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How many calories should I eat to lose weight?

Updated on October 14, 2016

When people are looking to lose weight the first thing they generally research is calories. There is so much information out there on the subject of calories that it can be quite difficult to work out how many calories you should eat in order to lose weight. To make things even more confusing – when you take into account genetics and metabolism - there is actually no set number of calories that will guarantee weight loss. Do not be disheartened though, as you can still apply the golden rule to your calorie intake and achieve great weight loss.

The Golden Rule of Calorie Consumption

When using calorie control as a way to lose weight, one golden rule will always apply. If you consume fewer calories than you use each day then you will start to lose weight, that is almost always true. For men, the recommended daily calorie intake is 2500 calories and for women it is 2000 calories. In theory then, if you eat less than that amount of calories each day then you should lose weight. Don’t forget though that these figures are based on AVERAGE amounts. There are many people out there who are extremely physically active and they will therefore burn a lot more calories each day than someone who leads a less active lifestyle. This is why there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to how many calories are needed for weight loss.

To work out how many calories you need for weight loss then, you first have to work out how many calories you burn in your own average daily routine. There are many online calorie calculators that can help you to work this out. Remember to be honest when filling out the fields though, if you truly want to lose weight then it’s no good lying to yourself.

Making a Diet Plan

Once you have worked out how many calories you burn each day you will then be able make a diet plan containing just the right amount of calories in order for you to lose weight. When making a diet plan, don’t forget to include all of the calories you eat AND drink. Many people ignore the calories they consume in drinks and also the sugar contained in them or the extra sugar we put into them.

You also need to be realistic in a diet plan. Rather than being too strict with yourself only to binge uncontrollably when you get fed up, why not build the odd treat into your diet plan so that you can maintain control while still having a few pleasures in your diet.

Don’t Just Rely on Cutting Calories

While cutting calories might lead to some serious weight loss, I’m a firm believer that just as much focus should be placed on regular exercise as it is on calorie cutting. Why?

Cutting calories will help with weight loss but it won’t necessarily make you healthy, we only have to look to the amount of people who suffer with unhealthy eating disorders for proof of that. Concentrating more on exercise as a route to weight loss will not only help you to lose weight, it will also improve muscle tone, increase energy levels and it will just improve your general health in most areas. Regular exercise will also allow you to enjoy a more full diet while at the same time losing weight.

So How Many Calories Should You be Eating to Lose Weight?

As we can see from our discussion there really is no firm answer to this question. If you want to go off the average recommended daily allowance of 2500 calories for men and 2000 calories for women then that is fine, but this won’t guarantee that you will lose weight. Instead, work out how many calories you use each day using an online daily calorie calculator and then make a diet or meal plan that contains a lower amount than your personal daily average. If you do this then you will almost certainly lose weight. To aid the process and to make sure that you remain toned and physically fit be sure to make an exercise plan too.


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    • nutritionhub profile image

      nutritionhub 3 years ago

      Thanks MAYF!

    • meltawayyourfat profile image

      Inga 4 years ago from New York

      Thanks. good info. :)

    • nutritionhub profile image

      nutritionhub 4 years ago

      Thanks Alphadogg. Yes I'm not advocating extreme dieting here. If you are consuming less calories than you burn on a consistent basis though then I believe you will almost certainly lose weight, how you go about it however will define the type of weight you lose, at least in the short term. As you say extreme dieting could cause the body to store fat and even gentle dieting might have the same effect on a temporary basis while the body adjusts to your new eating plan, the same can also be true with a switch to healthy eating if your body is not used to it. As mentioned in the article I prefer regular exercise coupled with sensible eating as a route to sustained weight loss. What I was trying to get across here is that there are no hard and fast rules on the amount of calories required for weight loss for any given person.

    • Alphadogg16 profile image

      Kevin W 4 years ago from Texas

      Interesting take on weight loss nutrition hub. Learning to eat healthy/better eating habits is a lot more beneficial in the long run rather than calorie counting, and consuming less calories than you use does not guarantee weight loss. Depending on the the type of calories consumed, this could send the body into starvation mode and it will store everything eaten in order to protect/preserve itself.