Daily Caloric Intake  
This calculation estimates your daily caloric intake. These figures are not set in stone and your daily caloric intake should be slightly adjusted based on your individual needs. You must experiment with the above caloric intake number and either add or remove about 500 calories. Of course those desiring weight loss need to remove 500 calories per day from diet and through exercise. Conversely, if you're after muscle gain you should add 500 calories to the above figure. This calorie modification, either plus or minus, depending on your goals, should be experimented for a 1 - 2 week period. Bodyweight must be recorded prior to diet changes and after 1-2 weeks.

Losing weight or more correctly losing bodyfat.

If your health fitness goal is to lose weight you must experiment with your daily calorie intake. A diet is nothing more than a reduction in calories. Often switching to lower fat content foods will bring about this reduction in calories since fat holds more than twice the calories per gram than carbohydrate or protein(1). It is proven that those that losing more that 0.5 - 1.0 per week are severely burning muscle and dramatically decreasing metabolism. This must, and if you stick to the above, can be avoided.

Perhaps more importantly a bodyfat test needs to be performed so that you are sure what exactly it is that you lost - either muscle or fat. This test usually done by skinfold measurements will determine your subcutaneous (under skin) fat stores. You should only be after loses in skinfold measurements, or bodyfat losses, and less worried about weight loss measured by standard bathroom scales. If you're losing bodyfat, even if your weight has not changed much, you're doing great and please be patient.

(For convenient bodyfat testing we recommend the Tanita Bodyfat Scales from our health fitness store .)

Since muscle is metabolically active and thus constantly burns calories you should strive never to lose muscle mass. Lose muscle and you decrease the intensity of your body's furnace meaning you're actually slowing down metabolism. This now leaves you prone to gaining that weight again much more quickly. This dieting phenomenon is termed yo-yo dieting and is the reason why rapid weight loss is detrimental to your ability to lose weight and more importantly keep it off. Not to mention your health, energy and vitality.

Experiment with decreasing your daily calorie intake by about 500 calories per day. As mentioned earlier, this should correspond to about 0.5 - 1.0 kg weight loss a week, never more. One kilogram of fat has 7000 calories so the 500 calorie deficit recommendation should see you lose about 0.5 kilograms per week.

If the target is not met after the trial 1-2 week period, you can further reduce your daily calorie intake by another 500 calories. Again experiment with this for a few weeks. You should never reduce you daily calorie intake by more than 1000 calories without medical or dietitian supervision. This means that women should aim for at least a 1,200 -1,500 calorie diet. Men being more muscular need a minimum of about 1,500-2,000 calories per day in caloric intake.

1. Schlundt, D.G., J.O. Hill, et al. Randomized evaluation of low fat ad libitum carbohydrate diet for weight reduction. Int. J. Obesity. 17:623-629. 1993

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DISCLAIMER: The information presented is for educational purposes only.
Always seek private professional advice prior to starting any health fitness program.