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How many calories should I be eating, if I want to lose weight?

Updated on May 20, 2011

Losing Muscle or Fat

If you want to lose fat you will need to reduce your calories below the level needed to maintain your current weight.  A good reference is 13 times your weight in pounds equals the number of calories you are burning on a normal day.

Due to the large amount of healthy food choices that there are today, it is best to divide meals into 4 to 6 groupings per day. Try to keep up on exercise, whether it is walking or perhaps 2-5 intense workouts per week and drink plenty of water.  You should really avoid salty items so that you will not retain water. Water retention can cause you to not show the weight loss success you are getting.

Losing weight without losing Muscle

Weight loss comes from three sources:

  • fat
  • muscle
  • water

What type of weight you lose depends on several factors:

  • kind of exercises you do
  • nutrient levels
  • your genetics

Only the lucky few will lose pure fat without any muscle. But if you've never exercised or weight trained before, you will lose all fat at the start.  After a few months the % will decrease, due to the fact some of your muscle was developed to help you carry around your excess fat.

How Many calories should I be eating, if I want to lose weight?

With losing weight, a calorie deficit is required. Depending on your activity level, hormones, and other factors, this amount can vary from each person. Below is the general rules.

3500 calories = 1 pound

500 less calories a day = 1 lb/week loss

Calories needed to maintain =13 x (your weight)

Example: A 200 lbs man can consume 2100 calories a day without exercise and expect to lose a pound a week.

Once you lose pounds, you will need to adjust your calorie needs, because reduced weight typically means less calories are needed just to maintain it every day. Begin slow and monitor your weight week by week. If you stop losing, then you will need to decrease your food quantity (or increase your workouts) until you start lossing again.

Focus on food quality not quantity and it will be hard not to eat enough to stay full and not feel deprived. See a list of 100 foods that will help give you both.


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    • jdavis88 profile image

      Joseph Davis 

      7 years ago from Florida

      Good hub, excellent work! You broke it down where anyone can understand the basic idea of weight loss by lowering calories.


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