Before we dive into this article, let me tell you my story. We have been told that we need to reduce our calories to lose weight and I joined the dieting train. It was awesome – the math was simple: reduce the amount of calories you take in and you will lose weight. I as losing weight and I was working out so I decided to cut the calories even further. After a while, I realized I was no longer losing weight. I worked out and starved myself even more but there was no change – my weight stayed the same for 3 whole months.
WHAT IS A CALORIE?
A calorie is the unit of energy for your body and the ratio of your calories input and output determines your weight loss…or gain. If you use up 2000 calories in a day and you eat 1300 calories every day, you will lose weight. If you use up 2000 calories in a day but consume 2500 calories, you will gain weight. Must See = How many calories should I eat to lose weight
IS IT ALWAYS SO?
If that is the case, why did I stop losing weight after I reduced my calories to a bare minimum? The answer is that the body is a complex machine and it is always working to make sure you – the host – survive. When you reduce your calories, your body looks for alternative sources of energy (calories) and in most cases, it is stored fat which ends up being converted to energy and that is why you lose weight when you reduce calories. However, it is not the same when you reduce your calories too much.
This is when your body slows down metabolism so much that it is impossible for you to lose weight and it happens when your body is not getting enough energy. When your calorie intake is at such a deficit that it confuses your body, it slows things down because it is trying to conserve what little energy it has left (so that you can survive).
What this means is that we have a flip side of the coin. Do not eat too much so that you will not add weight – and do not eat too little that you can no longer lose weight.
HOW DO WE BALANCE IT?
This is where the crux of the matter is. How do we know the right amount of calories to eat in order to lose weight, or maintain the weight we already have? There are a number of methods which help us watch our calories and know exactly where we stand when it comes to the amount which we should consume each day.
HOW MANY CALORIES IN A POUND?
This is one thing we ought to know. There are 3500 calories in a pound of fat (scary right?) so if you want to lose a pound of fat, then reduce the amount of calories you eat by 500 each day and in exactly one week, you would have lost one pound of fat. This is basic math but we will take an example.
Imagine a man who usually consumes about 3000 calories a day (surely he is overweight) and he wants to start losing weight but has not time for exercise or even dieting. All he would have to do is start to watch his meals and take off just 500 calories each day. Should he start eating 2500 every day, in a week her would have lose one pound of fat and should he be consistent, he would be on a weight loss spree with no exercise.
BASAL METABOLIC RATE (BMR)
This is the amount of calories you burn everyday while doing nothing at all. For your body to function, what I mean here is the fact that even if you are lying on your bed all day, your blood is pumping, digestion is taking place and your immune system is working – these take calories and even if you are not active, the fact that you are alive means that you are constantly burning calories. By knowing your BMR, you can better know how many calories to consume in a day.
To calculate your BMR, there is a formula
For women: BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)
For men: BMR = 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years).
Let’s make this slightly easier with an example. Take a woman who is 27 years of age, at 202 pounds and 66 inches height
To calculate her BMR, we would do:
655 + (4.35 x 202) + (4.7 x 66) – (4.7 x 27)
= 655 + 878.7 + 310.2 – 126.9
Would you look at that? So even without physical activity, this is what she burns in a day. And we know that physical activity such as exercise increases the BMR so with this knowledge, one could transform their lives and their health in general because they know exactly how to reduce their calories to lose weight.
How many calories do I burn a day? The answer to this question changes depending on a number of factors and one of those is muscle cannibalization. This is when your body starts to eat up muscle in order to keep your energy levels up. The question mark here is that you need muscle to burn fat and the less muscle tissue you have, the slower you burn calories.
Muscle cannibalization, like starvation mode, happens when you have so dropped your calories that your body starts getting desperate for energy. It has to scout through stored energy and if it cannot find enough fat, it digs into the muscle to gain calories.
REGULATING THE CALORIES YOU EAT
This is necessary if we are to progress. We do not want to be in a place where we startve our bodies because we are watching calories. SO there are ways we can safely reduce calories so that we still lose weight and give our bodies enough energy so it doesn’t have to go into starvation mode and hold onto fat.
This is one of the safest ways you can lose weight without starving yourself. As earlier stated, when you exercise, your BMR increases and that is awesome for your weight. So with exercise, first off, you do not have to reduce your calories in terms of food to the barest minimum and you will not have to feel like you are starving and at a loss of energy all the time.
This is a dieting plan where you get to restrict eating to certain times of the day while you fast for the rest f the day.
There are different patterns to intermittent fasting and they all work wonders. It is advised, however that you choose the one that best fits your own schedule. Keisha Plus shares her experience where she lost 60 pounds in 5 months. She used intermittent fasting to accomplish remarkable results and you can see her story here. www.youtu.be/AtpkgSEfalc
This is a crucial way to watch your calories. The body actually survives on the nutrients it gets from food and not the food itself so if you eat just 500 calories a day and you are even eating nutrition whole foods, then you do your body more harm than good. Focus on eating more fruits and vegetables and whole foods when you do eat as these foods will supply your body with not only calories with the needed vitamins and minerals to repair cells and help with weight loss and maintenance.
Eating the right amount of calories is key to your weight loss. It can be no other way. IF you have ever been in a place where you ask yourself any of the following questions, how many calories should i eat to lose weight? Or how many calories should i eat a day? Then this article has answered those questions explicitly. You weight is totally within your control and it is by obeying simple rules that you will achieve the weight you have always dreamed of.
In my experience, finally, too little or too much calories both are unhealthy. Keeping the balance then becomes the ultimate goal for a healthy weight range. If you have gotten to a plateau in your weight loss, check your progress and know whether it is safe to remain at that weight or you want to trim down even more. Most times, our bodies know the right weight range for our height and build so plateaus may not necessarily be a bad thing.
Bottom line is that you want to know you BMR and other technical terms when it comes to your weight/health connection so you stay within the right amount of calories to lose weight.