Counting Calories

A large sector of our country’s population struggles with excess weight. If you’re serious about weight loss or maintenance, you might ask yourself – how many calories am I supposed to be eating every day? Seems like a simple enough question. Yet, the answer is really highly variable.

Let’s try an experiment.

I asked Google for calorie calculators. I used the first ten entries that came up. All the websites were live and working. I gave each of the calculators my gender, age, weight, height and activity level and looked for the weight maintenance result. The most variable entry is activity level, but I tried to keep this as constant as possible and used each calculator’s definitions to best fit my lifestyle.

Here are the results:

Freedieting: 2066 2064

Precisionnutrition: 2557 1651 2677

Healthline: 2326

AmericanCancerSociety: 2682

CoachCalorie: 2102

SuperSkinnyMe: 2069

LifeSpan: 2356

Average of the above results – 2250 calories per day. The real outlier is who targets far fewer calories than everyone else.

The reality is that I’m consuming right around 2000 calories a day plus or minus maybe 100, and maintaining or very slowly gaining weight. It seems the average calculators think I should be eating more. I don’t know what’s up with that.

This only serves to highlight the difficulties people face in dealing with weight loss. The best guide is to observe and listen to your own body. If you count your calories and you’re not losing, or still gaining, then eat less.

In my case, with all my digestive issues, my struggle has been more with holding onto weight. Last year, when I was relying heavily on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and fruits had turned against me, I was basically eating chicken, beef, carrots and squash. At one point, I was consuming 3000 calories a day and still losing weight! So, it’s not always about what goes in, or comes out, it’s about how your body uses it. Since then, with the help of some supplements from my doctor, I stabilized my weight and started gaining some back while dropping to a more sustainable calorie intake.

Ignore the calorie calculators and pay attention to your body’s needs.