If you want to lose weight, you need to know how many calories you should be consuming on a daily basis. There is a precise formula to help you do this correctly. The formula is based on your weight, height, age and activity level.
To determine your "daily caloric need" in order to lose weight, do the following:
Determine your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).
Multiply your BMR by your "Activity Level Multiplier".
Subtract a certain number of calories based on your weekly weight loss goal.
BMR Formula = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) - (4.7 x age in years)
Activity Level Multiplier:
Lightly Active Multiplier = 1.375
Moderately Active Multiplier = 1.55
Very Active Multiplier = 1.725
I'll use an example. I am 63 inches tall, 134.8 pounds, 40 years old and moderately active. My BMR = 655 + (586.38) + (296.1) - (188) = 1349.48 calories
My daily caloric need = BMR x Activity Level Multiplier = 1349.48 x 1.55 = 2,092 calories
So, I can consume 2,092 calories per day to maintain my current weight.
If I want to lose 1 pound of fat per week, I need to subtract 500 calories per day. Remember that 1 pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories, so to lose 1 pound of fat per week, you need to eat 500 calories less than your daily caloric need every day for 7 days.
So, I am allowed 1,592 calories a day on average if I want to lose 1 pound of fat per week. Of course, if I increase my activity level to "very active", than I get to consume even more calories.
When I was 30 pounds heavier after my 2nd child, I used this formula along with a regular cardio and strength-training routine to lose all of my weight slowly and permanently. Of course, I used a calorie counter and a daily journal to track my calories because that's the only way to really control your weight loss on a weekly basis.
There are some great calorie counters and tracking systems available online. One great system is found at about.com . Here, you can set a weight goal for yourself based on your current weight and the system will do the calculations of daily caloric intake for you! There are a lot of other great and free tools available at about.com, such as a daily diet planning tool. So, check it out!
It may seem like a difficult task at first, but weight loss targets can only be achieved through the use of a proper tracking system. So, get started. I'm sure after a few weeks, you'll be an expert and well on your way to weight loss success! Not only that, once you reach your weight loss goal, you'll know the calorie counts of pretty much everything you put in your mouth. That makes you make wiser food choices, even while out for dinner at your favorite restaurant.
Have a great night and good luck with your weight loss efforts. I did it and so can you. You deserve to look and feel your best.