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 calorie balance that you can gain, maintain or lose weight.
No matter how hard you train, if you continue to have a caloric surplus, your adventure at the gym won't go as smoothly as possible.
And no, just eating theoretically healthy foods doesn't mean you'll lose weight.
Furthermore, the objective is not just to lose weight, but fat, and therefore, knowing the number of calories you need becomes even more important to achieve 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 just to remain in operation.
Even if you spend the day sleeping, your body needs calories to function.
To make this calculation, we will use the Mifflin-St Jeor equation.
Calculate basal metabolism
There are differences in calculating basal metabolism between men and women, therefore, we will 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 is 1.80m tall, weighs 85kg and is 25 years old.
He is determined to lose weight, and knows that nutrition is essential to achieve good results, so he decides to calculate how many calories he needs daily.
The account for Pedro is as follows.
(10 x 85) + (6.25 x 180) ? (5 x 25) + 5
850 + 1125 ? 125 + 5 = 1855
Therefore, Pedro's basal metabolism is approximately 1855 Kcal.
These are the calories that your body would burn even if you stayed at home all day 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 daily life, the more calories you will burn.
Below is the table that you should use to obtain an approximate value of the calories you need to maintain your weight.
|Little or none||1.2|
Use the value of your basal metabolism and multiply it by the appropriate activity level for you.
If you spend the day doing nothing, not even training, your activity level will be little or none.
On the other hand, if you study or have a less demanding office job, and train 3 to 4 times a week, the ideal level will probably be moderate.
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 85kg.
Calories to lose weight
You already know how many calories you need to maintain your current weight, so now it's simple.
Attention, the objective 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 once again call Pedro to help us.
Taking into account 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, in which there is a reduction of just 200 Kcal per day.
The greater the initial cut, the greater the likelihood of losing strength, muscle mass and energy drops.
Choose to reduce between 200 and 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 photos.
You can also take some measurements of certain parts of the body, such as the belly or legs.
Above all, don't just be guided by the scale.
After two weeks, what kind of results did you get?
Have you lost 1.5kg and noticed results in the mirror?
Continue what you're doing.
Haven't you lost weight and don't notice any difference in the mirror?
Reduce another 100 or 200 kcal.
Above all, be patient and adjust gradually.
Finally, as you lose weight, you will eventually need to reduce the calories you eat, or introduce cardio training to help you.
This is because the less weight you have, the fewer calories your body will burn.
Losing weight is not about stopping eating, but about eating intelligently.
Having an estimate of the calories you should eat is useful, not only for losing fat efficiently but also for maintaining as much muscle mass as possible.
Don't forget that these are just approximate values, as there are too many factors that can influence your calorie 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 excessively rigorous and precise, especially if you don't have competitive goals.
If your daily calorie value is 2500, there is no problem 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 will not be good.
You need enough proteins, carbohydrates and fats.