Cutting Calories: How Much How Often

While it is easy to demonize calories and we often blame them for making us enjoy good food, we must also realize that calories nourish our body and keep us strong and healthy. While we shouldn’t think of calories as the enemy, we must work to find a healthy balance of food that our body needs to thrive, and calories that are contributing to unwanted weight gain.

The number of calories in the food one consumes is a measure of the number of energy units supplied which in turn keeps the body mechanism healthy. Only 4 components in food provide calories: alcohol protein, carbohydrates and fat. Minerals, Photo chemicals, Vitamins, water and fiber do not contribute calories.

Cutting calories one consumes on a daily basis is the cornerstone of loosing excess weight. One pound of fat equals about 3,500 calories. This roughly translates into losing a pound a week or around 500 calories per day. Common sense tells us that restricting your calories is one of the best ways to lose weight. 

In order to determine your personal calorie requirement and how many calories you should cut, multiply your target weight in pounds by 12 to 15 calories. This gives the range that you can adjust for gender, age and activity levels.

Now that you have an idea of your daily caloric needs, you can determine the amount and intensity of your workouts.  If a person exercises three to four times per week for an hour, then the ideal weight needs to be multiplied by 15 calories. If the person is inactive and does not work out, then the ideal weight is multiplied by 13. And if one exercises for an hour every day, then it needs to be multiplied by 20. This is the calorie intake one needs to work for to maintain the ideal weight and cutting calories scheme should be framed accordingly. Refer Ms. Corinne Netzer: “The Complete Book on Food Counts”. It is an excellent resource for caloric intake information.

The amount of calories to be deducted for maintaining the ideal weight also needs to be calculated. Based on the first week’s calorie consumption determined by the person’s exercise pattern, for the remaining three weeks, they only need to cut the calorie intake by one third.

Example: If the goal weight is 135 pounds and if the person has not been exercising lately, the average daily calorie in the first week is 2655. This works out at 135 (goal weight) x 13 (activity level) = 1755 (daily calorie intake at goal weight). Where 2655 was the daily calorie intake of the first week, so if 1755 is deducted from 2655 the current daily calorie intake the figure is 900. Cut one third of the daily calorie (for this example 300) each week, starting in the second week, the person is bound to get the ideal weight loss mode by the fourth week. This works out to 2655 daily calories for the first week, 2355 daily for the second week, 2055 daily for week three and 1755 daily calories for week four and beyond.

Most of the initial weight loss is fluid, later fat and muscle is proportioned accounting for more than 30% weight loss. Extreme diet where the calorie intake is less than 1200 per day leads to health risks. It is believed that one should not be on severe diet beyond 16 weeks or fast more than 2 or 3 days. Sever dieting has unpleasant side effects including fatigue, intolerance to cold, hair loss, gall stone formation, even heart arrhythmia.  Those whose diet includes high intake of fluids and much reduced protein and sodium are also prone to various ailments.

According to Foreyt the best road for success is a moderate cutting calories scheme so as to stay healthy and still have energy for an active life style.