Have you ever found yourself staring at your bathroom scale, wondering why it seems to be playing an eternal game of hide-and-seek with your weight loss goals? You’ve diligently counted calories, restricted your intake to a mere 800 calories a day, and yet the needle on that scale refuses to budge. Frustrating, isn’t it?
If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve been on the rollercoaster of extreme calorie restriction and experienced the disappointment of minimal to no progress. I want you to know that you’re not alone in this journey, and there’s a very valid reason why the scale isn’t cooperating. It’s time to demystify the 800-calorie dilemma and pave the way for sustainable, effective, and, most importantly, healthy weight management.
Before we embark on this journey together, I have a special gift in store for you, and it’s waiting for you at the end of this blog. So, hang in there; you won’t want to miss it!
The Misconception of Extreme Calorie Cutting:
In our quest for quick results, it’s not uncommon to fall into the trap of extreme calorie-cutting diets. These diets promise rapid weight loss, but the reality is often far from what we expect. The truth is that drastically reducing your calorie intake to levels as low as 800 calories per day can have counterproductive effects on your body.
The Consequences of Prolonged Low-Calorie Intake:
Eating too few calories for an extended period can lead to a range of health issues. It can slow down your metabolism, causing your body to burn fewer calories, and may result in muscle loss, nutrient deficiencies (leading to slowed digestion, hair loss, brittle nails, poor skin, etc.), fatigue, and a weakened immune system. Furthermore, extreme calorie restriction can have a negative impact on your mental and emotional well-being, leading to mood swings, anxiety, and even eating disorders.
Understanding How to Calculate Calories:
Before we dive into the solution, let’s briefly touch on how you can calculate your calorie needs manually. It’s a good exercise to help you understand the science behind your nutrition. There are two primary components to consider:
- Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): Your BMR represents the number of calories your body needs to perform essential functions like breathing, circulating blood, and maintaining body temperature while at rest. It accounts for the majority of your daily calorie expenditure. Typical BMR ranges for women can vary, but they usually fall between 1,200 to 1,800 calories per day. Keep in mind that these are general estimates, and individual needs can differ based on factors like age, weight, and genetics.
- Physical Activity: This includes the calories burned during daily activities, exercise, and any other physical movement. It’s an essential component to consider when calculating your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE).
To calculate your calorie needs manually (or use the calculator below), you can use the Mifflin-St Jeor formula:
For males: BMR = (10 * (User’s Weight in kg)) + (6.25 * (User’s Height in cm)) – (5 * (User’s Age in years)) + 5
For females: BMR = (10 * (User’s Weight in kg)) + (6.25 * (User’s Height in cm)) – (5 * (User’s Age in years)) – 161
Once you have your BMR, you can factor in your activity level to calculate your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). This represents the total number of calories your body needs to maintain your current weight, taking into account your physical activity level.
The Importance of Healthy Calorie Deficits:
To achieve weight loss or gain, it’s important to create a calorie deficit or surplus, respectively, while still meeting your body’s nutritional needs. A healthy calorie deficit for gradual and sustainable weight loss typically falls in the range of 250 to 500 calories per day. This allows for a steady and manageable rate of fat loss without compromising your metabolism or overall well-being.
Remember, this journey is not just about shedding pounds; it’s about achieving a healthier, happier you. Let’s debunk the myths, embrace a balanced approach to nutrition, and set ourselves on the path to sustainable success.
Stay tuned for my next blog where I break down the importance of macro and micronutrients by subscribing below.