Eating Right to Lose Weight

Everyone wants to stay healthy, and maintaining your ideal weight is an important part of overall health. Here’s how it works.

Your body needs a certain number of calories each day to burn as you walk, work and even while you sleep. Eating more than the optimal amount can cause you to gain weight, while eating less than your body burns can contribute to losing weight. Your metabolism and how much you exercise will also affect your calorie needs. But how do you know just how many calories are right for you?

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One-Size Doesn’t Fit All

While there are plenty of rule-of-thumb numbers out there, this is no one-size-fits-all kind of thing. Your calorie needs vary based on your target weight, your age, your gender, your height, your activity level and, importantly, your metabolism. Most of those terms are pretty clear, but what is metabolism anyway?

Metabolism refers to all the chemical and biological processes your body performs each day as part of being alive. These processes include breaking down what you eat and turning that raw material into the nutrients your body needs. Some metabolisms are efficient, sometimes referred to as a “fast metabolism,” and some are less efficient, or slow.

EXACTLY How many calories should you eat to lose weight

Calculating Your Ideal Calorie Amount

Calculating your calories can mean a lot of math. Don’t have your high school algebra at the tip of your fingers? There are easy online ways to figure out the right amount to eat each day. Simply Google “metabolic rate calculator” for several choices; we like the one at WebMD. Plug in your numbers and click. For example, if you’re a 35 year old woman, 5’ 9”, who weighs 130 pounds and is lightly active, you burn just over 1800 calories a day. Now, crank that activity level up to just moderately active and you’re burning well over 2000 calories a day, a big jump if you’re looking to lose weight.

Now Get Started

Be sure to first check with your doctor. She can advise you of the right mix of foods to eat, as well as warn you of any underlying health issues that may affect your diet. The relationship between your body type, how many calories you eat and how activity revs up your metabolism is the key to maintaining a healthy weight. Get started today by calculating your ideal number of daily calories.

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