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How Many Calories You’re Supposed To Eat A Day?

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Last updated on April 11, 2020

how many calories are you supposed to have a day

How Many Calories Are You Supposed To eat A Day?

It’s a great topic that I as a San Jose Eating Disorder Therapist will be covering today.

This question might seem like an innocent question – but with unfortunate consequences.

Here’s why – you shouldn’t have a set # of calories per day.

Wait, don’t all the doctors say to have a certain number of calories per day?

Yes, the doctors all say that.

But the problem is … humans evolved to regulate their weight over a longer period of time than 24 hours.

Because the question – which I get all the time – is phrased like this so commonly …

I know that people are thinking they have to ‘hit their target’ so to speak.

Do you have a target you’re aiming for?

Say 1500 calories a day?

So that’s 1500*7 days = 10,500 calories per week, correct?

That’s how you should think of it.

Instead of shooting for 1500 per day …

A better way is to think in terms of 10500 per week.

Now don’t get me wrong. I have some other problems with how calories are traditionally counted and I believe you should do things much differently than what most people do.

I outline my thoughts in this article here.

Or, you can read this SELF article about calorie counting to learn more.

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The problem stems from weight obsession. Every 24 hours you hop on the scale. Everyday you measure your weight. So you are used to thinking in terms of 24 hours. I understand. But your body is cyclical. You’ll naturally eat more some days and less other days. If you force yourself to eat a certain amount every day you’ll screw up the cycles.

But today I am focusing on the erroneous assumption of 24 hours.

This means asking “How Many Calories Are You Supposed To Have A Day” is mistaken!

I used to work as a personal trainer. I would tell people to use this calorie calculator to measure their calories.

(This was before I did a 180 and completely changed my eating philosophy)

But people would tell me they either:

  • Got too bored of calorie counting
  • They found it too tedious
  • or they would try to log at the end of the day but forget what they would eat

As I kept seeing people report these horrible results, I started questioning my eating philosophy.

I discovered that the very premise of the question “How Many Calories Are You Supposed To Have A Day?” assumes you are operating in a 24 hour time period.

You have 24 hours to get your number of calories.

And no more!

So … How Many Calories Are You Supposed To Eat A Day?

Some days you’ll have more …

Other days you’ll have less…

And that’s ok. Understanding this natural rhythm is how you stop uncontrollable food cravings.

When you think in terms of daily limits, you set yourself up for the What-The-Hell Effect.

You say, Oh, I did bad today so I’ll screw up and say screw it and just go big time!

Because … tomorrow I’ll reset.

Have you ever thought that tomorrow you’ll just reset?

Well, that’s the 24 hour time period at work!

It’s giving you an excuse to binge eat!

Here’s a food list if you are curious what foods to eat to get your needs met

PS - Oh, and one more thing before I forget ...

Take the eating quiz by clicking here.

It's 2 mins and will give you a better understanding of your eating habits.

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