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There are a couple of simple considerations about calories that you need to know before you decide to start losing weight. The first is the amount.

Being number one at something is usually a source of pride for America. Not in this case. America is usually at the top of the list when it comes to the most calories consumed per day.

Sure, other countries bump us off the top of that list from time to time, but we always find a way to eat ourselves right back up to the top.

Calories Per Day By Country

Source: Our World In Data

According to WebMD, the average adult male should eat about 2,400 calories per day, while the average woman should eat about 2,000.

But, Americans eat about 3,600 to 3,800 per day.

Excess calories tend to get stored as fat. For the average person who is not very physically active, you just don’t need to eat that much.

So, what is a simple way to reduce those unneeded calories?

Portion control.

One contributing factor to our over-consumption of food is the large portion size of American meals.

According to the National Institutes of Health, “Super-sized portions at restaurants have distorted what Americans consider a normal portion size”.

Restaurants in America serve way too much food for the average meal. It is very easy to consume over 1,500 calories at one sitting when you eat out in the United States.

If you want to reduce excess calories in your diet, then do your best to eat out less often and eat smaller portions both in and out of the home.

The second consideration is the type of calories.

Other developed countries, such as France and Italy, consume almost as many calories per day as the United States, but they have obesity rates which are much lower.

Why?

According to Harvard Medical, the U.S. diet is filled with refined grains, sugars, and fats. These differ from those consumed in France and Italy. Their diet consists mostly of unrefined carbohydrates.

So, it isn’t entirely the amount we eat, but also the type of calories that Americans consume that makes us fat.

Here are some of the biggest villains in your diet:

  • Grain-based desserts (cakes, cookies, donuts, etc.)
  • Yeast breads
  • Soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks
  • Pizza
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Pasta and pasta dishes
  • Dairy desserts

Source: Harvard Medical School

If you reduced or eliminated these types of calories from your diet, then you will have avoided the worst type of carbs you could possibly eat.

Simply put, American consume too many calories of the wrong type.

You can change that.

The truth is, you don’t need to buy a book, join a gym, hire a trainer, or even start an exercise program to begin losing weight. If you just analyze the amount of food you eat every day and the type of food you eat, you can then adjust your eating habits in small ways that will put you on the path to a healthier body.

  1. Reduce calories by eating smaller portions.
  2. Cut refined carbohydrates from your diet.

These are two of the basic steps anyone must make if they wish to begin losing weight. All the exercise in the world won’t help you if you don’t cover these dietary basics first.

Of course, an exercise plan with detailed nutritional guidelines from a professional trainer will get you much better results. If you can afford a trainer, check our database of personal trainers to find one near you. In addition to training your body, they can best advise you on what to eat, how much, and how often.