Whether you want to lose weight, improve your health overall, or do both, you’ve likely scrutinized your calorie intake. Calories give you the energy you need to function properly. While keeping track of calories helps when you want to lose or maintain weight, you also need to make sure that you’re getting enough calories from the food you eat each day.
You may be tempted to cut down on your daily calories when you want to lose weight. However, not only is cutting down your calories significantly unhealthy, but it also can stop you from losing weight in the end. Understanding your overall metabolism is key to understanding the importance of calories.
When your calorie intake is too low, you may not get all the nutrients your body needs. Additionally, your body’s natural response to a decrease in food can lead to your body’s metabolism slowing so that your body can conserve energy. In the long run, this slowing metabolism can lead to weight gain.
Combining exercise with calorie control when you want to lose weight is important. You can continue to eat enough calories for your body while staying on a path to weight loss. You need a calorie deficit to lose weight, and the calories you burn when you’re exercising can help you reach that goal.
At the basic level, you need to eat enough calories to stay alive. Your basal metabolic rate, or BMR, is the minimum number of calories you need. This number equals the amount of calories your various organs demand to keep going if you’re doing no activity. Think of this number as the energy you’d burn by staying in bed for one day. After all, your body would still pump blood and you’d still be breathing.
By increasing your muscle mass, you’ll also increase your BMR. Muscle demands energy — the more muscle you have, the more energy you need to maintain it. In other words, you’ll burn more calories while you’re at rest if you have much muscle mass.
Since people have different needs, figuring out how many calories are enough could be tough. Maybe you think you eat healthy and work out, but you don’t see the weight loss results you’re looking for. An app that helps you calculate your calorie intake could allow you to more easily decide how many calories you need and how you can adjust your daily lifestyle to optimize your health.
Food is tricky: Some healthy foods come with plenty of calories. On the other hand, some foods with low or no calories are actually unhealthy for you. Learning to prioritize your foods and control your portions will set you up for success, whether you want to lose weight or simply improve your overall lifestyle. Make sure that you’re getting the right amount of calories to function properly and maintain your health.
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