Controlling your calorie intake will help you shed fat.
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There's no food or meal that will miraculously make you burn fat, but you can get close. Weight loss is caused by eating fewer calories than your body requires to function each day. When you don't eat enough calories to fill the need, your body burns fat to compensate. Following a diet that keeps you in a constant calorie deficit will essentially force your body to burn fat at every meal to meet your calorie needs.
Subtract 500 from your daily calorie requirements and set that as your daily calorie limit to create a calorie deficit. This should cause about 1 pound of fat loss weekly. According to ChooseMyPlate.gov, between the ages of 19 and 30, women need 2,000 calories and men need 2,400 calories per day; between 31 and 50, women need 1,800 calories and men need 2,200 per day; past 51 years old, women need 1,600 calories and men 2,000 per day. Your physician can determine your individual needs based on your height, age, weight and activity level, or you can use an online calculator.
Divide your daily calorie limit by the number of meals and snacks you eat each day. For example, a 24-year-old woman with a daily calorie limit of 1,500 who eats three meals and a snack each day would divide 1,500 by four, finding 375. The resulting number is your per-meal calorie limit. The woman from the example would limit each meal and snack to 375 calories. Adhering to this limit will cause your body to burn fat because it is not receiving all of the calories it needs from food.
Design meals and snacks that fit your calorie limits. You can fit more in each meal by basing your meals on fruits and vegetables, which are generally low-calorie. To balance your diet, you should also include lean meats, seafood, eggs, nuts, seeds and low-fat dairy in your meals. Search for new recipes to keep your menu interesting, but keep them within the limits to promote fat loss.
Exercise several times per week to burn calories, build muscle and encourage weight loss. You're not limited to gyms, fitness classes and exercise DVDs -- try dancing, swimming, hiking, cycling, jogging and other hobbies that can double as exercise.
Weigh yourself weekly and keep a record of your weigh-ins. When you are eating at a calorie deficit, you should see steady weight loss. If you do not lose any weight for a few weeks, reduce your calorie intake by another 250.
Record the calories in everything you eat or drink each day in a journal, and do not eat more than your daily calorie limit.
To determine how many calories are in a homemade dish, measure the amount of each ingredient you used and how many calories are in that amount. Add the calories from each ingredient together and then divide the resulting number by the number of servings in the recipe. Find the calorie content of foods that do not have calorie labels from sites like the USDA National Nutrient Database.
Never eat fewer than 1,200 calories per day without physician supervision. If you are not losing weight on 1,200 calories per day, consult your physician for a health assessment.