With nearly 45 million Americans going on a diet each year and most dieting targeted toward women, it can be hard to know what makes for good health.
No two bodies are the same and it’s rare that one diet can work for multiple people. While there are some basic facts related to calorie intake for women, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Understanding what number of calories each woman should eat is related to how active you are and what kinds of calories you consume. While calories are measured in a general way, blame has been put on fat instead of the true enemy: sugar. A low-calorie diet high in sugar is as bad as one with high calories and no sugar.
If you’re wondering what the ideal calorie intake for women is, you need to balance it with your activity. Here are a few ways to look at the problem.
For Active Women
Women who walk more than 3 miles a day or perform more than 30 minutes of exercise daily are considered “active.” Those women can easily consume 2,000 calories of fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein and maintain a healthy weight.
The average idea is to have about 18 calories per pound of body weight. For a 120-pound woman, this means 2,160 calories per day. Athletes can consume more calories than this.
If you have a diet full of healthy whole foods and organic produce, consuming this amount of calories will easily balance out the workouts you do on a daily basis.
For Moderately Active Women
If a woman walks about 1.5 to 3 miles per day and or does 15-20 minutes of exercise a day, 1,800 calories can provide a healthy balance.
When eating mostly whole foods, fibers, grains, and a diet low in sugar 1,800 calories can be hard to meet. Prepackaged, prepared, or fast food is where you can start racking up those bad calories that are hard for the body to process.
Calculate about 16 calories per pound of body weight to get a better idea.
For Less Active Women
Women who work at an office job or don’t exercise beyond daily activities are considered to be sedentary. In this case, 1,600 calories a day is an appropriate range.
Multiply body weight by 13 to get an accurate figure.
To lower your calorie intake, try adding more seafood for high-quality protein with low calories.
For Overweight Women
To help with weight loss, a balance of smart drugs, calorie reduction, and exercise are recommended. Avoid “diet” or “low fat” foods, as the natural fats have been replaced with hard to process chemicals that the liver turns into fat.
For this calculation, multiply your desirable body weight by 10. Getting down to the 1,400 calorie range isn’t too hard if you fill your diet with fruits and veggies.
A sugary apple will give you about 90 calories while a carrot has about 25. A really robust salad with oil and vinegar can easily fit under 500 calories.
Calorie Intake for Women Isn’t the End-All
As we’ve described, calorie intake isn’t everything. Activity and the kinds of calories you eat are what makes the biggest difference.
Switch from processed foods and make a rule of eating nothing with more than 5-8 ingredients listed on the package.
If you’re ready to make a big dietary change, contact us today for more tips on how to get started.