How to Create Your Own Eating Plan – Part 1 – Calories

by ADC - Gail

One of the most fundamental pieces of any eating plan is the calorie. create an eating plan

  • If you take in more calories than you expend, you’ll gain weight
  • Consume fewer calories than you use and you’ll lose

So, if you want to create your own eating plan and lose weight, you first have to educate yourself about what a calorie is and how many you need (and don’t need).

What is a Calorie?

A calorie is a unit of energy used for measurement purposes. To put it simply, each food you eat is assigned a certain number of calories based upon how much energy it takes to process them. So, foods that require a lot of energy have higher calorie levels than those that don’t require as much.

This is exactly why you gain weight if you eat too many high calorie foods. Your body only uses so much energy in a day, so when you exceed that limit the result is more fat not only on your arms and legs, but around your internal organs as well (which is bad).

How Many Calories Do You Need?

How many calories you need depends on a number of factors.

  • Males generally need more than females (due to their higher muscle mass)
  • Younger people need more than older people
  • Active individuals need more than those that are sedentary

There are many online calculators, like one from the American Cancer Society, that help you easily determine what your daily calorie intake should be.

Simply put in your information, selecting the options that fit you, hit enter and it will give you the approximate number of calories you need every day to maintain your current weight.

The basic rule is that you need around 15-16 calories per pound of body weight to maintain your current weight.

So, for example, if you currently weigh 150 pounds, you will likely stay the same weight by eating around 2,300 calories a day. Remember that this is just a ballpark number so you may need to adjust it a little for your specific body.

If your goal is to lose weight then, you have to use more calories than you take in.

You can do this one of three ways:

  • Decrease your food intake,
  • Increase your physical activity
  • Or do both

All of these methods are effective at helping you reach your weight loss goal.

There are 3,500 calories per pound of fat which means that if you want to lose one pound a week you have to create a 500 calorie deficit every day.

You can cut your food by 500 calories or ramp up your exercise to burn that same amount. Or simply divide it and eat 250 fewer calories and do 250 more calorie-burning exercises.

One thing to remember is that as you lose weight, your calorie intake will reduce as well. So, every ten pounds or so, recalculate to make sure that you’re not taking in more food than you need.

Keeping Track

The best way to lose weight is to keep track of what you eat. While most people find it difficult or time consuming to write down everything they take in, you’re increasing the likelihood that you lose weight by doing this one simple task.

In an article published in the USA Today, it confirmed this fact. They cited research that showed that women who kept food journals were more likely to lose weight than those who don’t.

Why?

The answer is two-fold.

  • First, you know exactly how many calories you’re taking in
  • Second, you’re more accountable and less likely to “cheat” if you have to write it down

You can buy pre-made food journals at most book stores or you can create your own.

Simply buy a tablet of paper, divide it in columns and write down the food, amount and total calories.

It may take a lot of time at first, but since people generally eat the same things time and time again, you’ll become pretty efficient at knowing exactly how much you’re taking in without having to look it up every time.

The great thing about journaling is that it also reminds you to control your portions. A lot of times it isn’t what you eat that’s the problem, but how much. Monitor this one aspect of your diet and you’ll likely see positive results.

Conclusion

Before you can plan any menu designed for weight loss success, you have to know where you are and what you need to do to get where you’re going. You have to understand calorie basics and how to use that information to achieve the results you desire.

So, figure out what your personal calorie intake should be, keep track of what you’re eating and you’re on your way to weight loss success!

Stay tuned for Part 2!


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