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Essured
02-28-2005, 11:01 PM
What is a good way of calculating a sensible number of calories an individual should consume to lose weight? I understand that it can only be approximate as there are many variables. I've done a bit of googling, but have discovered a huge disparity, with some sites advising anything from 3000 calories to 1200 calories.

If someone has the knowledge to cut through all the conflicting information out there and can explain how to figure out a reasonable daily calorie intake to aim for (with the understanding that it is an approximate and further refinement may be required), I would be very appreciative. As it is, I don't know what is a "healthy and reasonable" number of calories to aim for.

pinkfreud
02-28-2005, 11:03 PM

Sattua
02-28-2005, 11:34 PM
IANAD etc etc, but here is an interesting approach that my animal physiology professor credits for his lifelong weight loss.

Part one: write down everything you eat for two weeks. EVERYTHING. Every little morsel, measured out. You are not dieting. Eat as you normally would. At the end of the two weeks, sit down and add up your daily calorie consumption. Take the average of the 14 days. Divide this by your weight. The result is how many calories per pound your metabolism burns every day, on average.

Part two: multiple this number by your desired weight. Voila, the number of calories you should be eating.

rjung
03-01-2005, 02:28 AM
As Sattua alludes to, you have to figure out (a) how many calories you burn in a typical day, and (b) how much of a calorie deficit you're willing to run to lose weight.

I've been dieting for almost two months now (using The Hacker's Diet (http://www.fourmilab.ch/hackdiet/www/hackdiet.html)). Given my sedentary lifestyle, I started off assuming I was burning 2,200 calories a day, and planned a 500-calorie deficit -- 1,700 calories/day -- to start. I soon found I was losing weight at roughly 1.8 pounds/week (pretty serious), which indicated to me that

(1) I was actually deficient at around 850-1000 calories a day, and
(2) pre-diet, I normally burn around 2,700 calories/day

But since I was already accustomed to my 1,700 calories/day diet, I decided to stick with that. The result is that I've lost around 18 pounds since mid-January, and I'm feelin' fine. :)

Philster
03-01-2005, 07:05 AM
Generally, you need about 12 cals per pound of body weight to sustain your weight every day. 185lb man needs around 2220 to maintain his weight, if he is an average guy (moderately busy).

Cutting out 3500 cals per week will drop about a pound per week. Don't even count the first 7-10 days, because you can't measure fat loss. After about 14 days, every pound you lose you can confidently say it was body fat.

Generally, over the long haul, every 3500 calorie deficit is equal to one pound. Most diets average out over the long haul. Some show early gains, some show sustainability.