What Is the Most Daily Calories I Need For Weight Loss

Most noteworthy, the United States Dairy Association published Dietary Guidelines for Americans, for the years 2015 to 2020. And, according to these guidelines, the daily calories needed by Americans are as follows:

  • Sedentary women between the ages of 26 to 50 need 1,800 calories daily
  • Sedentary women 51 and up need 1,600 calories daily
  • Moderately active women between the ages of 26 to 50 need 2,000 calories daily
  • Moderately active women 51 and up need 1,800 calories daily
  • Active women between the ages of 31 to 60 need 2,200 calories daily
  • Active women 61 and up need 2,000 calories daily
  • Sedentary men between the ages 41 to 60 need 2,200 calories daily
  • Sedentary men 61 and up need 2,000 calories daily
  • Moderately active men between the ages 26 to 45 need 2,600 calories daily
  • Moderately active men between the ages 46 to 65 need 2,400 calories daily
  • Lastly, moderately active men 66 and up need 2,200 calories daily
  • Active men between the ages 36 to 55 need 2,800 calories daily
  • Active men between the ages 56 to 75 need 2,600 calories daily
daily calories

Most noteworthy, the average woman is 5 feet 4 inches tall weighing 126 pounds. While the average man is 5 feet 10 inches tall weighing 154 pounds. Regrettably, the daily calories you actually need is difficult to estimate. Indeed, the actual daily calories you burn depends on things like your age, height, sex, weight, and your activity level.

How to Budget Your Daily Calories

Especially relevant, irrespective of whether you are sedentary, moderately active, or active, if you want to lose weight you have to cut back on what you eat. For example, to lose a pound in a week, means that you avoid eating foods, packed with 3,500 calories, during the week.

Calories in Body Fat

Most noteworthy, calories are stored in the body as either glycogen, in the liver, from carbs or as body fat. Consequently, when you don’t have enough calories in your blood, calories are first taken from the glycogen and then from body fat.

Indeed, pure fat has an energy content at about 9 calories per gram of pure fat. In the meantime, there are 454 grams of pure fat in one pound of pure fat. As a result, one pound of pure fat has about 454 x 9 = 4,086 calories.

Incidentally, body fat is not just pure fat. Indeed, body fat is made up of adipocytes, also known as fat cells. Moreover, fat cells contain mostly fat but also contain fluids and proteins. As a result, one pound of body fat is less than 3,500 calories.

Meanwhile, one pound of body fat equals 454 grams. Furthermore, pure fat contains anywhere from 8.7 to 9.5 calories per gram of pure fat. Meanwhile, body fat tissue is 87 percent fat. However, some studies report that body fat tissue contains only 72 percent fat. Moreover different types of body fat contains different percentages of fat.

As a result, one pound of body fat contains a minimum of 454 * 87% *8.7 = 3,436 calories, while a maximum of 454*87%*9.5 = 3,752 calories. In summary, the 3,500 calories in a pound of body is just a round number to use for estimations.

A Budget for Daily Calories

Therefore, to lose one pound in one week you need to avoid eating about 500 (3,500 / 7) calories each day of the week. So if you need 2,000 calories daily to maintain your weight, to lose one pound in a week, you will have to get by on 1,500 (2000 – 500) calories each day of that week.

Body’s Reaction to Restricted Calories

Sounds easy right! Right, in fact it’s a myth. Indeed, overweight and those who are obese, can lose the calories in the short term for a moderate weight loss. Regrettably, a 500 calorie deficit may not work for the long term.

Regrettably, the explanation fails to take into account the body’s response to changes in body composition (such as fat loss) and diet. Indeed, when you start running a 500 calorie deficit, your body thinks there is a famine. As a result, the body starts shutting down unnecessary activities and reduces the metabolic rate. In the meantime, by burning fewer calories the body is prepared to survive famine conditions.

Moreover, you start moving around less, and the body becomes efficient in doing the same amount of work with fewer calories. Consequently, instead of burning fat, you end up losing muscle tissue and/or lean tissue which makes you burn fewer calories. Indeed, this reaction of the body is known as the starvation mode or adaptive thermogenesis. Consequently, weight loss slows down with time.

Meanwhile, to stop loss of muscle mass, it’s important to do resistance training. Incidentally, eating high protein foods ensures that your body is less likely to break down your muscles for energy. Most of all, these approaches prevent a reduction in calories burned making it difficult to lose weight. Furthermore, you start having mood swings, and you start feeling hungry, get intense cravings for food which in turn makes you irritable.

Other Ways to Budget Daily Calories

Meanwhile, because a 500 calorie deficit may be too much stress on your body, it makes it very difficult for you to sustain that deficit. In fact, a more realistic alternative is to plan on losing half a pound each week or 250 calories each day. So instead of a 1,500 calorie diet, you end up on a 1,750 calorie diet, which is a much more reasonable number. Consequently, you may lose four pounds if you maintained that diet for 8 weeks. Ultimately, seeing that weight loss may motivate you to continue with the diet, while at some point in the near future you reach your target weight.

Avoid Counting Daily Calories

However, avoid counting calories because counting calories is next to impossible to do. Besides counting calories creates stress, which, in turn releases the hormone cortisol and more fat.

Indeed, rather than counting calories, a far better approach is to go on a diet as well as eat healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and fruits are low in calories and they will satisfy your urge to eat. Finally, most important of all, don’t forget to cut back your portion sizes.

Daily Calories for Exercises

Exercise offers a way to exceed you daily calorie budget. However, it you choose to do this, make sure you exercise enough to burn the excess calories you ate over your daily budget. For example, a 154 pound person hiking for an hour would burn nearly 370 calories, walking @3.5 mph for an hour would burn 280 calories, jogging at 5 mph for one hour 590 calories. In fact, instead of being limited to only these, choose your favorite activity and workout for either 30 minutes or one hour to burn the estimated calories given. The advantages of this method is that you can eat more than the budgeted daily calories while also getting a workout that’s good for your body, relieves stress, and take your mind off your diet.

Monitor Daily Calories by Frequently Weighing Yourself

Most noteworthy, research shows that frequently weighing yourself helps you monitor the effect of daily calories on you weight. In fact, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco’s School of Medicine and the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Nursing reported weighing yourself everyday makes you more likely to lose weight. Most of all, this study monitored 1,042 adults whose average age was 47. And, as part of the study, these adults weighed or did not weigh themselves as they would normally. Meanwhile, after a year, adults who never weighed themselves or weighed themselves only once a week or so, didn’t lose any weight. On the other hand, those adults who weighed themselves six or seven times a week lost almost 2% of their body weight.

Indeed, weighing yourself every day helps you keep a close eye on your weight. Which, in turn, helps you relate the scale readings with what you ate or didn’t eat, as well as things like going to the gym.

Limitations of Frequent Weight Watching

However, weighing yourself each and every day isn’t for everyone. In fact, this is especially true for people struggling with their weight, body image, or battling eating disorders. For these people, looking at the scale, could bring about anxiety and even depression. Or, even other unhealthy patterns like not eating enough or binge eating. Lastly, weighing every day is too much for those with a history of disordered eating.

About the Author Lisa