It is recommended that men consume around 2,500 calories daily, with women allowed 2,000 calories. If you exceed these number then you are likely to gain weight, which can put you at a higher risk of developing various health conditions including diabetes and heart disease.
However, this is not the case for everyone. If you lead an active lifestyle then you may require more calories than the recommended allowance, while those who sit at a desk all day may require fewer calories to maintain their weight.
How can you work out how much you should eat? The following are a few methods that you may want to try.
#1: Using a mathematical approach
There are numerous calculators available online that can work out how many calories you need to consume daily.
To get an accurate number they will look at factors such as:
- Activity levels
Once you figure out the exact number of calories you need daily you can then base your diet around this number.
When shopping and preparing meals for yourself check the labels and if possible measure out the exact quantities to figure out what you are consuming.
#2: Using your instincts
Our bodies have an instinctive way of telling us when we need to eat. Unfortunately for some of us we are unable to control it, hence why there is currently an obesity crisis among many countries around the world.
If you want to use this method then you should only eat when you feel hungry, and only healthier food options.
Some foods contain sugars that can change the chemicals in your body, making you feel hungrier. So try to avoid these if you want to maintain your weight.
#3: Use trial and error
Again, this method is inaccurate and could result in unnecessary weight gain.
Basically, when you gain weight your clothes will become tighter so you will know that you need to cut back on your calorie intake.
Unfortunately once you start gaining weight it can be difficult to change your habits, so you may find that you are on a slippery slope to even more weight gain.
How to maintain or lose weight?
To maintain your weight stick to your daily calorie limit, to lose weight you should try and cut the number by around 250-300 calories.
Cutting your intake by too much can have a negative effect on your weight, as although you may lose weight initially your metabolism will slow as your body will believe your are starving.