The average woman needs to eat about 2,000 calories per day to maintain her weight, and 1,500 per day to lose one pound of weight per week. Meanwhile, the average man needs 2,500 calories to maintain, and 2,000 to lose one pound of weight per week.
However, this depends on numerous factors, like age, height, weight, activity, health and several others.
What are calories?
A calorie is a unit that measures energy. In nutrition, calories refer to the energy people get from the food and drink they consume, and the energy they use in physical activity.
How to reduce calorie intake
To gain weight, you need to eat more calories than you spent. Conversely, you lose weight if more calories leave your body than enter it.
That said, cutting calories without taking the foods you eat into account is usually not a sustainable way to lose weight. It works for some people, but most of them end up starving. For this reason, it’s highly recommended to make other changes to help you maintain a calorie deficit in the long term, without feeling starved.
Here are some of them.
1. Eat more protein
When it comes to losing weight, protein is the most important part of it. High protein diet can increase calories burned by 80–100 calories per day. One study showed that people who ate 30% of calories from protein automatically ate 441 fewer calories per day. In other words, you can easily increase calories out and reduce them in just by adding protein to your diet. If you want to lose weight sustainably and with minimal effort, consider making a permanent increase in your protein intake.
2. Avoid sugary soft drinks and fruit juices
Eliminate liquid sugar from your diet. This includes sodas, fruit juices, chocolate milk, and other beverages with added sugar.
These products are among the most fattening aspects of the modern diet, as your brain doesn’t register liquid calories in the same way as it registers solid calories.
3. Drink more water
One very simple trick to increase weight loss is to drink more water. Doing so can increase the number of calories you burn for up to 90 minutes.
Drinking about 8 glasses (equal to 2 liters) of water per day can make you burn about 96 more calories.
4. Exercise and lift weights
When you eat fewer calories, your body compensates by saving energy, making you burn less. This is why long-term calorie restriction can significantly reduce metabolism. Plus, it can lead to loss of muscle mass. The only proven strategy to prevent this effect is to exert your muscles by lifting weights.
If you can’t get to a gym, consider doing bodyweight exercises, such as push-ups, squats, and sit-ups, at home.
Doing some cardio, including walking, swimming, or jogging, can also be important — not necessarily for weight loss but for optimal health and general well-being.
5. Reduce your carb intake
Cutting carbs is a very effective way to lose weight, as it reduces appetite and makes you eat less automatically.
Studies have shown that eating a low carb diet until fullness can make you lose about two to three times more weight than a low fat diet. Not only that, but low carb diets also have many other benefits for health, especially for people with type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome.
How many calories you need per day depends on whether you want to maintain, lose, or gain weight, as well as various other factors, such as your gender, age, height, weight, activity, and metabolic health.
A few simple diet and lifestyle changes, including exercising, properly hydrating, and increasing protein and reducing carb intake, can help you lose weight and feel satisfied.