When it comes to weight loss, one of the most important things is knowing your calorie needs. Luckily, there are several ways to calculate this!
There are two major types of calories we intake per day: energy (or macronutrients) and food items. Energy comes from carbohydrates, fat or protein. Different foods have different amounts of each nutrient, so figuring out how much energy you need per day depends on which nutrients you’re looking to increase or decrease.
This article will go into detail about how to determine your total daily calorie needed for maintenance, weight reduction, and ketosis.
Calculate your macronutrient needs
The next step in determining how to use nutrition for weight loss is calculating your macro nutrient needs, or what foods you should be eating to meet your nutritional goals.
Calculating your macro nutrient needs will help you determine whether you are meeting your protein, carbohydrate, fat requirements or if you are being overfed with more than necessary.
By having enough of each major nutrient, you can feel better while balancing your diet to lose weight. You may also need more of some nutrients as you age or if you are trying to achieve certain health outcomes.
Beware though, too much food intake does not always keep up with appetite regulation! Nutritionists agree that it’s important to understand the difference between needed and unnecessary calories.
Learn how to calculate your calorie and macronutrient needs
Finding your individual nutritional needs is not a one-time event! It requires repeating over time as your body fluctuates due to activity, season, life changes, etc.
Fortunately for you, there are some easy ways to do this. Websites and apps that can determine your average daily caloric intake by day or week make it simple to find what’s appropriate for your current situation.
Likewise, sites and apps that can analyze your food habits and determine which foods contribute to either too many carbs, fats or both are also helpful in determining needed adjustments.
By learning about nutrition basics, you will know what to do next when trying to achieve your weight loss goals.
Multiply your calories by the following factors
To determine your daily calorie needs, you must first know how many calories you should have per day.
Calories are the main component of food that gives us our energy. A calorie is a measure of energy content that we get from foods.
A calorie comes from either glucose or fat. Glucose is a simple carbohydrate found in sugars such as fruits, some vegetables, and milk. Fat contains more calories than carbs (about 9 kcal/gram for fats) so they contribute more to your daily calorie intake.
Many people confuse “caloric” with “nutrition” because both refer to the amount of energy an individual gets from eating something. However, caloric nutrition only considers carbohydrates and fats; it does not include protein.
Know your macros to the nearest whole number
More important than what foods you eat is how much of each food item you consume. You should be aware of your daily calorie, protein, fat, and carbohydrate intake.
Calories are the main component in any diet. This term refers to glucose or carbs that we ingest. Glucose is a simple sugar that most living organisms require to function properly.
Carbohydrates are found in many forms including fruits, vegetables, breads, pasta, rice, and potatoes. Some people feel that diets rich in carbohydrates are better for us because they give our bodies the fuel it needs to thrive. However, this isn’t always the case.
Too much energy can have negative effects on our health. If you watch TV, use the computer, and play video games, you will find that there are never enough calories available to satisfy your appetite.
This can result in over eating and obesity. Unfortunately, obesity is a leading risk factor in developing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Having these diseases increases your chance of death slightly more than smoking does!1
Obesity also raises your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. These changes increase your risk of having a stroke or cardiovascular event.
Eat your food
There is no simple way to tell if you are hungry or not, so trying to reduce hunger by eating less often is just confusing yourself!
If you find that you’re hungry at lunch time then try having breakfast instead. This will give your body time to get into gear for digestion and nutritional intake as it comes later in the day.
Also, make sure to eat enough of all nutrients – particularly protein, fat and carbohydrates. Nutritionists recommend keeping proteins under 50% of your daily calories, fats over 20-30% and carbs under 30%.
However, we suggest thinking about this more broadly.
Record your meals
The next step in determining your calorie needs is by recording what you eat! This can be done through either of two methods: food diaries or nutrition logs.
A food diary requires you to note down everything you eat for a certain amount of time (usually one week). You then calculate how many calories you consumed per day by multiplying your meal size by 4 and adding this value to your daily total.
By using both NutritionLogs and diet diarists, you get more detailed information about individual foods. By noting the nutritional content of each food, you are able to determine not only how many calories you consume, but also which macronutrients (carbohydrates, fat, protein) you are consuming.
This article will go over some simple tips on how to track your nutrition with Nutrition Logs and Food Diaries.
Track your calories
The first step in knowing how much food you need is having a good source of information about your calorie needs. There are many ways to do this, from using online tools to tracking what you eat with help from someone or somewhere else.
Most people start by taking an average of their daily intake and dividing that number into the number of days in a week to get their weekly intake. This can be tricky because some days you may have more than others (for example, if you work late nights) and some weeks it might be higher due to one day’s extra workout or eating well.
Tracy has already done the hard work for you! She has created easy-to-use calculators that determine both your individualized calorie needs as well as the numbers per day depending on whether you are in weight loss or maintenance mode.
Adjust your calories
One of the biggest factors in determining if you are hungry or full is how many calories you consume. If you eat too few calories, then you feel hungry because you don’t have enough food!
You can easily check your daily calorie intake by looking at what we call “caloric values.” These are like nutritional “scales” that measure the amount of nutrients in each food item. Some foods have higher caloric content than others, so they pack more weight when eating them.
By knowing your own personal caloric needs, you will be able to determine whether you are craving certain foods due to lack of nutrition or because you are just plain hungry.
There are two main ways to adjust your diet to meet your nutritional needs. You can either reduce the number of calories you drink or the number of calories you eat. Both work well, itjust depends on which one is easier for you to do.