I get this question a lot: “How many calories should I eat to lose weight?” In my custom training programs I give women their calories and guidelines for menus, but I understand there is a lot of conflicting information out there on this subject and it’s no wonder everybody is confused.
Women still will ask me “How many calories should I eat to lose weight?” and often people find me frustrated because they seem to blow their “diets” or calorie ranges often. Some people will tell you that’s just a matter of weakness, etc. I agree if you are on a deadline to lose weight that is the case. You can’t afford to “blow it” and often must be hungry, etc.
But, my average client doesn’t have a sporting event they are getting super lean for. My clients are in this to be healthier and feel good. Feeling good means not obsessing about the next meal because they are starving. It also means having control over their impulses so that they aren’t feeling horrible the next day over a bad sugar binge.
I’m giving you an answer to one of my www.phit-n-phat.com members who emailed. She weighs a little over 200lbs and has not been able to lose weight for a long time. She’s very active doing videos, running, etc., but has a problem with “doing good all day then it coming apart in the afternoon/evening.” Sound familiar?
Before I post my answer I want to note the following things:
You are probably not allowing yourself enough calories each day.
You might be WAY undereating the first half the day when you are distracted and busy.
When you get home to loads of food options, your adrenaline will release, and the hunger kicks in feeling UNCONTROLLABLE.
Babe, you have been hungry all day. You were just too busy to listen to the subtle clues your body gave you. When you get home the body decides to scream and toss a tantrum like a three year old because we ALL know that will get your attention and cause you to do anything to shut them up!
Now for my answer. Actually, before I answer, let me restate the question: “How many calories should I eat to lose fat?“. Now for my answer.
If you weigh over 200lbs and you are eating 1500 calories then you are eating what someone who weighs 150 should eat to lose and feel mildly hungry. You should eat based on what you CURRENTLY weigh; not what you want to weigh. The body doesn’t respond well to that. It still has organs and functions to carry out and needs the fuel to do it. It will also have nowhere to go when you get smaller because you already ate in the low end of “dieting.”
At your weight if you were a client I would multiply your weight by 9-12. That would be your range and you would follow menus for that based on hunger levels each day.
How Many Calories Should I Eat To Lose Weight? It Depends on Your Plan For The Day.
Body Weight (BW) x9 are the days you are busy, sleep late, go to bed early, or just so full of veggies you don’t need more.
BWx10 is your wheelhouse. Pretty much eat this most days and re-do the x10 every 10lbs you lose. When I have to give a five-second answer to “How many calories should I eat to lose weight?”, body weight times ten is the best short answer I have.
BWx11 is when you need that extra snack. You might be PMS’ing, having a special day, tired, munchy, salt is low, etc. It’s your guilt free way of having something extra WHEN YOU NEED IT.
BWx12 is your super active and super hungry days. You don’t eat here very often. It’s really for days that are high in activity or a day where you know you will just eat your arm off and staying at 12 will save you.
The answer to “how many calories should I eat?” gets easier to live with the harder you are willing to work.
AS you get smaller, move to 10-12 and around 160lbs stop x9 anymore. The goal is always to eat as much as you can and lose. Not the other way around. I like girls to eat more, exercise hard, and settle for a solid pound or 1.5lb of FAT each week (not muscle and fat and be in the 2lb range every week).
The big thing is get in your range. Eat it faithfully with HARD execise and see what happens after TWO weeks. You should lose. If you don’t lose, drop the all ranges by 100 calories and try again for two weeks.
If you have to drop the range after four weeks I would examine how hard you are working out. You might need more intensity and heavier weights.
One important thing to remember, though, you must be 95% in your range and 95% with your exercise for two weeks. If you are less than 95% then the problem isn’t the calorie range; the problem is you are not working your plan. I see too many people blame the exercise schedule and the calorie range when they need to examine their habits. In other words, don’t ask me “How many calories should I eat to lose weight?” and then basically ignore the answer by failing to execute consistently.
I hope this helps you find a calorie range that allows you to keep those habits clean and strong.