How Many Calories Are You Supposed To Have 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.
But today I am focusing on the erroneous assumption of 24 hours.
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 Have A Day?
Some days you’ll have more …
Other days you’ll have less…
And that’s ok.
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!