Daily Calorie Deficit
How Many Calories Do I Need to Eat to Lose Weight???
MaShelle, how can I lose weight fast?? I get this question all the time from my clients and even people on the street. There’s no magic pill for weight loss, but there is a simple science: calories in vs. calories out. It’s called the calorie deficit.
Calculate your daily metabolic rate
Losing weight essentially boils down to how many calories you take in vs. how many calories you burn with daily activities and exercise.
There are 3,500 calories in a pound. To lose 1 pound a week, you need a deficit of 500 calories per day, by either eating 500 fewer calories or burning 500 calories a day through exercise. But first you need to calculate how many calories your body needs a day to maintain your current weight. Your 500 daily calorie deficit is based on that number.
By following the simple formula below, I consistently lost 1-2 lbs a week and dropped from a size 12 to a 4 in five short months! By incorporating cardio and strength training, I was able to also reduce body fat which gave me leaner abs and increased muscle definition.
Working out consistently (3-5 times per week) sped up my weight loss and gave me that “fit” look, but by simply following the formula below, you’ll start to shed those extra pounds for good!
Use this formula to determine how many calories you need a day to lose weight: (example for a 150 pound woman):
- Add a zero to your body weight (150 + 0 = 1,500)
- Add 20% for normal daily activity (1,500 x .20 = 300). 1500 + 300 = 1,800 calories per day. This is how many calories you need a day to maintain your current weight
- To lose weight, subtract 500 calories a day (by eating 500 calories less or by burning 500 calories with your workout). 1,800 – 500 = 1,300 calories you need per day to lose 1 lb per week.
Use a food journal to track the calories you eat per day. I like the Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal. It’s super easy to use, it’s accessible via your cell phone or any computer, and it’s FREE.
I also use a heart rate monitor to track the calories I burn through exercise. I used to use a heart rate monitor, but now I just use my FitBit. To learn how to pick the right heart rate monitor, read my article Before you Buy a Heart Rate Monitor.
My Tips for Keeping the Weight Off
- Eat every 3 hours to keep your metabolism running and burning calories all day.
- Get rid of the “white” stuff – breads, pasta, rice, sugar, etc. and switch to the whole grain versions. Whole grains digest more slowly so they keep you full longer and also contain more nutrients than their white counterparts.
- Find healthier versions of the food and snacks you love to eat. Always eat breakfast. It jumpstarts your metabolism.
- Have your last meal at least 3 hours before you go to bed. If you’re hungry at night, drink a protein shake (no fruit) to get rid of the hunger panes and fuel your muscles while you sleep.