How Many Calories Do I Need to Lose Weight? Calories Explained
When it comes to calories and weight loss there’s a huge amount of information online, but it’s often conflicting and can lead to total confusion.
As a personal trainer in Honeybourne, I regularly get asked “how many calories should I be eating” but there is no one size fits all answer to this question. So, in this article I’ll explain what calories are and how you can manage them to lose weight.
What Is a Calorie?
A calorie is just a way of measuring the amount of energy that’s contained in food and drink.
If you want to lose weight then you need to burn off more calories than you consume, otherwise known as creating a calorie deficit.
It’s important to note that your body won’t have any need to start tapping into your stored body fat until you’re burning more calories than you’re taking in, hence the reason why you need to create a calorie deficit to achieve your weight loss goals.
There are two main reasons why people fail to reach their weight loss targets, despite doing more exercise – and more often.
- Firstly, most people seriously underestimate how much exercise is needed to burn off a certain number of calories. For example, you’d need to run for around 20 minutes, or walk for 40 minutes to burn off a single chocolate bar. This of course varies depending on every individual’s body, but as a rough guide it’s fairly accurate.
- The second reason why people will usually fail to achieve their goals is that they often increase their calorie intake following exercise. It’s natural to feel hungry after exercise, but a lot of people will either fill up on the wrong foods or give themselves a treat, which defeats the object of increased exercise.
Should I Count Calories?
It’s not essential that you keep a count of your calorie intake, at least not in the long term. When you’re just starting out, it may be worth keeping a track of the number of calories you’re taking in, while you get used to a newer, healthier diet. What’s more important though is to ensure you’re eating the right foods and trying to eat foods that keep you fuller for longer.
For example, fish, lean meat, and green vegetables are all low-calorie foods that will fill you up and give you plenty of protein, which is also vital if you’re planning to lose weight.
How To Achieve and Maintain Weight Loss Effectively
Ultimately, you need to aim for a balanced diet, with plenty of protein and regular exercise. It’s also important to remain patient and realise that losing weight is not an overnight process.
Crash diets and fad diets are to be avoided. Not only can they be dangerous for you, but they’re almost impossible to maintain over the long term, and you’re more likely to go back to square one if you follow one of these for a few days or weeks.
And perhaps most importantly of all, don’t retain a big calorie deficit for longer than 12 weeks. While it’s important to create a calorie deficit when you’re getting started, it’s not something that needs to be done indefinitely. Instead, you can start to build up your calorie intake again to a ‘maintenance’ level, but don’t use it as an excuse to gorge on junk food!
At The Fitness Room Honeybourne our qualified and passionate team will give you guidance on nutrition and fitness. No membership is required. Call us on 07540 060269 for a free consultation or visit www.thefitnessroom.co to view our group exercise timetable.