Daily Calorie Recommendations for WEIGHT LOSS

I had a good friend a few weeks ago email me because she is trying to get healthy and lose weight.  She had been tracking her calories and entering them into an online calorie counter program (Spark People , Calorie Counter, The Daily Plate)
but because there are so many recommendations out there she wasn't sure how many calories she should be getting and what % of those calories should be coming from Carbs, Protein, and Fat sources.  

So here are my very general guidelines that would work as a weight loss diet plan for most individuals.  

First keep track of everything you eat and WRITE IT DOWN.... at least in the beginning until you get in the habit of eating healthy foods. Measuring foods is the best way to get the most accurate results. Read labels. 

As far as overall calories for maximum weight loss, I would stick to around 1200-1400 calories daily. You never want to to eat less than that....... cause you need that amount to get all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that your body needs daily. 

Here is a break down of % of Carbs, Protein, and Fat that will add up to the 1200 calories a day. 

Carbs: 50% of your calories--- which equals 600 calories; or 150 grams of Carbs.
Really focus on complex Carbs like whole grains, fruits, vegetables etc. Stay away from simple sugars as much as possible (white breads, pastas, rices, processed foods, candies, cookies, etc).

Protein: 20-25% of your calories--- equally 240-300 calories; or 60-75 grams of Proteins. Protein is crucial if you are working out but focus on lean proteins like chicken, fish, lean turkey, egg whites, and beans.  

Fat: 25-30% of your calories--- so 300-360 calories; or 34-40 grams of fats daily.
Focus on Good fats (Mono and Polyunsaturated fats) versus the Bad fats (saturated fats).  Your good fats come from plant sources like nuts, avocados, fishes, oils.  Sat. fats are any fats that come from an animal (like meats, eggs, butter, milk).

Also remember that you need to treat yourself once in awhile... if you want a treat than incorporate it in your daily calorie plan.  Don't deprive yourself completely from what you love or you will go so crazy and one day you will get so fed up with not eating anything that you enjoy that you will splurge and eat a whole bag of cookies, candies (or whatever it is that is your weakness).

Remember these are very basic guidelines and may not be suitable for everyone. 

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