Many people turn to the latest fad diet to lose weight. There’s a wedding coming up, or the summer holidays are just around the corner, so they want to look good. They want to lose a stone in a week and keep it off.
Does this sound familiar? The internet is full of hype, especially when it comes to dieting and weight loss. You see these adverts promising outrageous results, but the truth is they just don’t work.
People waste time and money (and threaten their health) moving from one fad diet to the next. Until, in despair, they give up dieting. Well there is a way to lose weight and keep it off. It isn’t a magic diet, there’s no miracle weight loss cure. It just takes a little bit of knowledge and some effort on your part.
So what do you have to do?
Count calories! The old fashioned way. It really is the only way to take control of your own destiny, and lose your excess weight and keep it off. And it’s the only way to diet whilst enjoying the foods that you like.
Yeah, counting calories isn’t a sexy diet. But what do you want, a sexy diet with loads of hype that doesn’t work? Or a diet that does work? I know what I went for.
So what is my calorie intake to lose weight now that I am going to count calories?
Now that you’ve ditched the fad diets, you need to understand about your body’s energy needs.
The average women requires a total of 2000 calories per day to sustain all bodily functions and physical activity. For a man it is much higher at around 2500 calories per day.
If you were to eat more than this, day after day, then you will gradually gain weight. You’ll become fatter. The rate at which you become fatter depends on how many calories over these amounts you regularly eat. All those excess calories that you don’t burn off will be converted to and stored as fat.
But, if you were to eat less than these average daily requirements, that is burn more calories than you taken in from your food, then over time you will gradually lose weight. This is because, to supplement the energy you would take from your food, you body will start eating into your fat stores to make up your daily 2000 calorie energy requirement (or 2500 calories if you are male). This is known as calorie deficit.
And this last point is the key to your weight loss. If you don’t follow this, if you aren’t in calorie deficit, then you won’t lose weight.
Let me put this another, more succinct way.
If you burn off more calories than you consume, then you will lose weight
Without WAM (that is Willpower and Motivation) then sticking to your diet will be almost impossible. So do yourself a favour. Copy the statement on a piece of paper in big, bold letters and pin it somewhere that you will see it often. Pin it to your fridge, or beside your computer. The more you see it the better, as it will remind you that need to be in calorie deficit to lose weight.
Calorie deficit and my calorie intake to lose weight
In 1 pound of human fat, in every pound of fat under your skin, there is 3500 calories of energy. You should remember this, as it is extremely useful for your weight loss efforts.
This means that when you are 3500 calories in deficit you will have lost 1 pound of fat. When you jump on the scales, it’ll show you as 1 pound lighter.
So if you average this out over a week, a daily calorie deficit of only 500 calories will lead to a weight loss of 1 pound per week. All you have to do is remain in calorie deficit until you reach your ideal weight.
You should note, however, that a daily calorie deficit of 500 calories should be about the maximum deficit. Any more than this and you could suffer from burnout, or at the very least you would start to feel lethargic. If this happens then all the motivation in the world won’t stop you from scoffing your face and gorging yourself.
But limiting yourself to a daily calorie deficit of 500 calories does not mean you are limited to only 1 pound of weight loss per week. There are other ways to achieve calorie deficit.
Add Exercise and NEAT to your lifestyle and increase your calorie deficit
The obvious way to burn more calories is to add some exercise to your lifestyle. The more you do, the more calories you burn.
Even moderate exercise can increase your calorie deficit by a large amount. An hour’s brisk walk can burn around 400 calories. If you were to do this a few times a week, you can see how your calorie deficit, over the weeks and months ahead, can really build up to a substantial amount of weight loss. But you don’t even have to include exercise in you plan to increase your calorie deficit and weight loss. NEAT, or non-exercise activity thermogenesis, is really becoming more and more popular and making a lot of publicity in recent years.
It basically tells you to get off your butt to burn calories. Just do the simple things like stand up and pace the room whilst you are on the phone. (If you think about it, you might spend up to several hours per week on the phone, which could be turned in to calorie deficit.)
Or take the stairs at work or the shopping mall rather than the elevator. Or jump off the bus one stop earlier. Do more gardening and housework. Just get up out of that chair!