I Want To Gain/Lose Weight: How Many Calories Should I Eat?

I want to lose/gain weightIn contemporary American society, consumers often wonder how to gain weight or how to lose weight. A popular adage posits that one “cannot be too rich or too thin.” This misguided mentality is very different from reality. In fact, sporting inadequate stores of fat on your frame is very unhealthy.

Basic rules to gain/lose weight

Your body derives energy from the food you eat. Relative food energy value is expressed as “calories.” The more calories a particular source of food contains, the more energy it provides.

Your body uses energy constantly. Walking, driving, and housecleaning all require energy. Even when asleep or resting, you use energy to generate body heat and maintain circulation, respiration, and digestion.

Failure to use all consumed energy results in your body storing the excess as fat. Thus, any effective weight management program entails a dual approach to energy consumption: Intake and outgo. The relative amounts of energy ingested and consumed must change, depending on your weight management objectives.

To successfully lose or gain weight, regard your daily food intake and activity level as a bank account. When deposits exceed withdrawals, you accumulate a positive balance of extra money. If withdrawals exceed deposits, your balance becomes negative. To gain weight, you must increase your intake of calories. You must cut down on your calories to lose weight.

How many calories should I eat a day?

Nearly as many answers to this query exist as do inquirers. The answer to how many calories to lose weight you must trim from your daily diet is dependent upon many personal characteristics. Age, gender, activity level, general health condition, and other lifestyle factors all affect the right answer for you.

Maintaining proper nutrition in your diet

Recommended Daily Allowance (“RDA”) is the universally recognized official standard for nutritional intake.  Your RDA sets forth the minimum amount of specific vitamins and minerals you must consume daily to maintain proper health.

Nutritional needs change throughout life. Growing children require more vitamins, minerals, and energy than adults. Likewise, women’s nutritional needs are very different from men’s due to pregnancy, menstruation, and dissimilar body structure. The elderly have still other unique nutritional needs, due to declining physical and chemical body processes.

A healthy weight management diet should include sufficient intake from five basic food groups: Fruits; vegetables; dairy; grains; and, proteins. The US Department of Agriculture maintains charts and publications about daily nutritional requirements.  Visit usda.gov to learn what the best RDA is for your individual circumstances.

Not all fat is bad

Some types of fat are actually good for you. A base level of healthy fat is needed for healing, body heat regulation, and other important physical functions. Relative fat content varies widely among foods. As a general rule, unprocessed foods that are consumed in their natural states contain healthy fat.  Processed foodstuffs such as canned, frozen, or packaged items have high levels of “bad” fat.

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