How Many Calories Do I Need To Lose Weight?
10 months ago, 17 Jan 23:29
Calories are those little units of energy we consume whenever we eat, well, anything. And they are arguably the most talked-about part of any weight-loss journey. The general rule is that if you eat more calories than you use, you’ll gain weight. And if you take in fewer calories than you use, you’ll lose weight. And if those numbers are more or less even, your weight will stay about the same. It seems simple, but the number of calories you need to lose weight, maintain weight, or gain weight from lean muscle depends on your activity levels, body size, hormones, sleep, and more, explains registered dietitian Wesley Delbridge, R.D., a spokesman for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. So figuring out how many calories you need per day can be crazy-complicated. And, it's also important to remember that, when it comes to cutting calories for weight loss, lower is not always better. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, your calories should never dip below 1,200. That’s because most women, unless they are very small, will burn more calories than that doing literally nothing, says registered dietitian nutritionist Jonathan Valdez, R.D.N, C.D.N, owner of Genki Nutrition and a spokesperson for the New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Less than that and you could shock your body into starvation mode, which will slow your metabolism, decrease your muscle mass, and likely keep you from getting the nutrients you need to sustain daily activity,” Delbridge explains. Find out what 1,200 calories looks like on 3 popular diets: So, if you're asking yourself, "How many calories do I need a day?" read on as experts explain what you need to know to get your calorie intake just right. In order to figure out how many calories you need to lose, or even gain weight, you first need to determine how many you need to maintain. As a first step, Delbridge recommends checking out the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans, as they can give you a good estimate for what you need to stay the same weight. The guidelines say young women should aim for 1,800 to 2,400 daily calories, depending on age and activity level, but that range isn’t necessarily tailored to your specific needs—so it’s not as precise as it could be. For a more exact number, start by finding your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the minimum number of calories your body burns at rest, suggests physical therapist Grayson Wickham, D.P.T., C.S.C.S., founder of Movement Vault. Your BMR accounts for 60 to 75 percent of your total daily calorie burn, according to a review in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. “To most accurately calculate your BMR, you’d need to go to a lab to have your carbon dioxide and oxygen analyzed after having fasted for 12 hours and slept for eight. But, that can be a little pricey and a rough estimation of your BMR can be found using a few different equations,"says Wickham. One study published by the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found the Mifflin-St. ...
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