There are several ways to figure out how many calories you need.
You could be tested. There are exercise labs with fancy equipment that can measure how many calories you burn at rest and while exercising. But unless you're training for the Olympics, that's not really necessary.
You can get a fairly accurate estimate of the calories you burn everyday. If you don't exercise you probably burn about 10-12 calories per pound of body weight per day (20-24 calories per kilogram.)
So if you weigh 200 pounds, multiply 200 x 10. You get 2000 calories per day. That's not exact but it's probably pretty close.
If you want to be more exact about calories for weight loss you can use this calculator. Just enter your height, weight, age and activity level.
Punch in some different numbers and see what you get. It's quite interesting.
Try some different activity levels. What does it show? It shows you that if you are more active you burn more calories.
Do you know what that means? It means that if you exercise you can eat more. You don't have to go hungry!
Try some different weights. What does it show? It shows that as your weight goes down you don't burn as many calories.
That can explain why you plateau when you diet. At first you do well on your diet, but then the weight stops coming off.
Why is that? Because at your lower weight you don't need as many calories. So that is part of the answer to weight loss plateau.
You see something else when you enter different weights. Enter two weights that are 10 pounds apart. There is only about a 60-100 calorie difference, right?
What does that tell you? It tells you why it is hard to take off those last 10 pounds. Any little thing you eat, those last few bites, are enough to keep the weight from coming off.
And it tells you why it is so easy to gain weight. Here's an example. Let's say you're a female, 42 years old, 5 feet 6 inches tall. Pick a weight. Make it 160. Moderate activity. Your daily calories are 2162.
Now, try it with 170 pounds. Same activity. Your daily calories are 2227. The difference is only 65 calories.
That means that if you weigh 160 and eat just 65 calories extra each day, your weight will creep up to 170. What's 65 calories? Almost nothing. A small apple. A few crackers. Half a can of Coke.
So when you look at it this way, despite what you might hear, calories do matter.
If your weight is a concern to you, I recommend that you get a copy of my program, Dr. Dan's Super Weight Loss Plan.
It has everything you need to take off those extra pounds. You'll be glad you did.
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