How many calories should I eat daily to lose weight?
Simply put a calorie is the measure of energy produced from the burning of material which in our bodies that means from the burning of food. The energy produced from the burning of food is used to power all our bodily functions. Believe it or not the liver is the organ that requires the most energy to function properly. It requires roughly 27% of our bodies energy expenditure, followed by the brain at 19%, our muscle tissue at 18%, kidneys 10%, the heart only requires 7%, with the rest of our organs combining for 19%. A certain number of calories is required to run your bodily functions but an excess of calories particularly in the form of fats and carbs are what lead to weight gain. As a matter of reference proteins are 4 calories per gram, carbs are 4 calories per gram as well, but fats are 9 calories per gram. Through many studies it has been determined that the base amount of calories for proper functioning is between 14-16 calories per pound of bodyweight. So an individual weighing 180 lbs would require 2700 calories per day. In general women, men with slow metabolisms, and individuals that do not perform much daily physical activity should use 14 calories per pound and men as well as women with fast metabolism should aim for 16 calories per pound. Individuals who perform daily strenuous activity could even fall into the 17 calories per pound range. If fat loss is your goal your range would be 10-13 calories per pound of bodyweight to create a caloric deficit and force the body to use up stored fat. If mass/weight gain is your goal then 17-19 calories per pound of bodyweight is the zone you would be in. Exact numbers will depend much on the results you see at that particular level. If you are looking to lose weight and drop to 13 calories per pound of bodyweight and do not see any change in 2-3 weeks then you would adjust and lower your caloric intake. Don’t forget to adjust as your weight adjusts as well. If you started at 180 lbs then went down to 175 you need to recalculate your caloric needs based on your new weight.