Hitting the right calorie intake for weight loss can be, well, tricky. There's lots of stuff consider: how much weight you want to lose, how fast, how much anal-retentive diet control you're willing to do…
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And how much fun you have eating on your diet!
The best calorie intake for weight loss isaround 500 less a day than you need, or about 20% less than you need - if 20% of your diet is more than 500 calories.
But, why 500 calories or 20%?
First, it's enough to show significant weight loss. 500 calories a day will add up to 3,500 calories a week, which is 1 pound of fat gone. Not a lot, but not insignificant, either.
Second, it's easier to reduce your calories just a little bit. You're probably used to eating to excess, so even eating at a healthy level will feel confining. So, you want to reduce that feeling by just a bit in the beginning - so it's not too uncomfortable.
I'm taking the hard-ass approach to this one: Yes.
If you guess, don't count this or that, and then expect to lose weight… you're just deluding yourself.
Especially in the beginning, counting calories is ridiculously important. Master the fundamentals of hitting your calorie intake for weight loss before you move on.
You'll learn a lot about the macronutrients (fats, protein, and carbs) and calories in the food you like to eat, and get an idea for how much that is. And you'll know for certain that you're on the path to losing weight.
Exercise does burn calories. But that's not the best use of exercise, especially when you're dieting…
Exercise doesn't burn nearly as many calories as you think. If you go jogging for 45 minutes in the morning and then drink a mocha-frapa-chino-coffee-something as a 'reward', congratulations! You've wasted your morning attempt to lose weight!
You can check out how many calories get burned when you're walking and when running. But it isn't that much.
And, additional exercise will make your hungrier. So there's a tendency eat more and undermine your own diet efforts.
Short answer, what you put in your mouth has more of an impact than how much exercise you do. That's why hitting your ideal calorie intake for weight loss is so important.
And the exercise you do do should be factored into your metabolic rate for how many calories you need to eat.
You could lose weight eating nothing but Oreos, but you'd probably eat them all for breakfast. And then your day would be plagued with fatigue once the sugar passed through your system.
Eating healthy will not only (1) fill you up faster (2) on less calories, but also (3) actually encourage your body to not put on weight. This happens by actually changing the quantity of insulin released in your body.
When you eat a healthy diet, your efforts will get greater results. And eating healthy will help you maintain your desired weight after your diet.
A. Calculate your basal metabolic rate to determine how many calories you need.
B. Cut the amount of calories you eat by 500 calories a day or 20%, whichever is more.
C. Eat healthy, to be more full and...
D. Occasionally, within the context of counting calories, have some ice cream or dark chocolate. Life needs some fun after all!
Oh, and be sure to sign up for the e-zine Starting Strong to get monthly strength training, exercise, and diet tips e-mailed to you - and access to the free e-book Train Smart, Eat Smart: Exercise Nutrition Hacks!
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