Who hasn’t searched online for the ideal number of calories to lose weight? Whether you want to lose a little or a lot, counting your calories is one of the best ways to ensure weight loss success. But in order to start counting your calories, you need to know how many calories to eat on a daily basis. This has everyone asking, “How many calories do I need to eat to lose weight?”
Let's explore the idea of a universal number of calories to lose weight, whether it’s true or not, and more reliable and proven ways to achieve weight loss success.
THE UNIVERSAL NUMBER OF CALORIES FOR WEIGHT LOSS
While it’s tempting to think that there’s a one-size-fits-all number out there for the number of calories you should eat each day to lose weight, this is not the case. There is no universal caloric intake and with good reason: no one is the same.
Pick one hundred people at random and you’ll be presented with one hundred unique situations in regards to medical history, family history, fitness experience, and physical ability, to name several factors.
How many calories you eat per day will be influenced by these conditions, but also by your sex, age, and how active you are. Given all of these factors, it’s impossible to have one number that will be beneficial for all people.
With that said, you can easily determine your personalized caloric intake, and there are plenty of ways to support a faster weight loss. Let’s review how to get your unique number of calories to lose weight and review several ways to support your weight loss.
1. CALCULATE YOUR PERSONALIZED NUMBER
There are two simple ways to calculate your unique number of calories to lose weight. You can either use an online calorie calculator or the Harris Benedict equation.
Admittedly, the online calorie calculator will be easier and it’ll save you time. All you need to do is input a few pieces of information such as your age, sex, physical activity level, and fitness goal, and the calculator will provide an instant number of calories to eat each day.
Most of the online calorie calculators are based on the Harris Benedict equation, which is considered one of the most reliable ways to determine your personalized caloric intake. Check out our article on how to calculate your calories for an easy-to-understand breakdown of the formula. We provide step-by-step instructions that only take a few minutes to complete. Best of all, you’ll have the satisfaction and assurance of calculating your own caloric intake.
2. LEARN PORTION CONTROL
Once you have your unique number of calories to lose weight, the next thing that we would highly recommend doing is becoming familiar with proper portion control.
Most of us take too much food or serve ourselves what we think is a proper portion. More often than not what seems like a portion for a single person is enough to feed two or three people. And it’s no one’s fault. Portion control isn’t taught in most schools and “eyeballing” a portion is common practice.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to break out a measuring tape or scale every time you want to eat something. Continuing with the tradition of eyeballing a portion size, here are some helpful measurements to use when eating common meals:
- One ounce of cheese = Size of two dice
- Eight ounces / One cup of dairy = Tennis ball
- Three ounces of meat, poultry, and fish = Deck of playing cards
- One ounce of nuts or seeds = Four dice
3. INCREASE YOUR INTENSITY
With your diet taken care of, it’s time to look at your workout program. If you’re still driving to the gym only to walk on a treadmill for an hour, your workout dramatically needs an upgrade.
A good workout program will consist of both resistance training and cardiovascular training. If you’re new to fitness or you want to get the most bang for your buck, we would recommend three full-body workouts per week along with two cardio-focused workouts such as spinning, jogging, or kickboxing.
Here’s a full-body workout program to get you started right away:
- Chest: Flat Bench Dumbbell Press: 3 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions
- Back: Barbell Row: 3 x 12 – 15
- Quadriceps: Barbell Squats: 3 x 8 – 10
- Hamstrings: Leg Curls: 3 x 12 – 15
- Shoulders: Military Press: 2 x 12- 15
- Core: Mountain Climbers: 3 x 25
- Total Body: Burpees: 10
Want to build your own workouts or need more ideas for muscle-building workouts? Check out our article on bodybuilding workouts for beginners. These workouts can help to lose weight while building lean muscle tissue.
Now if you’re strapped for time, there’s a way to get in both your resistance training with your cardio: it’s called high intensity interval training or HIIT.
A HIIT workout consists of several bodyweight-based exercises that are performed in rapid succession, saving the break until the end. Although the exercises don’t require additional weight, they still increase strength and support muscle building. Most importantly, the high intensity nature of HIIT workouts promote weight loss.
Here’s a HIIT workout to get you started: Complete the repetitions for one exercise before moving to the next. Once you complete all of the repetitions listed below, take a two to three-minute break then repeat the workout two more times.
- Box Jumps: 30 seconds
- Push-Ups: 10
- Jumping Lunges: 30 seconds
- Pull-Ups: 10
- Plank: 60 seconds
- Burpees: 5
High intensity interval training is one of our favorite ways to train for fat loss, but there are plenty more. Check out our article to read about the types of workouts that are ideal for weight loss.
4. TURN UP THE HEAT
You have a set caloric intake and two types of workouts to choose from; now all you’re missing is an extra boost. When you want to blast belly fat, heat is good. In fact, directing the right amount of consistent heat to your problem areas can help to spot reduce fat.
We know that you’ve probably heard that spot reduction isn’t possible, but new studies suggest otherwise. One study published in the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism suggests that fatty tissue has weak blood flow, making it difficult to move nutrients, compounds, and stored fat out of an area.
If fat is stuck in one part of the body – let’s say your stomach – then even the best diet and exercise program won’t work as quickly as you’d like. By increasing the heat to an area, you dramatically improve blood flow. The study above found that by safely increasing the temperature to an area of the body with exercise, you increase both blood flow and fat oxidation.
One of the best complements to exercise when increasing body temperature in a specific area is a thermogenic waist trimmer belt. This belt is made with a safe and effective material that helps to increase body heat and promote blood flow. When used during your workouts, you may support the usage of stored fat as fuel, thereby increasing your rate of weight loss.
5. CONSIDER SUPPLEMENTS
Supplements are no longer the luxury reserved for bodybuilders they once were. Nowadays, it’s uncommon if someone doesn’t have a tub of protein or a vitamin bottle sitting on the kitchen shelf. Thermogenic or fat-burning supplements have become incredibly popular, helping to support goals of weight loss in combination with a healthy diet and exercise.
Some of the best fat-burning supplements include green tea extract, bitter orange extract, and guarana. Get the full list in our article along with the best dosages and times to take them.
HOW MANY CALORIES TO LOSE WEIGHT DO YOU NEED TO EAT PER DAY?
Are you an active person who needs more calories than expected? Did you use the online calorie calculator or did you calculate your daily calorie needs on your own? Let us know on our Facebook?
- Stallknecht B, Dela F, Helge JW. Are blood flow and lipolysis in subcutaneous adipose tissue influenced by contractions in adjacent muscles in humans? Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Feb;292(2):E394-9. Epub 2006 Sep 19.