I’m not trying to lose weight for health reasons, but with my favorite jeans not quite buttoning, I recently amped up my trips to the gym and cut back on my sugar splurges in hopes of slinking into them before I head to Heaven’s Amphitheater for a Dave Matthews Band concert at the end of August. Alas, those increased efforts somehow led to a two-pound weight gain, so I cut my daily calories to 1600 and pushed myself even harder during workouts. All I lost was my patience.
But things changed last Thursday when I read “5 Magic Numbers Every Dieter Needs to Know,” by Liz Vaccariello, editor-in-chief of Reader’s Digest and author of The Digest Diet. I was intrigued by the Mayo Clinic Calorie Counter, which gives you “a personalized [calorie consumption] guesstimate that takes age, activity levels, and other factors into account. ”
I plugged in my stats, expecting to learn that I’d have to cut back my calories further if I wanted to lose so much as a pound. Surprise — it actually told me to consume closer to 2,000 calories a day! Apparently, my under-eating was hindering my weight loss by slowing my metabolism. With this new guideline in mind, I’ve squeezed in healthy snacks like carrots, almonds and string cheese two times a day to meet my calorie deficit. A week later, I’m down four pounds and it looks like my beloved Levi’s will fit by Labor Day Weekend.
Whether you’re skimping on calories you need for optimal health or consuming too many, the tool’s guidelines are a helpful metric. Use it to see how the sugar bombs hiding in your daily diet add up or to discover that you might have room for another serving of potato salad at that weekend barbecue. Just remember that the calorie intake recommendations are based on the information you provide.