"How Many Calories Per Day Should I Eat?"

You might have heard of a "2,000 calorie diet", but do you really know how many calories per day you should eat? You might be surprised to learn that most women have a lower metabolism than their male counterparts of similar age and activity level and should therefore eat less.

Below you will find your recommended daily caloric intake. Find your age and activity level to determine how many calories you should eat per day.

Please note: pregnant and nursing moms need additional calories. Do not count calories/diet when pregnant - eat to appetite. If you want to loose weight when nursing, do not go below 1,800 calories. (A better way to loose weight while nursing is to increase exercise rather than reduce calories)

Choose sedentary if you do not exercise regularly. When I hear "sedentary", I think of someone who sits in a chair all day watching TV, or even someone who is bed-ridden. In this instance, however, "sedentary" means you never exert yourself beyond the light physical activity associated with typical day-to-day life. In other words, the trip up the stairs or across the parking lot is included in day-to-day activity.

Choose moderately active if you walk about 1.5 to 3 miles per day at 3 to 4 miles per hour. If you attend aerobics classes more than once a week, this would qualify as "moderately active". If you think your day-to-day life includes a lot of walking, a pedometer might help you find out for sure.

Choose active if you walk more than 3 miles per day at 3 to 4 miles per hour. If you are raising your heart rate and out of breath for an hour a day, every day, you are active.

If you would like to lose weight, consume fewer calories. Even if you're moderately active, eat a sedentary amount of calories so that you will burn fat and lose weight.

American Heart Association Recommended Calories Per Day

For Women:

Age 19-30 yrs 31-50 yrs 51+ yrs
Sedentary 2,000 1,800 1,600
Moderately Active 2,000-2,200 2,000 1,800
Active 2,400 2,200 2,000-2,200

For Men:

Age 19-30 yrs 31-50 yrs 51+ yrs
Sedentary 2,400 2,200 2,000
Moderately Active 2,600-2,800 2,400-2,600 2,200-2,400
Active 3,000 2,800-3,000 2,400-2,800
As you can see, many women should not consume 2,000 calories. If you enjoy food and eating, increase your activity level so that you can eat the food you love. Make good food choices. Avoid processed foods and junk food. Instead, feed your activity with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.

Now that you know how many calories per day you should be eating, you might be asking yourself, "How many calories per day AM I eating?!" Keeping a short-term food log will answer that question for you. Return from How Many Calories Per Day to the Healthy Lifestyle Home Page

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NOTES: http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3040366