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Calories In / Calories Out

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"Hungry Girl,

How will I ever know how many calories I need to eat in order to lose weight? I am active and work out, but I guess I'm STILL taking in too much... Would LOVE to know that answer. Help!

Calorie Mallory

Dear Calorie Mallory,

I am asked this question A LOT! I'm not a nutrition expert, but I do know the basics and have some GREAT tips. In order to lose weight, you need to take in fewer calories than you burn. There are online calculators that approximate the number of calories you need per day based on stuff like age, gender, activity level, etc. Here's a link to a good one; that should be super helpful. But for truly accurate info, you need to know roughly how many calories you are burning. How do you figure that out? Get one of those electronic devices that tracks your individual calorie burn, like the Bodybugg or the Fitbit. (They aren't cheap, but buying one can be a great investment, especially if you are having trouble losing weight or have hit a plateau.) Then you can try to plan your eating accordingly. For every 3,500 calories you expend beyond what you consume, you lose a pound. This can be done through a combo of reducing your caloric intake and increasing physical activity. So if you take in 500 fewer calories than you burn every day for a full week, you should lose about one pound. If you're trying to lose weight, one to two pounds a week is the amount that health professionals recommend. As always, consult a doctor or other health professional before starting any new diet or exercise plan. Okay, now I just have one question for you... Is your name really Mallory? :)"

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