Calories are those nasty things that make us cringe when it comes to losing weight, but what exactly are calories? Are they really as bad as we think and should we avoid them at all cost?

Calories are a unit of measure that approximates the energy needed to increase, by one degree Celsius, a single kilogram of water. That sounds very scientific so here’s the layman’s description.

Calories are used to give people something to measure weight loss and gain in simple units. When you eat food, your body produces heat that fuels it on a daily basis. So if you know how many calories you need for fuel then you can also keep track of how much fuel you need to burn each day to maintain your desired weight.

On average, women should eat and maintain 2,000 calories each day and men need about 2,500 per day. Anyone who is extremely active or a professional athlete will need considerably more than that. But for now we will focus on the average person in the United States.


How to Calculate the Calories You Need

Use this simple formula to determine the number of calories you need each day to maintain your weight:

To Lose FAT: Take your current weight and multiply by 12 [calories]

120 lbs x 12 calories = 1,440 calories each day to lose fat

To MAINTAIN your weight: Take your current weight and multiply by 15 [calories]

120 lbs x 15 calories = 1,800 calories each day to maintain your weight


Bottom line is that you must control your intake of calories in order to lose weight. When you begin to control your intake of calories you will need to reduce the calories right away to show improvement. The KEY is to eat fewer calories than you are burning.

Once you have reached your desired weight then you must continue to keep your calories at the level you calculated using the simple formula. The only negative about using this formula is that it doesn’t take into account how much to exercise or how active you are. Plus in order to LOSE one pound of FAT per week, your weekly food intake has to be reduced by 3,500 calories!

You can spread it out to 500 calories each day to keep track but that requires a lot of discipline. Recent studies claim that the average person underestimates their calorie intake by 500-1000 calories per day making it difficult to lose or maintain weight.



You may want to use these guidelines:

  1. Keep a total count of the calories you eat each day.
  2. After 7 days add up the totals and divide by 7 for your daily calorie intake.
  3. Watch your FAT intake because fatty foods usually have more calories.
  4. Use a calculator to get a more precise total.
  5. Eat in moderation; any abrupt calorie loss causes your metabolic rate to decrease that also decreases your body’s ability to lose weight.
  6. Using this method of weight loss means that you can eat anything you desire as long as your calories are monitored each day.
  7. Stick with low calorie, low fat, sufficient protein, raw vegetables and small portions eaten frequently during the day instead of 3 large meals.


With the help of your physician or dietitian you can maintain a healthy lifestyle by using this method to reach and maintain your perfect weight.

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