Daily Calorie Intake

Daily Calorie Intake

No matter what you hear or read, your daily calorie intake will determine whether you gain or lose weight for most normal individuals. The exception is serious amateur or professional athletes since their calorie burn rate is way beyond the normal. A dedicated amateur or professional athlete can easily burn 2-3 times the normal amount of calories. In addition to calorie amounts, there are a few wild cards like the amount of fat, what type of fat, and other variables but we’ll be concentrated on calories for now.

What is a calorie? It’s a unit of measurement that is used to equate energy and food items. There are approximately 3500 calories to a pound according to most authorities in this type of measurement. But calories are based on the amount of energy it takes to raise one gram of water by one degree Celsius. And it gets worse the more you delve into the connection between weight and calories. If you want to get the exact method on how calories work you can read this article: Counting Calories with Daily Records.

What we are going to discuss in this article is what your daily calorie intake should be to lose weight. In order to do that we need to set some baselines. And the easiest way to do that is to have you record your daily caloric intake for a few days before we establish any goals. We want to determine what amount of calories you take in now, how much you weigh now, and use these figures to come up with the number of calories you should intake each day to lose weight.

OK, before you start complaining about calorie counting and how to know what the calorie counts are for all the different food items, relax. This is not hard since almost all food items with a label give you the calories and many restaurants give you the calories too. Plus we don’t require totally exact measurements because, in reality, that’s almost impossible anyway.

We just want to get a fairly accurate account and that’s fairly easy. In fact, we have a Daily Calorie Count worksheet that you can download for free right here: Daily Calorie Count. And you can put down everything as you eat and add the caloric count when you get home. So let’s say you track your daily caloric intake for 5 days and it comes out to an average of 2800 calories per day.

You weigh yourself and find out you weigh 120 pounds (our example is a female). You decide (for whatever reason) you want to weigh 110 pounds. So now we have our baseline information as follows:

  • Current Weight: 120 lbs
  • Current Daily Calorie Intake: 2800 calories
  • Weight Goal: 110 lbs

Based on the information above, here’s a possible formula to lose the 10 pounds over a 6-7 week period. Now we aren’t going to be too concerned about being exact since are going to allow for plenty of leeway on both counting and reducing the number of calories. If you multiply the amount of weight in pounds by the 3500 calories that are in a pound you get 35,000 calories. There are 42 days in 6 weeks so we divide the 35,000 by 42 and come up with 833 calories. That’s the number of daily calories we have to eliminate to hit our goal of losing 10 lbs. So if you limit your daily caloric intake to 2000 (instead of 2800) you should achieve your goal in the six week period.

Whenever do I explain this to someone the first thing they say is why not burn 800 more calories a day? Based on my personal experience, and many others who have tried this, it doesn’t work. Plus, if you want to see what it takes to burn calories with exercises, check this article here: Weight Loss Tips. Don’t get me wrong, exercise will help you become more healthy in many ways and is always recommended. But to try and burn an extra 800+ calories a day is no small feat and beyond most average people. You could walk an hour a day and be able to burn an extra 300+ calories and that might be a good possibility if you have the time and no physical issues.

Daily Calorie Intake should be monitored by everyone so that we all keep in better shape. Almost every holiday season (the big one, Turkey Day through New Year’s Day) I pick up a few pounds. There are too many temptations and I’ve resigned myself to dropping the extra pounds in January. But it’s not that difficult for me since I pay attention to my daily calorie count and do things like splitting big meals, or desserts, or I drink water instead of a soda. It’s amazing how easy it is to get into a routine of keeping a running count of daily calorie intake in your head. It’s like making yourself pay cash for everything instead of using a credit or debit card, you see the money as real.

There are all sorts of little tricks you can use to lower the daily caloric intake that doesn’t make you go hungry or feel deprived. You want to eat some potato chips, don’t take the bag with you to the couch, put a handful in a bowl and leave the bag in the kitchen. Portion control is a huge advantage when you are watching your calories. Don’t super-size that next fast food meal, that can cost you another 500 calories.

When you are paying attention to your daily calorie intake you are more aware of what you eat. And that alone can save you a few hundred calories a day. Download our Daily Calorie Count sheet (Here’s the link: Daily Calorie Count) and start tracking your daily caloric intake and you’ll see a lot of ways that can help you reduce your calories every day.


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The content on this site is presented only for informational purposes and does not replace medical advice from a practicing physician.

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