Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ask the Trainer: How many calories should I eat?

This was a hot topic of discussion yesterday. To a newbie to a healthy lifestyle/weight loss regime, it can be daunting.

And guess what, this Trainer does not have the answer!

I get this question a lot, but because I have not studied nutrition, this is really not my forte. If you listen to my advice, listen with a grain of salt and do your own research or find a nutritionist to help you. All I can offer is my opinion on things.

Okay, that’s my PT disclaimer.

So really, how many calories do you need to lose weight? Going to depend on so many factors: age, height, current weight, goals, activity level, even gender.

In general, men need between 2,000 to 2,400 calories and woman between 1,200 and 1,500 calories per day. Consuming less than 1,200 calories per day can be harmful to your health since it may trigger your body to go into starvation mode, causing your body to actually hold onto calories.

Women in don't need to eat as many calories as men. Also, people who exercise vigorously on a regular basis need to eat more than those who don't.

Me, I’m a fan of calorie cycling. My calorie range is 1300-1600, and most days I stay close to 1300 (I try to never go under 1200), but I must have at least 1-2 days a week where I hit that 1600. Either it’s on my “off day” on the weekend, or a midweek treat. Also, having a high calories day is great if you go off tracked when you did not plan to. The next day, get right back at it and hit that low calorie range and stick to that for a few days.

But listen, if you are extremely overweight, you NEED to eat way more than I do! 1200 calories are not enough and it puts your body in starvation mode…and worse, triggers cravings and binges. If you weigh more, eat more! And for every 10 pounds you lose, recalculate your calories needs. If you increase your activity level, eat more!

Check out this website to calculate your calorie needs:

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