When it comes to setting a daily calorie intake to lose weight safely, there are many things to take into account. During menopause, it is very common to put on a few extra pounds, and you may have to watch what you eat. Your willingness to achieve a healthy body weight is the most important step in this process, but counting calories can be pointless when you do not know the proper way to go about it. This article provides guidance to do it effectively and safely.
Determining Weight and Lifestyle
The first thing you must determine is your weight. People with a higher body weight need more calories to maintain that weight. You also have to figure out how much physical activity you do within a typical week. Activity can be broken down into four categories: sedentary, light activity, moderate activity, and heavy activity. A sedentary lifestyle is characterized by mostly sitting all day. Light activity is walking regularly throughout your day to get from place to place. Moderate activity is four hours of exercise each week. Finally, heavy activity is typically performed by athletes.
Calculating Optimum Calorie Intake
Once you know your weight and activity level, you can begin to figure out the best daily calorie intake to lose weight safely. Grab a calculator and simply multiply your body weight (in pounds) by 13 if you lead a sedentary lifestyle, 15 if you perform light activity daily, 17 with moderate activity, and 20 with heavy activity. The number you get is the amount of calories necessary to maintain your current body weight. Anything below this amount can result in weight loss over time.
Safely Lowering Calorie Intake
Many women may obsessively count calories and even set targets that are dangerously low. While it is good to keep track and be aware, having taking an obsessive approach can do more harm than good. Getting too few calories can actually disrupt your metabolism and put your body into survival mode, where it retains more fat than it would if you consumed enough calories.
A daily calorie intake to lose weight safely will cause a one to two-pound decrease a week. To figure this out, simply subtract 500 to 1000 from the number you found above. Under no circumstances should your intake be lower than 1,200 calories per day.
Choosing Calories Wisely
Losing weight is not just a matter of simply counting calories. If you eat 1,500 calories of chips and cookies throughout the day but not whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, you will not see positive results. Understand that one gram of fat contains more than double the amount of calories than one gram of carbohydrates or protein, and often does not even fill you up. It is also important when it comes to your protein sources to choose ones low in fat, such as tofu or salmon.
Keeping a record is a great way to track your daily calorie intake to lose weight safely. Make sure to use common sense in this process, and choose a well-balanced whole food diet rather than processed and packaged products. It is also a good idea to add more physical activity into your week, ideally 2.5 hours more per week.
Click on the following link to learn more about how to avoid weight gain during menopause.
- Harvard Medical School. (2009). Calorie counting made easy. Retrieved April 23, 2014, from http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/HB_web/calorie-counting-made-easy.htm
- UCLA - University of California Los Angeles. (2005). Calories Count. Retrieved April 22, 2014, from http://www.dining.ucla.edu/housing_site/dining/SNAC_pdf/CaloriesCount.pdf