Wondering about your calorie intake to lose weight? Just how many calories to you personally need to take off the pounds quickly and safely? One of the main reasons people don’t see the weight loss they want is because they don’t properly calculate (or even think about) their personal calorie limit. But this is crucial to do – especially if you’re doing it yourself and not with a diet delivery service. You don’t want to waste time following a diet plan – only to find out it doesn’t work because your calories are off.
To lose weight, you want to be able to create what’s referred to as a ‘calorie deficit’ in the body. A calorie deficit means you take in fewer calories than what you burn off over the course of the day. As you do this, you force your body to turn to body fat as a fuel source – and you lose weight in all the right places. So how many calories should you eat per day in order to see weight loss?
This amount varies across people, depending on certain factors. Here are the main factors you should be considering before you arrive at a final calorie total:
Your Lean Body Mass
The very first thing to consider is your lean body mass. Muscle is highly metabolically active tissue, meaning the more of it you have, the faster you’re going to lose weight. This is why those who work out regularly with weights will burn up calories far faster throughout the day and find it easier to lose weight.
Your Age and Gender
Age and gender also play a role. Younger people typically have slightly higher daily calorie burn than older people simply because they are more active.
Second, also consider your gender. Since men do typically have more lean muscle mass than females, this can also increase their total calorie burn (sorry ladies!) and thus cause them to require more calories on a day to day basis.
So for example men might need 2000 calories per day to lose weight while women would need to cut down to 1500 calories per day – just because the man has more muscle and therefore more metabolically active tissue.
Your Activity Level
This is basically how much exercise you get on a daily basis. For example, I have a friend that always loses weight on vacations – because she goes places where she walks all day (like Disney or on walking tours). While she eats more, her activity level if much higher than normal, so she loses weight. If you’re exercising five times per week, you’ll need a higher calorie intake to lose weight than someone who only exercises once or twice per week. A higher activity level means you can eat more calories and still lose weight.
A more sedentary lifestyle means you need fewer calories per day to lose weight. Your activity level accounts for everything from having an active job where you stand on your feet for hours at a time to the fact that you play tag with your kids every day. Also remember to account for any muscle building activity you do as well.
Your Weight Loss Goals
Finally, the last thing to think about is your weight loss goals – how fast you want to lose weight. Keep in mind that to lose one pound of body weight, you should be aiming to create a calorie deficit of around 3500 calories. This equals one pound of pure body fat. So to lose one pound per week, create a calorie deficit of around 500 calories.
To lose two pounds per week, aim for 1000 calories per day. Most diet food delivery services aim for 2 – 3 pounds per week with a 1200 – 1500 calorie a day diet.
Average Numbers for Males and Females
Most women will do best eating around 1200-1500 calories per day depending on their current body weight and activity level. Men on the other hand should take this a bit higher, typically to 1500-1800 calories per day. If they have a high amount of lean muscle mass, then 2000 calories may be more appropriate.
So that’s basically all you need to know about how to calculate how much you should be eating in order to lose weight. Remember that cutting calories drastically is NOT a good long term strategy and can be dangerous.
If you feel you need help losing weight (or just don’t have the time to do all the calorie-counting yourself), you might want to try a delivery service like Diet To Go.
They let you choose your plan (low fat, low carb or vegetarian) and do all the meal preparation for you. You won’t have to worry about a thing – just heat and eat. Regardless of what you decide to do, make sure you consult your doctor before making any serious changes in your eating or diet plans. Good luck!