• December 8, 2020

How many calories should I be consuming? Common mistakes

how many calories to eat

How many calories should I be consuming? Common mistakes

1024 614 Holly Parsons

According to the NHS, the recommended daily intake is 2500 calories for men and 2000 for women. This is a rough rule though, and there are other factors that should be considered.  

For example, based on 50-year-old men and women, the below table demonstrates the impact that lifestyle has on the daily calories you should be consuming. 

calories per day

Contributing factors: 

  • Age – metabolism slows with age due to decreasing muscle levels 
  • Sex  men typically need more calories than womenMen naturally have a higher muscle mass than women, meaning that they typically burn calories faster. In addition to this, men are on average taller than women 
  • Physical size – tall individuals generally tend to have more lean mass, so require more calories to function 
  • Lifestyle – people who lead active lifestyles need to consume more calories to replace the energy lost through exercise. 

For example, based on 50-year-old men and women, the below table demonstrates the impact that lifestyle has on the daily calories you should be consuming. 

Discover your personal number

Average daily calories burned: this calculation accounts for your activity levels, as well as age, gender and size. This is a useful figure to know because you can then work out how many calories you can consume without gaining weight. 

Traps to avoid 

  1. Overestimating calories burnt 

Overestimating the number of calories you have burnt during exercise is a common mistake people make. In fact, a 2010 study by Willbond et al, found that on average people who burnt 200-300 kcals estimated that they burnt 800 kcals. This 500-600 calorie discrepancy demonstrates how it is easy trick yourself into thinking you have worked harder than you have. This can then lead to overeating. 

2. Eating too much  

Eating more calories because you are exercising is normal because you are boosting your metabolism. However, to lose weight, you must maintain a calorie deficitThis means making sure you have an accurate estimate of the number of calories you’re burning during exercise. There are lots of free tracking apps available to download to help you monitor this.  

3. Misreading packaging  

Pay attention to portion sizes. Packets often contain more than one portion, so make sure you check that you’re only eating one portion.  

Learn more

If you’d like to find out more about how to get the balance right in your eating habits, you can try our free 12 week Manage Your Weight programmeIt’s backed by the NHS and our health coaches can tailor your plan to help fit your needs better. You can sign up for free on our website.  

 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21178922/ S M Willbond1, M A Laviolette, K Duval, E Doucet 

https://health.gov/our-work/food-nutrition/2015-2020-dietary-guidelines/guidelines/appendix-2/ 

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