How Many Calories are You Eating?

In my previous Being Hungry post, I warned that, as you cut back on calories, it’s only natural that you’ll feel hungrier more often. You’re accustomed to eating far more calories to sustain your body weight than you need, so –especially initially–when you make your lifestyle change, you’ll be tempted to cave. Here’s why:

This formula isn’t exact, as people’s bodies burn calories differently, but it offers a rough estimate of how many calories it takes to sustain your current body weight.

  • To calculate your average daily caloric intake, multiply your body weight by 13. (If you’re a very committed athlete, who gets far more beyond the recommended 30 minutes per day, multiply your body weight by 15.)
  • For example, if you weigh 250 pounds, it’s likely you ingest about 3,250 calories a day to sustain that weight (The math is 250*13 =3,250 or 250*15= 3,750 for the super athlete.)
  • What this means is, if the average recommended caloric intake for women is 2,000 and 2,500 for men, a 250 pound person would be eating an extra 1,250-1,400 calories or so a day.
  • Burning one pound of body fat requires, on average, using 3,600 calories.
  • Limiting caloric intake to the recommended amount would result in losing 2.43 pounds a week (and most weight loss plans reduce calories way more than this, which is partly what sets up failure).

Since going without eating is most inadvisable, the minimum time required to expect to lose, say, 50 pounds, would be 20 weeks, or 5 months. But think of it this way—in just 5 months, you could be well on your way to achieving a healthy weight instead of feeling guilty about another binge session.

To put this into perspective, think about what you were doing 5 months ago and how quickly that time has most likely flown by. If you had committed to a lifestyle change five months ago, you would already have reached a healthier weight than if you didn’t make any changes.

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