Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Do I Need to Maintain the Same Calorie Intake Every Day?

I am a 6'1" 225 pound male, trying to lose some weight. I am keeping a food record and I notice that on certain days I take in more calories than others. My schedule is affected by work hours, which are sometimes 10 hours a day, and school because I am in classes 3 days a week. Does it matter if I eat more some days than others, as long as I always have a low number of calories?  Dave S.

Dear Dave,

It is not essential to eat the same number of calories each day. However, it is wise to eat a reasonable number of calories each day! For instance, if you notice that you've only eaten 1100 one day and that another day you took in 3000, I would suggest you try to plan your meals and snacks in advance to make sure you are getting in the optimal nutrition each day.

Research shows that skipping meals does not help with weight loss. On the days you are busy try to find time to fit in a healthy snack, even if it's something like a granola bar or a slimfast-type meal replacement drink or bar. This will keep a steady flow of nutrients for your body to use consistently, and increase your chances for continued steady weight loss.

Likewise, take a look at days when your caloric intake is high to figure out where a large number of calories are coming from. Often people tend to make up for missed meals with higher calorie foods later in the day.

If you are talking about a fluctuation of 200 or 300 calories, it's not important. I would estimate a range between 1800 and 2200 calories will be a good daily goal for your weight loss plan.

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