Are you a calorie counter?

howmanycaloriesshouldieataday

Disclaimer: I do not have a degree, I am not a professional in health nor do I claim to be one. I just enjoy a healthy/active lifestyle and continue to learn myself. My posts are simply here as an outlet and if they happen to help educate others along the way I am happy to do so.

I have never been one to track my food intake.  When I am hungry I eat.  When I am not hungry I don’t eat.  I realize this is not a perfect science and in order to lead the healthy lifestyle that I want, this has to change.

I was shocked to learn that as a moderately active female, between the ages of 26-30, I should be consuming about 2000 calories per day!  A far cry from the 1200 that ‘my fitness pal’ told me I was allowed to eat…some pal.  I may have attempted to limit myself to 1200 calories… for a day.  I was starving and knew that was definitely not right, even if my goal was weight loss (which is wasn’t).  So, why was I counting calories?  I have no idea, it was my idea of tracking what I was eating I suppose.

I realize now to do things the right way I have to educate myself.  We are so lucky to have access to an overwhelming amount of information through the internet.  Yes, this is also a curse, but when you take the time to do your homework on something that is important to you, it pays off.  Everyone knows that eating ‘healthy’ involves eating your fruits and veggies, but most times the knowledge stops there.

So let’s talk ‘diet’.

Your goals determine your diet.  Are you trying to lose weight?  Are you trying to gain weight?  or are you trying to maintain your weight?   Once you have identified your goal, you need to figure out how many calories you should be taking in each day to fuel your body.

Follow this chart for a quick and easy answer; just find your gender, age and activity level and voila!

Activity levels on the chart above can be defined by the following:

  • SEDENTARY (LOW) = less than 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity in addition to daily activities.
  • MODERATELY ACTIVE = at least 30 minutes up to 60 minutes a day of moderate physical activity in addition to daily activities.
  • ACTIVE = 60 or more minutes a day of moderate physical activity in addition to daily activities.

Now that you have established where you should be, don’t be afraid to take in the calories that your body needs; they help your body function the way it should and sustain a healthy metabolism.  When eating too few calories you put stress on your body and can affect many things such as hormones and metabolism.

The calories indicated in the chart already take your activity level into consideration, so if weight loss is your goal, small changes must be made in order to lose and lose it in a healthy manner.  A decrease of 500 calories per day is ok, BUT the decrease must be 250 in food and the other 250 in extra physical activity.

Using myself as an example for a goal of weight loss:

A moderately active female, between the ages of 26-30 = 2000 calories

I can decrease my calories from food to 1750 and increase my activity to burn the other 250 (i.e. 30 minutes of moderate cardio).  This allows my body the fuel it needs to burn efficiently and maintain a hard-working metabolism, which in turn burns those fat cells away!

Many people tend to underestimate what they are eating and over-estimate how many calories are burned during physical activity.  Remember, just because you burn 300 calories at the gym today doesn’t give you permission to have an extra helping of dessert tonight! 😉

Tip:  Be sure to give your body plenty of water and even more rest.  Being dehydrated and/or sleep deprived will slow down your metabolism and take away your chance of weight loss results.

Stayed tuned for more tips and some healthy meal choices!

Lady Champagne xo

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