With so much talk about fats and carbohydrate in the media and among friends, the simple calorie gets neglected. In fact, many people don’t fully understand what a calorie is, and many people ignore them completely.
Technically, a calorie is a unit of energy. We need calories from food to run our bodies, just like a car requires energy from gas in order to operate. If we take in more energy than we need, it gets stored as fat and we gain weight. The only way to lose weight is to consume fewer calories than the body uses. Fats and carbs are important, but they are not what matters most when it comes to your weight.
What Is Your Daily Caloric Needs To Lose Weight?
The amount of calories your body needs depends on many things, e.g. your weight, the amount of muscle and fat you have, your activity level, genetics, and more. This number is neither good nor bad; it’s just a number. Think of it the same way you consider the yards of fabric you need to cover your windows or the number of bricks you need to build a house. Different types and sizes require different amounts.
Do You Actually Need To Count Your Daily Caloric Intake?
You don’t have to count calories to drop pounds, but it’s important to know your approximate calorie needs so you can decide how particular foods and their portions fit into your eating plan. Visit Choose My Plate, a site created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), where you’ll enter your age, weight, and activity level to learn how many calories you need to lose weight.
Generally, women require 1,200-1,800 calories per day for weight loss, and men need about 1,600-2,400 calories per day. As a rule of thumb, most women should not consume fewer than 1,200 calories per day, and men should stay at 1,600 calories or more.