Most experts recommend at least 2,500 calories a day for women to lose weight. That’s around the amount of calories required for a woman to gain or lose three to five pounds, says dietitian Maryanne Demasi of the University of North Carolina. If you burn 500 calories a day, you may think that you need to eat 2,500 calories more than you actually have. But if you’re eating 1,500 calories less each day, you need only 2,500 calories less.
Women also need to eat about half of their calories each day in the form of fats.
One of the most accurate ways to eat your calories is to stick to whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grain products. One slice of butter or one tablespoon of olive oil has about 9 grams of fat, as opposed to about five calories in a typical piece of white bread with cheese, says Demasi.
“That’s the reason why one cup of plain yogurt has 10 grams of fat, while one cup of white bread has 8,” she explains.
And since it’s harder to control your food intake when you don’t feel hungry or full, you may have to eat less to maintain your weight loss plan.
To help you control your food intake, look for calorie-rich foods such as whole grain snacks, such as oatmeal or puffed rice, or low-carbohydrate foods, such as bread or cereals. And while some companies sell low-fat, keto-friendly shakes and desserts, they are sometimes loaded with sugar, and don’t count as full-fat food.
It’s also helpful to have a food journal. If you have the desire, you can review your meal plans and calculate the exact number of calories — and those calories — you’re consuming each day.
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