Friday, November 13, 2020

How many calories to maintain weight

 This is a very complicated question, and I do not have an answer for it. Perhaps no one on Earth has the answer to this question. To begin with, there are many different kinds of calories that can be consumed: 'empty' calories (sugar), 'nutritious' calories (fruits), or even special types of calories found only in certain places ('local cuisine'). Each type of calorie comes packaged differently (in fruits, vegetables, meats) and affects the body differently (carbs vs proteins). The goal itself is also unclear - what does it mean to keep weight? Is that maintain your current weight? Or lose weight?

But let's assume that the goal is to keep your current weight. There are many reasons why someone may want to do this, but there are probably two main ones: 1) To maintain a healthy body, and 2) Not wanting to gain too much weight.

As a first approximation, to maintain your current weight you need to consume calories. The amount of calories that you eat in one day should not exceed the number of calories that you burn in an equivalent period of time (usually 1 day). In other words, if your body burns 2000 calories per day while at rest and doing nothing, then over a year's time it will lose approximately 8 pounds. If you want to keep more or less constant weight during this period, then the total number of 'calories consumed' must be equal to the caloric expenditure.

There are two ways to eat less calories: 1) Reduce your appetite, or 2) Exercise.

1) Reducing your appetite. One way to do this is to count calories and restrict yourself from eating more than a certain number of calories per day (usually around 2000). For example, if you eat three times a day for "main meals" and each meal has 500 calories, then you are limited to 1500 calories total during the course of one day. You can also increase exercise in order to burn additional calories every day.

2) Exercise. If you want to lose weight faster, then you can exercise more. This means that during the course of a day, or just a few days, you will burn additional calories relative to your sedentary life-style.


In general, the calorie content of food is largely irrelevant to maintaining weight. There are some exceptions such as very dense foods that could be used for bulking up or excessive consumption of sugar in combination with no physical activity which would result in weight gain if there is not enough exercise to burn the calories off. However, for most situations involving food and weight, eating when hungry will maintain a healthy bodyweight for most people.

Let's start with why eating when hungry is a good way to maintain weight.

The primary reason is that it keeps you from over-consuming food. If you are not hungry, then there's no need to consume much more than your body needs for energy and other functions.

In addition, when you are hungry, it is a sign that your body needs nutrients and energy. Other behaviors such as eating in response to emotions (e.g., eating junk food because of boredom) or out of habit (e.g., lunch breaks at work) can lead to over-consumption.

Eating when you're hungry is also a good way to maintain weight because it prevents you from going for long periods of time without food.

When you go without food for long periods, your body goes into starvation mode. In starvation mode, the body's metabolism slows down and it stops burning calories as efficiently. When you start eating again after a long fast (especially if your last meal was heavy in carbohydrates), it will be like starting a fire with wet wood; your body won't immediately burn off all of those excess carbs.


First let's look at the problem on a basic level: Calories. There are two types of calories, food calories and activity based calories. Humans use these to stay alive (some do it better than others). Food is used for energy while activity is used for creating more muscle mass or burning fat from muscles and turning it into energy which can be stored as body fat or turned back into muscle mass when needed.

The body burns white fat to create energy while brown fat is used for keeping humans warm. In an average human, there are about 900 calories in a pound of white fat and 200 calories in a pound of brown fat.

Now let's look at the calorie maintenance level. A human burns about 2000 calories a day just to stay alive, which is also called basal metabolic rate (BMR). This includes eating and activity related calories.

To maintain weight, you have to burn the same number of calories that you take in. Now there are ways for a human to overcompensate if they exercise too much by eating more after a work out session or by adding muscle mass which requires additional calories.

A typical female will burn about 2000 calories on an average day of work and other activities.

A male will burn about 2400 calories on an average day of work and other activities.

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