Recommended daily calorie intake - the most important word in this sentence is.....

Recommended daily calorie intake charts and 'diet', or meal, plans based on these numbers, abound. And you can't go 3 feet into a supermarket without seeing labels giving you numbers of the calorie content of foods.

Have you noticed how obsessed we've become with those numbers? If you didn't know better you'd think that food was only about energy, that it was all about the calories content of foods. That the rest was secondary, or worse, irrelevant, that they only thing you needed to concentrate on was your average recommended daily calorie intake.

Recommended daily calorie intake - the big print you can easily miss

You read something that says 'research shows that...' and then comes the part about recommendations or guidelines, and how much energy you should consume a day, based on your height, your age and your activity levels.

Research is good, but it's the way it's read that can be a problem...our brain absorbs the numbers and the part about energy and calories, but it seems to have trouble factoring in the word recommendation, or guideline or suggestion.

It's easy to grab hold of the numbers and run with them. Sometimes the brain even misses the part that says you have to make adjustments to this first number based on your vital statistics. How much taller or shorter you are, how much activity you do.

Then it's possible that your brain even makes it worse. It decides that since they recommend that 1800 calories is a good level, why don't you just deduct a couple of hundred calories from this, and use that...surely then you'll lose weight.

Yes, I speak from experience, I tried that when I was in my late teens...goodness knows how much damage that little exercise did to my body.

If you are going to work to a calorie plan, focus on all the information. These are only recommendations, guidelines, they are not tailored to you. Their use is limited, and you need to remind your brain of that fact.

Food is more than energy.

Recommended daily calorie intake information, and the calorie content of foods, only gives you information on the energy value of what you eat.

That's only part of the losing weight and maintaining it picture. If it was all about the energy levels then you could eat all your calories from pure fat, or all your energy from protein, and you'd be home and'd also be sick!

Losing weight is not the ultimate's a means to a bigger feeling better, looking better, being healthier, living life, wearing clothes you actually like!

The goal is not to lose weight for weight loss itself, but for what it will do for you.

To achieve these goals, you don't want to lose weight, but feel horrible, because your body hasn't been getting the valuable nutrients you need. Or have no energy to make the most of every day because you've starved your body of both nutrients and energy giving food.

If losing weight makes you feel worse, you're not going to bother keeping it up.

Any of the tools you use to assist in your weight loss, whether it be recommended daily calorie intake numbers, charts that give you guidelines for what you're weight and height should be, suggested eating plans...remember they are just that, recommendations, guidelines, suggestions.

You are you, and if you make healthy food choices as often as you can, focus on changing from packaged and processed foods to those that are as natural and unprocessed as possible, and take the opportunity to move as much as possible. You'll find the that you're feeling better, looking better, and you'll start to experience those ultimate goals...and guess what, you'll be losing weight and maintaining it to.

Leave the Recommended Daily Calorie Intake page and go back to the Calories in Food page

Leave the Recommended Daily Calorie Intake page and go back to the Life and Losing Weight home page