If you want to lose weight, concentrate on developing a healthy lifestyle. It is not about counting calories, cutting out any food groups or starving yourself.
Eating fresh, unprocessed and whole foods, combined with exercise and a positive mindset will see the extra weight fall off over time.
The key is to eat healthy food - but still allow yourself a treat now and again. If you eat well most of the time, you can have your treat on the weekend.
How many calories should I eat?
Body Mass Index (BMI)
Having said that it's not about counting calories, it still pays to know roughly how many calories your body needs. Here are the steps to do that:
Calculate your basal metabolic rate (BMR). BMR is the number of calories you burn at rest.
(To convert pounds into kg, check the BMI chart below.)
Female: Your weight in kg x 22
Male: Your weight in kg x 24
Select your physical activity level (PAL)
Mostly inactive or sedentary: 1.2
Fairly active (walking + exercising 1 - 2 times per week): 1.3
Moderately active (exercising 2 - 3 times per week): 1.4
Active (intense exercise more than 3 times per week): 1.5
Very active (intense daily exercise): 1.6
Calculate your daily maintenance calories (this is how many calories you need per day to maintain your weight)
BMR x PAL
For weight loss, reduce your calories by the percentage you want (for example 20% or 30 %)
Maria weighs 210 pounds (=95.3 kg) and walks a couple of times a week for about 45 minutes.
1: Her BMR is 2096 (95.3 x 22 = 2096.6)
2: Her PAL is 1.3
3: To maintain her weight she needs about 2724 calories (2096 x 1.3 = 2724.8)
4: To lose weight, she wants to reduce her calories by 30 %, which comes to 1907 calories per day (2724 - 30 % = 1907.36)
The Body Mass Index is a measurement of a person's weight in relation to her/his height. It is used as a screening tool to indicate whether a person is underweight, overweight, obese or a healthy weight for their height.
If a person's BMI is out of the healthy BMI range, their health risks may increase significantly. The higher the BMI, the higher are the risks of cardiovascular complications, including hypertension and stroke, certain cancers, diabetes, gallstones and osteoarthritis.
Although BMI is widely used by GP's and health professionals as a measure of health risk, it is not always accurate and can be misleading. For example, bodybuilders would be classified as overweight or obese on the BMI scale due to their higher than average muscle mass. On the contrary, older persons and others with a below average amount of muscle, the BMI equation underestimates obesity. Because of this discrepancy, if you are gaining or losing a significant amount of muscle with a weight loss program, checking your body measurements or how your clothes fit might be a better way to monitor your progress rather than re-calculation your BMI.