Your Calorie Intake

calories on food

Do you know what your average calorie intake is? Do you care? If you want to lose weight or manage your weight more closely, then it's a simple and easy way to keep and eye on what you are eating.

When talking about your calorie intake, it invariably refers to how many calories you are consuming on a daily basis. Although the recommended amount varies between individuals, here we provide you with some rough guidelines for how to estimate what your calorie intake should be.

Who Needs Most Calories?

In general, men need more calories than women! Those with an active lifestyle, men or women, burn more calories than those who are more sedentary. Other variables to take into account are your height and current weight as well as your overall body composition. Age is also an important factor as your metabolic rate may change over the course of your lifetime.

According to the British Department of Health, women need an average of 1940 compared to 2550 for men per day. This is calculated using EAR (Estimated Average Requirements) and is based on the assumption that most people in the UK do not lead particularly active lifestyles. If you are an athlete or exercising heavily, you may need to adjust your diet accordingly.

How to Reduce Calorie Intake

How much you eat does have a direct impact on your weight. It is important to consider what kinds of foods you are eating, as the amount of calories contained in a lettuce leaf is considerably less than those in a cream cake!

Cutting approximately five hundred calories per day from your diet should lead to you losing roughly one pound per week.

While cutting back on consumption is an effective way of losing unwanted pounds, particularly in the short term, this should ultimately be done as part of a healthy balanced diet. Just starving yourself for short periods of time is likely to teach your body to hold on to fat rather than promoting efficient digestion and burning up of calories.

It's important to know how much you should be consuming so that you keep within the limits of what's healthy for you as an individual.

So What About My Daily Calories

We've already discussed above about how many calories people need in a day to maintain their weight. We've also discussed how that will vary from person to person, especially on your lifestyle and current level of fitness.

Therefore, the amount of calories you need to consume every day is linked to how much you actual weigh to begin with. It's also affected by how much activity there is in your lifestyle including how much you exercise.

If you work out a lot or are in highly active job that involves physical labour, you will burn up the food you eat much quicker. Most of us living in the West tend to spend our days stuck in a chair in front of a computer and thus lead quite sedentary lifestyles.

One rough formula you can use to figure out how much you need is to take your weight in pounds and multiply it by twelve. This will give you a rough estimate of what your intake should be if you wish to maintain your current weight. If you're aiming to lose weight, say a pound a week, you should subtract five hundred calories from this to give you an idea of what your intake should be on a diet.

Remember though its not just a question of eating less but what your body does with what you eat. Long term, a healthy balanced diet with plenty of exercise is the best way to keep yourself fit and trim.

What is Your Calorie Allowance?

Your calorie allowance refers to how many calories per day you aim to consume. The recommended calorie allowance varies between individuals depending on gender, weight, height and age. Lifestyle also has an influence depending on how physically active you are. You can either talk to your doctor or use a special designed calculator to figure out what your ideal calorie allowance should be.

If you're aiming to lose weight than you need to reduce the amount of food and drink you are putting into your system. Theres no need to go in for starvation or extreme dieting as this can be difficult to maintain and is not particularly good for you. Instead you could try looking at your current eating habits and how you can modify them to achieve a healthy balanced diet that gives you what you need without piling on the pounds.

Better to set realistic standards and slowly work towards achievable goals than expect a miracle overnight. Your body needs food to function properly. However, many of us consume considerably more than our body requires and this gets stored as fat. Regular exercise can help to burn off some of this unnecessary fat. But watching what you eat can help prevent you putting it on the first place.

Restricting your intake to foods that are high in nutrition but low in fat can make a significant difference to how much you weigh. Try making a list of what you eat each day and figuring out roughly how many calories represent your daily consumption. Compare this with what is recommended for a person of your weight and height. If its over what's suggested, go back to your list and consider cutting out some of the high fat foods that you don't actually need.

Further Reading

NHS Choices - http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/1126.aspx

 

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