Calorie Intake: Why It Matters and How It Aids Weight Loss
When you’re trying to shed extra pounds, tracking your calorie intake can be extra helpful. The successful weight loss journey should always start with learning how to count calories. However, dieters forget about it and that’s a main reason why they fail.
If you strive to get skinny and maintain healthy weight, it’s essential to know how calories apply to your weight and why you shouldn’t be afraid of them. Read on.
What’s the link between the body and calories?
A calorie isn’t a piece of food – like many think – it’s actually a unit of energy. Your body uses this energy to perform the basic biological functions, including your daily activities. The calorie intake depends on numerous factors like metabolic health, activity levels, weight, height, age, etc. Women should consume around 2000 calories per day while men need about 2500 calories. People trying to lose weight should consume fewer calories than they burn during the day in order to create a calorie deficit.
What’s a calorie deficit?
A calorie deficit is essential for weight loss. Whichever food you eat, it supplies your body with energy but in the form of calories. Although calories are vital for the body’s functions, we tend to eat more than the body needs, leading to calorie excess. If you don’t burn those calories, they get stored as fat.
On the other hand, when you eat less, you create a calorie deficit. This way, your body starts getting fuel or energy from the stored fat, as you don’t provide it with the calories it needs to function properly. When the body starts burning fat for energy, you start losing weight. That’s one of the primary reasons why your daily calorie intake matters.
How many calories do you need?
Experts claim a woman should consume 1500 calories to drop at least one pound per week while a man needs 2000 calories. These numbers aren’t accurate, though. There are a few ways to find out how many calories you need daily in order to lose and maintain healthy weight. You can find numerous calorie calculators and formulas online, like this one:
Once you find out how many calories you need to keep a healthy weight, come up with your own caloric goal for weight loss. Generally, it’s enough to cut 500 calories daily to shed one pound weekly. If you strive to get skinny fast, aim to achieve a 1000 calorie deficit per week to shed two pounds weekly. Don’t forget that you shouldn’t starve yourself to create a calorie deficit. All you should do is just embrace portion control and track your calorie intake.
How can you control your portion sizes?
When you control your portions, it’s much easier to count calories and slim down. Even if you consume high-calorie food, you can still create a calorie deficit by eating smaller portions. Use a digital kitchen scale or a simple measuring cup to measure your meal ingredients. Be sure to read the nutrition labels, too. Before you calculate your portion size though, you need to know how many calories you should consume throughout a day. Once you find it out (use the calculator above), start planning your daily menu by calculating how many calories you can consume per meal course to stay within your calorie limit.
Avoid eating out of the bag or box and use smaller bowls and plates when serving food. These simple tricks will make a huge difference in your calorie intake.
How can you create a calorie deficit?
There are two most effective ways to create a calorie deficit without starving yourself:
- Combine exercise and diet. Even if you eat fewer calories per day, you still have to exercise to achieve the 3500 calorie deficit. Increase your activity level by taking daily strolls in the park or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Eat less food. Opt for low-calorie foods, cut back on snacking, and reduce your portion sizes. Eat slowly since it takes 15-20 minutes to feel full after you begin eating.
Your calorie intake definitely matters and it does help to slim down. Take baby steps and make small eating changes each day. Once you create your calorie deficit, your weight loss journey will become much easier.