Your body needs energy...
Our bodies need energy every day just to keep us alive.
We need additional energy when we move around, doing such things as walking, swimming, gardening, or cooking for example.
We get all this energy from the food and drink we consume.
If we consume the exact amount of energy our bodies need, we stay the same weight.
If we consume more than this, then our bodies store the excess energy as fat in case we need it later.
If we don't need that excess energy, it stays stored.
So if we want to lose weight, the obvious thing to do is to consume a little less energy than our bodies need.
If we do this, our bodies get the extra energy by using up the stored fat.
This is all well and good, but how much energy do each of us need?
...but how much?
Food energy is commonly measured in calories (kcal).
The number of calories we need each day can be calculated by looking at
whether we are a man or a woman, how old we are, how tall we are, what our current weight is,
and how active we are generally.
One pound of body fat is equivalent to 3500 kcal.
So if you want to lose weight at a rate of 1 pound per week for example,
you must make sure you have a total energy intake each day of 500 kcal below what you would need to stay the same weight.
Use the calorie calculator below to see how many calories you need each day to stay the same weight
and how many you need to lose weight at your chosen rate.
Of course, any activities you do will allow you to eat more while remaining within your total daily energy target.
Knowing how many calories you need each day is one thing,
but how do you keep track of how much energy you take in and how much you use up?