How to Count Calories When Losing Weight
Knowing how to count calories when losing weight plays an important role in your diet. If you want to lose weight you should start by eating less than what your body needs because eating more than what you need means you are taking more food which mostly is stored as fat. Counting your calorie intake will make it easier for you to lose weight when on a diet. So, if you know the calorie content of your food, you can get away with high - calorie foods and go for low - calorie foods that will allow you to lose weight while satisfying your nutritional needs.
What is a calorie and how much calories does your body need? A calorie is the amount of energy to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celcius. The calories in your foods are actually kilocalories or 1000 calories and provide a measure of the energy content of the food.
The number of calories your body needs will depend on your body and level of activity. A large person needs more calories than a small person while an active person needs more calories than an inactive person and males need more calories than women. Learning how to count calories means you need to know the minimum amount of energy you need when resting. This is called the Basal Metabolic Rate and it can be determined by using the Mifflin - St Jeor equations. In these equations you need to provide your weight in kilograms, height in centimeters and age in years. BMR should be multiplied by an activity factor to estimate your daily calorie requirements but you have to be sure that you provide a good estimate of your activities like if you're lightly active, moderately active, very active, extra active or sedentary.
Male: BMR = 10 * weight + 6.25 * height - 5 * age + 5
Female: BMR = 10 * weight + 6.25 * height - 5 * age - 161
How does knowing how to count calories help in losing weight? Knowing how to count the calories your body needs means you can set the calorie needs for the body you would like to have. Your target weight should be below the normal Body Mass Index. Say for example you're a female who is lightly active, 35 years old with a height of 5 feet and 6 inches and weigh 160 pounds you will approximate need 1,978 calories per day in maintaining your weight. Now, if you want to weigh 145 pounds, you can set your calculations by changing your weight to 145 instead of 160 and you will get 1,884 calories to maintain a weight of 145 pounds. There's a 100 calories per day difference.
Since one pound of body fat is about 3,500 calories you can reduce it by 100 calories per day and this will cause you to lose one pound in 35 days and lose 15 pounds in one year and a half and meet your target weight.
If you really want to lose weight fast this is possible but you should not reduce your calorie intake below 1,300 calories per day because this kind of diet is not sustainable and it is quite hard to obtain all the necessary nutrients your body needs in a low calorie diet.
The best diet when losing weight is one that you can maintain for several months or years until eating healthy becomes your way of life. As a general rule you should not lessen your calorie intake below 15% of the calories required of your target weight and activity level. If you know how to count calories it is much easier for you to lose weight.