate decreases exponentially. When you go to eat a larger meal, your body has a harder time processing the food, and all that excess weight you are fighting so hard to lose will continue to hang on!
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Calorie counting can be a great way to meet those weight loss milestones, but make sure you are committed to cutting those calories in a safe manner! For more information, check out our sources: WebMD, and Scientific Psychic.