Welcome to part 1 of my 3 part series that focuses on how to work out how many calories your body needs in order to lose fat, gain muscle or maintain your weight. In this series I am going to help you work out exactly how many calories your body needs depending on your goals, introduce you to reverse dieting and the new way of ‘clean eating’ known as IIFYM. By the end of this 3 part series you will know exactly how much you should be eating to meet your specific goals, how to fix a damaged metabolism caused by excessive dieting and how you can reach your goals without starving or depriving yourself.
‘How many calories should I eat per day?’ Is no doubt the most common question that I get asked. There seems to be so much confusion when it comes to calorie intake, and it’s no wonder with all the different calorie recommendations from different people you see plastered over the internet. Calorie intake is going to be different for everyone depending on their goals; there is not, and should not be a ‘one size fits all’ approach. The amount of calories your body needs is based on your weight, height, age and activity level – and of course, this is different for everyone. The best way to reach your goals and stick with them long term is to find a diet and exercise plan that allows you to have your ideal body while still eating the foods you enjoy, without damaging your metabolism.
Many people fall trap to the low calorie, low fat, low carb, 3 shakes a day excessive way of dieting. This not only damages your metabolism, but makes it difficult to keep the weight off long term. These excessive dieters are usually always dieting, without ever reaching maintenance. They usually reach their goal weight quite quickly, only to have the weight come right back. Many dieters eventually get frustrated from not losing weight fast enough for their liking and will drop to the lowest calorie intake recommended when trying to lose weight – the magical ‘1200 calories’. I know from experience just how damaging this can be to your metabolism. Sure, like most people I lost a lot of weight very quickly, but it slowly crept back on after I couldn’t take the fatigue and grumbling tummy any longer and finally increased my calories.
Calorie counting can be frustrating, I know. I spent months going back and forth between different calorie targets, trying to find the magic number that would allow me to lose weight without destroying my metabolism (again!). Weight loss isn’t meant to be easy, but it would make it a hell of a lot easier if we had a good starting point and the information needed to calculate our ideal calorie intake. In the next 2 posts I am going to help you to calculate your ideal calorie intake and get on (or back on for some of you) the road to a healthy, optimally functioning metabolism. After all, a healthy metabolism is the key to long term maintainable weight loss success.
How exactly do we find that magic calorie number that allows us to eat as much as we possibly can while reaching and maintaining our ideal weight? Find out in Part 2.
*This series is a follow on from my previous post about metabolic damage.