Most men need more than 1,000 calories daily.
If you lost a pound every time you read or heard something promising to melt away your excess fat, you'd never need to diet - or to exercise. Unfortunately, if you have some weight to lose, there's no way around doing it old school with a combination of diet and exercise. But cutting your calories to 1,000 per day can rob you of vital nutrients and slow your metabolism. The best way to increase metabolism is through exercise, especially weight-bearing exercise that builds lean muscle mass, so cutting calories and not exercising is a double whammy to your diet plan.
Facts About Fat Loss
Fat is metabolized by your body through your simple existence, through normal activity and through the extra exertion of exercise.
Just being alive, breathing, digesting and all of the body's other metabolic functions account for 60 to 70 percent of the calories you burn. The next largest percentage comes from basic movements throughout your day, and the least through exercise, unless you are an avid gym rat or an athlete. As Edward Laskowski, MD of the Mayo Clinic explains, fat is broken down into oxygen, hydrogen and carbon. Most metabolized fat forms carbon dioxide and is breathed out, while the rest is converted to water that you sweat out and excrete through urine. If you want to increase the rate at which your fat is burned, simply cutting calories will not do it.
Why Metabolism Matters
Your body has evolved to survive all sorts of terrible conditions, including starvation. When you start taking in far fewer calories than usual, especially if you are a woman, your body will eventually react as though there is a serious famine happening and it will start hoarding calories. You may see some rapid weight loss initially on a diet of 1,000 calories per day, but that will be mostly water weight. According to Liz Weinandy, RD, at the University of Ohio-Werner Medical Center, staying on a diet that is too low in calories causes your metabolism to slow, which will stop your weight loss in its tracks. Exercising - especially weight-bearing activities that build lean muscle - is the best way to get your metabolism moving.
Counting Calorie Content
It is not only the number of calories you're eating that matters, it is the content of each calorie. Taking in 1,000 calories per day of donuts and designer lattes may work for a day or two, but you are robbing yourself of essential nutrients, especially the protein needed to build lean muscle mass. Even consuming 1,000 calories that are as nutrient-dense as possible will only work for a short time, and then your metabolism will inevitably slow.
Planning the Perfect Diet
A balanced diet that consists of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats is your best bet for painless, sustainable weight loss. Women should aim for 1,500 to 2,000 calories per day, while men should not go below 2,000 to 2,500 calories. The experts at Yale University recommend distributing your calories throughout the day. This keeps you from getting too hungry and also keeps your metabolism moving. They also recommend 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, such as walking, and at least two full-body weight-bearing workouts per week.