How Many Calories Should You Eat A Day To Lose Weight?
- Dt. Jeyashree B
- 3 Min Read
- Fact Checked
During the pandemic, many of us were going through the lockdown and were working from home. As physical activity decreased, the food that we were consuming may have also been unhealthy. Due to this, many of us have noticed that we’ve gained a couple of kilograms. Fortunately, things have started getting back to normal and most of us are being called back to work, but what about the weight gained during the lockdown? Many of us want the easy way out, and often wonder how many calories should we eat a day to lose weight or the extra kilograms? Though there is so much information around us about calories and weight loss, many find it hard to count calories or understand their impact on the body. Let’s break the age-old belief for you, a calorie deficit is not the only way to lose weight. It is just a very small part of weight loss. The most important part is, where these calories are coming from and how we distribute these nutrients in a day.
Calories come majorly from macronutrients which are carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Eating them in the right proportions and between the right intervals is important for weight loss. Weight gain is just not due to the imbalance in calories, but also due to an imbalance in the hormones present in the body. Insulin is an energy-storing hormone and an overproduction of it can lead to obesity and insulin resistance and other medical conditions such as diabetes or PCOS.
To make sure insulin release is under control requires two things:
– What we consume determines the spike of insulin
– When and how much we eat determines how persistent our insulin is
Meals need to be given the proper gaps between one to another throughout the day. The lesser the eating hours in a day, the better. Conscious fasting has always been with us traditionally, but one should not confuse fasting with starvation. Fasting is when you consciously and comfortably give proper space between one meal to another. Give yourself a window period of 10-14 hrs for optimal fasting. Plan an early dinner and give space between your dinner and your bedtime.
As mentioned above, the foods that stimulate insulin need to be restricted. Carbohydrates can be grouped as follows
– Simple natural: lactose in milk and fruit)
– Simple refined: table sugar
– Complex natural: whole grains or beans
– Complex refined: white flour
Though complex carbohydrate takes a longer time to digest than the refined variant, they do get broken down to glucose in the process of digestion, which leads to a rise in insulin. Insulin helps in sending the glucose to the cell, and the excess gets converted to fat and stored. Hence a diet low in carbohydrates is important for weight loss. The carbohydrate can be as low as 40-60g per day depending upon your body weight
Adequate protein is recommended for weight loss. Increasing protein alone doesn’t promote weight loss. A high protein diet when unused can be converted again to body fat. An average person’s protein requirement ranges from 1-1.2g per kg body weight. The protein need is increased based on their activity levels. Athletes and bodybuilders can have requirements even up to 2g per kg body weight.
Fats will always be the villain when it came to obesity until recently when science learned the importance of adding healthy fats to your diet. Adding healthy fats to your diet can control insulin spikes thereby preventing insulin resistance and over-storage of energy. Adding fats to our meals can naturally make it rich and filling that we feel satiated for a longer period. Fats can also help in regulating our hormones and boosting our metabolism. Make sure to incorporate healthy fats in your diets such as Ghee, Butter, Egg, Avacado, Nuts, Peanuts, and seeds.
To summarize, the safest and effective method to lose weight involves:
– Choosing the right proportions of nutrients in meals
– Timing your meals appropriately
A mere reduction in calories or starvation doesn’t particularly lead to weight loss. Additionally, before making major changes to your diet, consult with a nutritionist or a dietician who will help you understand the nutrient requirements of your body. Following fad diets can direly affect your health as food is a major part of our health.