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How Many Calories Do I Need Every Day To Lose Weight?

Which meal plan is right for me?

The Healthy Mummy uses foundational nutritional and dietetic information as well as existing and emerging evidence to create meal plans that are specific to our target market. The basic premise for our calorie determined meal plans is taken from The Australian Government Dietary Guidelines, Eat For Health.

From this guideline, it is recommended that to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, a diet is needed in which nutrient requirements are met and total energy intake does not exceed total energy expenditure. This is a basic premise in Nutritional medicine of calories in vs calories out. Evidence shows 500 calories deficit per week is enough to lose .5-1kg per week. In addition to this, recent evidence shows that suitable energy intake must be combined with appropriate macronutrient ranges for protein, fat and carbohydrates.

In keeping with this current information, The Healthy Mummy provides a calorie awareness system which women can use to determine their current calorie intake vs their calorie needs, supports them to achieve appropriate energy intake of high-quality foods and provides education on avoiding energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods and drinks that are not recommended by our government guidelines.

As there is no one fits all approach in weight management, the Australian Government recommends regular weight measurement and the amount or quality of foods and drinks to be adjusted alongside physical activity. The Healthy Mummy does not support inappropriate calorie restriction but instead uses many of the successful documented weight loss techniques to support our women to determine which calorie plan will suit them. This includes a multi-component approach by gauging their hunger levels, taking into account their energy expenditure, including breastfeeding and exercise and providing education on behavioural change.

Individual caloric determination is assessed by the use of the basal metabolic rate, or the amount of calories burnt while the body is at rest. The equations used to determine BMR are different for males and females. A woman can determine her BMR by using the Harris-Benedict equation: BMR = 655 + (9.6 x weight in kg) + (1.8 x height in cm) – (4.7 x age in Yrs). By using this method Healthy Mummy can assist women in avoiding overconsumption of energy in the diet to lose weight and maintain weight loss.

It is important that The Healthy Mummy follows current guidelines which state that “Weight loss will not be achieved unless energy intake is lower than total energy expenditure.” With a combination of calorie control, exercise and education effectiveness of weight loss has been improved in the general public and research. It is also stated that “weight loss is most likely to be maintained where dietary and physical activity habits are acceptable and sustainable”. The Healthy Mummy follows this premise and works with the recommended initial regular weight loss of between 1.0-4.0 kg per month, which should equate to 10% loss of initial weight in the medium term and 10–20% loss of initial weight over 1–5 years.



How do we estimate how many calories you need at The Healthy Mummy?

The number of calories each person requires differs widely based on age, gender, weight, genetics, activity and hormones. In fact the number of calories we require even differs on a daily basis. There is also a big difference between eating for weight control and eating for weight loss.

While all calorie prescriptions are a rough guide only, at The Healthy Mummy we use your height and weight to determine your Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR. This is the number of calories your body needs to perform basic functions each day such as breathing, moving and thinking. We then consider how much activity you are doing each day to calculate your estimated energy requirements.

What if I want to lose weight?

As weight loss requires a calorie deficit of roughly 500-600 calories, or 2000-2500kJ per day (1, 2), once we have calculated your energy requirements and adjusted for weight loss we then allocate you into a food plan that compliments these goals.

How many calories do The Healthy Mummy Plans contain?

Whilst some diets recommend especially low-calorie intakes (1200 calories and less) (2), there is growing evidence to show that moderate calorie deficits of 500-600 calories per day can be just as effective in achieving sustainable weight loss results over time. As such, The Healthy Mummy plans range in calories from 1500-1800, depending on your activity levels, weight loss goals and even breastfeeding requirements to support sustainable weight loss results of ½ -1 kg each week.

When you first sign up, the default Budget/Timesaver meal plan of 1500 calories is selected as we feel it’s the least overwhelming for mums joining The Healthy Mummy for the first time. Mums can then change the plan to suit their weight loss goals, dietary needs or personal tastes.



2) Obesity Guidelines

Written by:

Melissa Gearing


BHSc (Complimentary Medicine), Adv. Dip. Western Herbal Medicine, Adv. Dip. Naturopathy, Adv. Dip. Nutritional Medicine

Susie Burrell

Accredited Practising Dietitian

B. Nutr & Diet (Hons), B.Sc (Psych)(Hons), M. Sc (Psych)(Coaching).


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