How to Lose Weight by Calorie Reduction

How to Lose Weight by Calorie Reduction

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Make lower-calorie choices when dining out.

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When it comes to losing weight, it's all about calories in versus calories out. However, that doesn't mean that losing weight through calorie reduction is easy, as there's more to food than just calories. It's important to think about what you're eating, as certain foods can keep you more satiated than others. For example, food that contains fiber keeps you feeling full for longer, so you don't eat more calories throughout the day. However, before you can figure out how to eat fewer calories, you need to determine how many calories your body needs per day.

Following the Formula

Everyone's caloric needs are different, so the amount of calories that you need to reduce to lose weight depends on a number of factors, including gender, age, weight and activity levels. While there are a number of online calculators that you can use to determine how many calories you need each day, those who are mathematically inclined can use the Mifflin-St. Jeor equation:

  • Men: 9.99 x weight in kilograms + 6.25 x height in centimeters - 4.92 x age + 5
  • Women: 9.99 x weight in kilograms + 6.25 x height in centimeters - 4.92 x age - 161

For example, a 35-year-old woman who weighs 160 pounds (72.5 kilograms) and is 5 feet, 3 inches tall (160 centimeters) would use this equation: 9.99 x 72.5 + 6.25 x 160 - 4.92 x 35 - 161, for a total of approximately 1,391 calories per day. This is the base number that this woman should reduce from in an effort to lose weight.

Reducing Calorie Consumption

Lose weight through a combination of cutting back on calorie consumption and increasing your physical activity. You can keep an eye on how many calories you're eating by tracking them via a smartphone app or website. A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that those who tracked calories were more likely to lose weight. In an effort to reduce calories, effective strategies include:

  • Cutting back on portion size. It sounds so basic, but it's easy to forget: Bigger portions have more calories. You can always go back for seconds if you're still hungry, so take about half as much as you usually do of everything except vegetables.
  • Cooking more meals at home. The chefs at a restaurant have one goal: to make food taste good. Therefore, they don't necessarily care how much butter, oil, cheese or other high-calorie ingredients are in the food they serve. When you cook at home, you can monitor how the food is cooked and ensure that it's lower in calories. In fact, a study published in 2015 in Public Health Nutrition determined that people who cooked dinner at home six to seven nights a week ate around 150 fewer calories per day than those who cooked dinner at home just once a week or less.
  • Drinking carbonated water instead of soda. Sodas are a sugar bomb, which equals a higher number of calories. Save those calories for foods you eat instead of foods that you drink. If you like the carbonation of soda, switch to carbonated water. If you're not particular about the bubbles, stick to plain water instead of soda, juice, sweetened tea or other sugary beverages.
  • Eating mindfully. It's easy to munch on a bag of pita chips and hummus while you're surfing the Internet on your phone. Even though it's a fairly healthy snack, too much of it leads to overeating on calories. Stop eating when you're distracted, and think about the food that you're putting in your mouth. Even at meals, consider whether you're still hungry before you take a bite.