Are you trying for cutting calories to lose weight? If so, you may be confused by the numbers you see. It’s hard to know exactly how many calories to cut to effectively lose weight and keep the pounds off forever. But do not worry. Cutting calories is easier than you think — once you get the facts.
Can I lose weight by cutting calories alone?
There are different ways to lose weight, but they all require changing your daily calorie balance so that you burn more calories than you consume. Experts call this your energy balance. The simplest way to change your energy balance is to reduce the amount of calories you eat. You can achieve this by eating smaller portions of food at meals, skipping mindless snacks and high-calorie drinks, or replacing high-calorie foods with low-calorie foods.
You can also add exercise to increase the calorie deficit and lose weight faster. But be careful. This plan works for some of the people, but it backfires on others. Exercise is good for your body and should be the part of a healthy lifestyle. But exercise can make you hungrier. If you’re already cutting calories to lose weight, the extra hunger after exercise can be overwhelming, and may cause you to end your weight loss program altogether.
If you already exercise, you may be able to reduce calories and maintain an exercise program to lose weight. But if exercise isn’t part of your daily routine, start slowly. First cut calories to lose weight and then slowly add an easy exercise program to increase weight loss.
How many calories should I cut?
Most experts recommend cutting approximately 500 to 750 calories per day to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week. You can use the Calorie Goal Calculator for Weight Loss to find out how many calories you should eat each day.
In order to achieve your goal, you need to keep track of how many calories you eat. It is best to keep the food diary. Your journal can be a simple pen and paper journal. Or you can use a smartphone app or the website that tracks calories for you. Many activity trackers allow you to calculate calories within an online tracker dashboard. Use the method that is easiest for you so that you can keep track of your calories.
Can I cut more calories to lose the weight faster?
If reducing calories can lead to weight loss, you may be tempted to cut as many calories as possible to lose weight. Some people even reduce their daily food intake to the 800 calories or less to lose weight. But low-calorie diets don’t usually lead to permanent weight loss for a variety of reasons and can be harmful to overall health.
First, low-calorie diets (VLCDs) can affect your metabolism, putting your body into “starvation mode.” When you eat far less than your body needs, your metabolism slows down to adapt to the reduced energy supply. This means that the rate of weight loss is also slowing down. You won’t gain weight by eating less food, but you may lose weight more slowly than if you eat the correct number of calories.
Next, low-calorie diets affect the daily energy level. Why is this important? Your daily activity level has a huge impact on the number of calories you burn each day. If you stay active, you are more likely to see weight loss results. If you’re tired from eating too little, you won’t burn as many calories and weight loss can stop.
Finally, very low-calorie diets are uncomfortable, unsafe, and difficult to maintain. Without the medical supervision, your body is unlikely to remain healthy without essential nutrients. And if you feel very hungry because of decreased food intake, you are more likely to binge and may even gain weight.
Be careful cutting calories drastically
Reducing calories is not the most modern way to lose weight. You probably will not see the Hollywood celebrities talking about it in magazines or on social media channels. But making moderate adjustments to your daily calorie intake is a time-tested, evidence-based method for weight loss. It is the method that health experts recommend the most.
Just be careful not to cut too many calories and risk your health. Your body needs time to adjust to a new lifestyle and eating plan. Take it slow and make the small adjustments to see real weight loss results that last.