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Saturday, March 31, 2012

How Many Calories Do I Need in Order to Lose Weight?

When it comes to how many calories you should be consuming, the trouble is, there's really no definitive answer.

Sure, we need calories to be healthy, but how much is too much and how little is too little?

Finding the Right Balance

When it comes to calorie consumption, it's important that you also have the proper balance of nutrition.

Calories are what give our body the needed energy to get through the day. This energy can come in the form of protein, carbohydrates, cholesterol, and fat. Depending on what foods we eat, calories are either used as energy, or stored away as excess body fat.

If you are trying to lose weight, the first option is usually best. Rather than being stored away as excess body fat, you want the calories you take in to be used to fuel your metabolism. Here's how to do this...

Think of Fat as Your Friend, Not as Your Enemy

Healthy fats are actually a necessity if you are going to maintain a steady metabolism.

Fat has gotten a bad rep over the years, with many people blaming the nutrient for their widening waistlines. Instead of blaming fat altogether, it's the bad fats that can lead to dieting disasters.

Most of these are unhealthy trans fats that come in the form of junk food like potato chips and French fries. They are also the fats that can raise your cholesterol significantly.

Despite popular belief, your body actually needs fat in order to be healthy. Good fats are also a critical nutrient in the weight loss process.

Good fats are also known as unsaturated fats, and are the good guys that can help lower your cholesterol, and that can help keep your metabolism steady.

In addition to these benefits, good fats can also help control hunger, can store energy, and are a carrier of vitamins.

The Role Protein Plays

To keep your calorie count in check, it's important that you consume protein through a healthy diet. Of all the nutrients your body needs, protein is the most vital.

Not only is it responsible for building and maintaining all of your body's structures, but it's an important nutrient for your metabolism.

The process of burning body fat requires the presence of carbohydrates. If there is insufficient carbohydrates and protein in the food you eat, your body will actually break down your lean body tissues for protein, and converts them into carbohydrates for energy.

This is why eating the right amount of calories is so important. Extremely low-calorie diets are often unhealthy, simply because they don't give your body the needed nutrition it needs.

When you are on a diet, you should be consuming between 1100-1400 calories per day. This is not for certain though, as you may need to eat more or less depending on your age, height, weight and gender.

You won't get a definitive answer unless you consult with your physician, or a weight loss specialist. Before starting any diet, just always make sure that you eat well-balanced meals.

The right kinds of calories are a much higher priority than how many calories you need.

Amanda Paul is the writer and content manager for BistroMD, one of the nation's industry leaders in home delivery of delicious meals designed for a lighter, healthier you. In addition to content management, Amanda is also editor of the company's weekly newsletters and is the head of SEO marketing. Amanda earned her B.A. in Communication from Florida Gulf Coast University in 2009, as well as a Minor in Journalism.

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