How Many Calories Should I Be Eating To Lose Weight?

I am going to level with you.

I don’t ask my clients to count calories unless we’ve reached a point where we’ve absolutely exhausted all other avenues.

And we also have the problem that food labels can be anywhere as much as 50% inaccurate when estimating how many calories are in the food that you’re eating

Combine this with the other fact that as humans we’re absolutely terrible at limiting our portion sizes and often eat a thousand or so MORE calories per day than we thought

You can see why you might not be losing the weight that you’d hoped to lose

counting calories

So how many calories should you be eating to lose weight??

Well,

Like i said,

I don’t really have our clients weighing every morsel of food that they eat though i do give them portion sizes which is easier to fit everyday life but if you want to know how many calories you should be eating then the truth is that it has to be less than you’re eating right now if you’re not losing weight.

So….

We have two options

Option A) 

Take your current food intake,

Work out how many calories, protein, fats and carbs you’re eating each day using software like Perfect Diet Tracker and proceed to reduce calorie intake to match your goal weight or target deficit to lose fat.

 

or

 

Option B) 

Workout how many calories you need to eat per day by using a BMR calculator and add in your exercise levels to suit.

An equation like Mifflin – St Joer would work this out for you;

 

BMR = 10 x weight(kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) + 5                         MEN

 

BMR = -161 + 10 x weight(kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) + 5             WOMEN

 

A calculator like this one (http://www.calculator.net/calorie-calculator.html) would work this out for you and include your exercise levels too.

So from there you would then subtract 500 calories (maybe more, maybe less but 500 is generally an accepted decrease)

 

Where do i go from here?

 

Once you know your required calorie intake, now it would be time for you to play around with proteins, fats and carbs and see how your body responds.

Protein requirements alone can range from 1g/kg (bw) to higher intakes needed depending on height, weight, levels of muscle mass and training history but lets use a 40 year old, 160cm, 70kilogram female who exercises 3 – 5 times per week as an example to give you an idea.

Calories needed to maintain weight; 2075kcal per day 

Using the assumption that we need to reduce this by 500 calories this would leave us with a weight loss calorie intake of 1575 per day from which we would then work out proteins, fats and carbs.

So….

1gram per kilogram (bw) of protein = 70g of protein per day x 4 =  280 kcals

The we must work out the fats and carbs needed of which generally 30% of total calories coming from fats is a common accepted daily figure.

30% of 1575 = 471 calories / 9 = 52g of fat per day.

Which would then leave us 824 calories to come from carbohydrates per day / 4 = 206 grams of carbs per day.

So this means that your macros would be

Calories = 1575

Protein = 70g per day

Fats = 52g per day

Carbohydrates = 206g per day

From which then you would have to go to the hassle of working out how much calories, proteins, fats and carbs are in the individual foods that you’d need to eat each day to hit these numbers.

Confusing as shit, right?

frustrated woman

And pretty much a daily battle to make this fit into your life of a long hours at work, high stress and a the kids needing your time and attention too.

This is why i don’t set meal plans in this way.

For most people it’s just too much stress on top of stress that is already there and it can’t always be applied simply.

Which is why i like the model that i use of giving portion sizes to clients instead that work MUCH better and aren’t as stressful;

A fist sized amount of protein per meal

A fist sized amount of carbs where needed

A tablespoon of fats where needed

Sure… you still need to play around a bit to find what works for you but it’s much easier that weighing food and becoming crazy about calories each day.

Especially when you’re not losing weight or fat despite going to the hassle of calorie counting.

Yours in Health,

Chris

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Chris Mason