How many calories to eat to lose weight
If your goal is to lose fat, you know that calories play a key role.
It is through the caloric balance that you can gain, maintain or lose weight.
No matter how hard you train, if you're still in excess calories, your gym adventure won't go smoothly.
And no, it's not just by using theoretically healthy foods that you're going to lose weight.
In addition, the goal is not just to lose weight, but fat, so knowing the number of calories you need becomes even more important to get good results.
So let's get started.
First of all, you need to calculate your basal metabolism.
What is this?
Basal metabolism is the calories your body uses only to keep up and running.
Even if you sleep all day, your body needs calories to function.
To do this calculation, let's use the Mifflin-St Jeor equation.
Calculate basal metabolism
There are differences in the calculation of basal metabolism between men and women, so let's present both equations.
The formulas are as follows.
(10 x Body weight) + (6.25 x Height) ? (5 x Age) + 5 = Basal Metabolism
(10 x Body weight) + (6.25 x Height) ? (5 x Age) ? 161 = Basal Metabolism
Let's call Pedro to exemplify.
Pedro measures 1.80m, weighs 85kg and is 25 years old.
He is determined to lose weight, and he knows that eating is essential to getting good results, so he decides to calculate how many calories he needs each day.
The account for Pedro is as follows.
(10x85) + (6.25x180) ? (5 x 25) + 5
850 + 1125 ? 125 + 5 = 1855
Therefore, Pedro's basal metabolism is approximately 1855 Kcal.
These are the calories your body would burn even if you spent the day at home watching movies.
However, this is only part of the story, as the more activity, the more calories are used.
Now that you know approximately how many calories your body burns at rest, it's time to add the rest.
The more active your day to day, the more calories you will burn.
Below is the table you should use to get an approximate amount of calories you need to keep your weight.
|Little or none||1.2|
Use the value of your basal metabolism and multiply by the level of activity suitable for your case.
If you spend the day doing nothing, not even training, your activity level is little or none.
On the other hand, if you study or have an undemanding office job, and train 3-4 times a week, the ideal will probably be a moderate level.
As for the higher levels, they are for people who not only do several intense workouts per week, but also work in a physically demanding area.
In Pedro's case, he goes to the gym four times a week, and during the day he has a typical office job.
Looking at the table, the correct calculation would be as follows:
1855 x 1.55 = 2875 Kcal
Pedro needs to ingest approximately 2875 Kcal to maintain his current weight of 85 kg.
Calories to lose weight
You already know how many calories you need to maintain your current weight, so now it's simple.
Attention, the goal here is not just to lose weight, but to lose fat and maintain maximum muscle mass.
So, what should you do?
Reduce calories, but not too much.
Let's call Pedro once more to help us.
Bearing in mind that Pedro maintains his current weight by using 2875 Kcal, he will start to ingest 2675 Kcal per day to lose weight.
This is a cautious but intelligent approach, where there is a reduction of just 200 Kcal daily.
The bigger the initial cut, the more likely you are to lose strength, muscle mass and have energy breaks.
You choose to reduce between 200 to 300 Kcal in the first two weeks and then evaluate the results.
To be able to more accurately assess your progress, weigh yourself before reducing calories, and take some pictures.
You can also take measurements of certain parts of the body, such as the belly or legs.
Above all, don't just be guided by the scales.
After two weeks, what kind of results did you get?
Did you lose 1.5kg and see results in the mirror?
Continue what you are doing.
Didn't you lose weight and don't notice any difference in the mirror?
Reduces another 100 or 200 kcal.
Above all, be patient and adjust gradually.
Finally, as you lose weight, you'll eventually need to cut down on the calories you eat, or introduce cardio training to help you out.
This is because the less weight you have, the fewer calories your body will burn.
Losing weight is not about not eating, but about eating smartly.
Having an estimate of the calories you should eat is helpful not only to efficiently lose fat but also to maintain as much muscle mass as possible.
Don't forget that these are only approximate values, as there are too many factors that can influence your caloric expenditure.
Use it as a guide to build your diet, and adjust according to the results, that's the most important thing.
Attention, you don't need to become a food sniper, and be overly strict and precise, especially if you don't have competitive goals.
If your daily calorie value is 2500, it's okay if you eat 2400 one day and 2600 the next.
Finally, it is important to distribute these calories well.
If 90% of your calories are carbohydrates, the results are not going to be good.
You need enough protein, carbohydrates and fat.