“Women should eat 1200 calories per day to lose weight”
Does anyone else just want to facepalm when they hear someone say this? We sure do. This is one of the most pervasive myths in the ‘diet’ world, and it can be a dangerous one to believe. Did you know that the idea of eating 1200 calories for weight loss actually originated in a diet book from the early 1900s? With all of the research and knowledge that has come around since then, it seems crazy that the myth has stuck around.
Everyone is different, so obviously we’re all going to have different energy requirements! If you’re smashing 3 Combat classes per week, weight training another 2 days and working on your feet all day, you’re going to have very different requirements to someone who attends one yoga class a week and has a desk job.
Our energy requirements can depend on a number of different factors, such as:
HEIGHT & WEIGHT- Being larger overall tends to increase your energy requirements. Someone who is 6 foot 4 will generally require more calories than someone who is 5 foot 1.
BODY COMPOSITION- Muscle mass plays a huge part in your energy needs. Having a higher percentage of muscle mass will result in higher energy needs, and having a higher percentage of body fat will mean you need less. Having more body fat can mean that you have a slower metabolism, so you store fat more easily than someone who is tall and thin.
GENDER: Men tend to have higher muscle mass to fat mass ratios than women. This often leads to them having a higher metabolism than a woman of the same shape and size. The exception is women during pregnancy and breastfeeding, as the caloric requirements increase significantly.
AGE: Good news if you’re in your 20s- calorie needs peak at about age 25! We’re sure that many of you have noticed that as you get older it’s harder to lose weight. This is (unfortunately!) due to a slowed metabolism as you age. If your metabolism has slowed down, you require less calories.
We recommend that you stay away from those cookie-cutter online meal plans that don’t take those factors into account. Otherwise, you could risk under-eating and doing your body more harm than good. Have a chat with one of our food coaches for more information on how to best fuel your body! Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about food coaching.