How many calories should you eat per day?
Have you gained weight lately? Are you inactive and have a poor diet? It’s time to act! In order to lose weight you must create a caloric deficit to force your body to start obtaining energy from stored fat. The key is to find out what is your daily calorie consumption.
Eating less or working out more?
A good question. Both approaches will create a caloric deficit; the only difference is that the first approach (eating less) takes less effort than working out. If you are really obese your only way to create a caloric deficit is to eat less. If you are not obese but only slightly overweight combining the two (eating less and working out more) is the right approach. By working out you also build muscle and endurance and this is always a good thing.
Just how low can I go?
By eating less you will force your body to melt body fat (and burn some muscle tissue) in order to obtain the required energy for proper functioning. But just how many calories should you eat per day? Here is a simple example. If your body requires 2000 calories per day and you only eat 1600 calories your body will be 400 calories short. To lose a pound, you will need about 9 days because a pound of body fat equates to approximately 3500 calories.
A good recommendation is to eat 20 percent fewer calories than you burn per day. Going much lower than that is not recommended or should be done under supervision of a professional. Going much lower than 20 percent could put your body in a starvation mode, when your metabolism slows down by a great margin.
Don’t starve, eat smart!
Starvation mode is something we have built-in and it protects us from losing too much of body fat. This mechanism is old and goes way back when cave man were hunting wild animals for food–only every few weeks or so a hunt was successful and food was available only few days per month. Other days cave men starved. Metabolism slowed down in order to keep cave men alive. It is the same today–we have not evolved that much yet. If you deprive your organism of food, it might lock down and prevent excessive weight loss.
So eat smart not just less. Eat 20 percent less than your body needs and you are in a safe zone. With such a deficit you are forcing your body to burn fat, but it still can operate normally. For a diet based on a more radical caloric deficit consult a professional first as you can do more harm than good to your body.