Wednesday, 11 November 2015

How Many Calories Should You Eat to Lose Weight?

Flummoxed by what you need to eat to lose weight? We can explain it all for you, as well as how to exercise to drop those kilos.

It doesn't matter how many kilograms you want to lose, whether you're trying to shed 5kg or 50kg the way to get there is exactly the same.
Remember the simple weight-loss mantra: calories in versus calories out.
In other words, the number of calories you eat has to be smaller than the number of calories you burn in order for you to lose weight.

How Many 'Calories In' to Lose Weight?

One of the first questions people embarking on a weight-loss journey ask is: exactly how much should I eat a day to lose weight?
12WBT's experts suggest that women eat 1200 calories a day and men eat 1800 a day when they're trying to lose weight.
For women, that means three 300-calorie meals and a total of 300 calories in snacks during the day, whereas for men meals can be 450 calories each, with snacks adding up to 450 in total.
Even if you're feeling extra motivated and want to fast-track your weight loss, don't be tempted to eat less than the recommended amount of calories a day.
If you go too low, your body might think you're trying to starve it and it could hold on to fat stores as energy reserves, which will actually slow down your efforts to lose weight.
Plus, you need enough energy (in other words, calories) to get through all the intense workouts you'll be doing!
You can either count your own calories using a calorie calculator or sign up to 12WBT to receive meal plans with all the calories calculated for you.
If you choose to count calories on your own, keeping a food diary is a must.
While you might think you've taken into account all your meals and snacks, it's easy to forget the calories in those little extras you can consume over the course of the day without even realising it.
Extras include your morning coffee (milk and sugar have calories!), the two chocolates your work colleague offered you and the packet of nuts you found in your car when you were driving home from work - and the calories from healthy foods like nuts still need to be counted.

Even if you've developed some healthy eating habits and are cooking healthy recipes, you need to make sure you're not over-eating.
Any extra calories can make a huge difference when you're trying to lose weight.
Keep in mind that as you lose weight, your calories need to decrease.
Think of your body as being like a delivery truck: the heavier the load, the more fuel it needs - but as it makes its deliveries and the load lessens, so does the required amount of fuel.
That means that as you get lighter, you'll feel more satisfied with less food and therefore fewer calories.

How Many 'Calories Out' to Lose Weight?

Now for the second part of the equation: calories out. In other words, burning calories through exercise.
Aim for four or five workouts a week during which you burn 400 to 800 calories (or 600 to 1000 calories if you weigh more than 100kg) and an extra-big Saturday workout in which you torch 1000 calories (or more if you weigh more than 100kg).
These calorie numbers should be a bare minimum for men - don't be afraid to burn even more!
The important thing for both men and women is to give each workout your 100 per cent best effort and walk away knowing you emptied your tank.
The harder you work, the more calories you'll burn and the quicker the fat will melt off. So forget all those excuses and push your calorie-burning to the limit!

How Quickly Will I Lose Weight?

The speed at which you lose weight depends on a number of factors, including your age, gender, height, current weight, proportion of lean muscle mass, current level of fitness, the amount and type of exercise you do, the intensity with which you exercise, and more.
But as a general rule, you can expect to lose 0.5kg to 1.5kg per week if you weigh less than 100kg; 1.5kg to 3kg per week if you weigh between 100kg and 129kg; and 1.5kg to 5kg a week if you weigh more than 130kg.

It's worth noting that losing weight at this moderate rate means it is much more likely to stay off than if you were to try to lose it quickly on a very low-calorie diet that slashes your calorie intake to drastically low levels.

Calories and the Weight-Loss Plateau

You might find that you hit a weight-loss plateau, but don't let that discourage you.
It's just because the calories you're burning through exercise now balance the calories you're consuming.
In that case, mix up your exercise by increasing the intensity of your cardio or increasing the weights or number of reps in any strength training you're doing.
You'll find your calorie burning goes up, but whatever you do, stick to your 1200-calorie-a-day eating plan (or 1800 calories for men) while you wait to start losing weight again.
In the end, your dedication and perseverance will pay off when you achieve your goal weight and you can finally look in the mirror and feel proud of the person who's looking back at you. Don't give up!

As always guys, comment below! Let me know what you think! Did you find this helpful? Do you calorie count? How has it worked for you so far? Let me know :)


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