How Many Calories Should I Eat a Day?

The term “Calorie” has become very common as this is the measure recommended by dietitians and nutritionists to reduce body weight. Also, this is the term people are more concerned about, to avoid obesity and other ill effects.

Most people think that they consume less calories if they are not eating enough. But this is a wrong approach as this lowers the metabolic rate and puts body into starvation mode. The ideal way is to maintain your calories by eating right amount of highly nutrient food.

An active person who exercises every day will burn more calories than the person who is moderately active with less physical activities.

Men, Women and Children have different daily calorie needs as there are different metabolisms, different heights, weight, age and gender for every human being. The current lifestyle also has an impact in the amount of healthy calorie intake. In general, Men need 2000 to 2500 calories and Women need 1500 to 2400 calories per day depending on their age levels, height and weight. There are many ways to analyse your daily calories needs. There are calorie calculators that help you to estimate daily calorie needs based on gender, height, weight, age and activity level.

It is recommended to eat at least 1200 to 1500 calories per day if you want to lose weight, but this diet plan cannot be followed forever. You need to take balanced diet with enough calories to stay active and healthy.

Men at the age group of 20 to 30 years who do less exercise would need approximately 2400 calories per day whereas Women at the same age group, with the same type of workout routines would need around 2000 calories per day. Men of age group 31 to 50 with less physical activity levels would need 2200 to 2300 calories per day while women of age group 31 to 50 with less physical activity would need 1800 to 1900 calories per day.

This calculation applies to children as well. Children of age group 2 to 3 years would need 1000 calories per day whereas children of age group 4 to 8 years would need 1100 to 1500 calories per day with less physical activity levels.

Young boys at the age group of 9 to 18 years require around 1800 to 3000 calories and girls require around 1800 to 2200 calories per day.

Women above 50 years of age need 1600 to 1700 calories per day and Men above 50 years may need 2000 to 2200 calories per day with less physical activity levels.

Similarly, Men of age group 20 to 50 years with more Physical activity levels may need 2500 to 3000 calories per day and women may require 2000 to 2500 calories per day.

Men above 50 years would need 2300 to 2800 calories and women would need 1800 to 2300 calories per day with more physical activities.

Calorie Calculator

There are many calorie calculators available online to predict the daily calorie needs. Once you estimate your calorie needs, follow it for a week and start monitoring the changes to your body weight. Make adjustments in calorie intake as required so that you can maintain your weight as you wish.

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

You need to calculate BMR to figure out ho many calories you need per day. BMR measures the amount of calories you need to maintain your current weight with normal body processes. The very simple and basic formulae for calculating your BMR is – just multiply your current body weight by 10.

For example, if your current weight is 100 lbs, 1000 calories per day is the basal metabolic rate. Basal Metabolic Rate calculation does not include the measure from physical activity levels (based on exercise limits). You can use some other formulas like Harris – Benedict formula and Katch-McArdle formula to estimate the BMR that includes activity levels.

Exercise is an important factor that determines your daily calorie needs. If you are more physically active or if you do lot of exercise, your body needs slightly higher calorie levels. However, there are other factors like age, height and amount of body fat you have etc also plays a vital role in determining calorie needs.

Maintain an Activity Diary

You need to evaluate yourself by maintaining an activity diary. You need to determine if you are sedentary, moderately active or active.

You are “sedentary” if there is not much physical activity in your lifestyle or job. It may involve mostly sitting, standing etc. You are “lightly active” if you do very light walking. You are “Moderately active” if you do slightly more physical activity than just walking. This may include doing some cleaning, some other work to be done manually. You are “Very active” if you do lot of work and more exercise. You are “Extremely active” if you are involved in any sports, regular hard work outs etc. Keep a track of these different activity levels in the diary.

Set a target of two weeks and keep a detailed record of things you eat and drink in two weeks period. Record all you physical activities, weight and update the diary every day with your routines. After 2 weeks, if your weight is the same when you started, you are on the right track and you are consuming the calories calculated by BMR. If you have gained weight during the 2 weeks exercise, you need to do the necessary changes in your diet plan.

Balance your diet with healthy foods

It is important to know what type of calories you eat every day. You need to allocate your daily calorie intake as follows:

1. Take 40% of protein rich food every day. You can get rich proteins from lean meat, fish, milk, eggs

2. Eat 40% carbohydrates that come from beans, peas, oats, lentils, yogurts etc. Do not go for items like sugar, beverages, cookies, pizza, bread, potatoes, rice, pasta etc

3. 20% of unsaturated or good fat is acceptable. You can eat nuts, seeds etc

Take only Balanced diet with healthy calories and please do remember that calories are the only way to keep check in your weight. You need to alter the calorie intake to lose weight. Any diet plan without a clear distribution in the types of calories will not be of help. Choose a correct diet plan and determine the daily calorie needs.

Source by Jack Kern

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