How many calories do you need to lose, maintain or gain weight?

How many calories do you need to lose, maintain or gain weight?

It’s no secret that a balanced diet and a regular exercise regimen are vital to a healthy lifestyle. While that may seem straightforward, knowing what your body needs can sometimes get a little complicated. That’s why it’s important to become familiar with the impact your caloric intake has on your body.

Calories are the common denominator of almost all of the food and drink you consume. A calorie is defined as a unit of energy supplied by food. When you exercise, you burn calories, and the key to a balanced diet is burning roughly the same amount of calories you consume.

In order to strike the right dietary balance, you need to assess your current lifestyle and health goals and adjust your caloric intake accordingly. First, decide if you want to maintain, lose or gain weight. If you’re not sure, pay a visit to a physician or nutritionist to see if you’re at a healthy weight.

If you want to maintain your current weight, simply continue eating the same amount of calories that you’re burning. If you’re not sure how many calories you’re taking in, start keeping a food diary and pay attention to the labels on the food and drink you consume. It’s also recommended that you maintain around 2.5 hours of moderate to intense aerobic activity per week, plus some muscle-strengthening activities.

If you want to lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit. That means you need to begin eating fewer calories than your body uses. Once you do this, your body will pull from its fat storage cells for energy and your weight will decrease. If your goal is to lose one or two pounds a week, reduce your caloric intake by 500-1000 calories per day.

If you want to gain weight, increase the number of calories you are consuming. If you’re exercising more than the recommended amount, consider scaling your workout regimen back by intensity or length. Keep in mind that while it’s important to consume enough calories to achieve a healthy weight, there are also risks to consuming too many calories, namely obesity, diabetes and other health complications. See your physician for more details.

Balance is the most important thing to consider when making your diet and exercise plan. Every person’s body is unique, and the first step toward taking control of your diet is understanding how calories impact your body.

Posted: 4/28/2015 by Goshen Health
Filed under: Calories, Diet, Food, Gain, Healthy, lifestyle, Lose, Maintain, Nutrition, Weight

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