How to Increase Calories to Lose Weight

Starvation mode occurs when you eat too little. When you reduce your total calorie count too much, your body actually saves up anything you eat, causing weight loss to stop or slow down considerably. To remedy this, you should eat more. While this may seem contradictory, eating keeps your metabolism going and will actually speed up the rate at which you lose weight.

Woman with laptop and a calculator (Image: John Howard/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Step 1

Use a calorie calculator like the one available at the Free Dieting website to estimate how much you should be eating. On exercise level, choose Basal Metabolic Rate. The number you get as the result is the minimum amount of calories you should be eating to keep your body working at top capacity. Your goal is to ensure that you don’t fall under that minimum.

Step 2

Use a food database or an online food diary to keep track of your calories and make sure you’re eating the minimum required. Most databases allow you to search for the foods you normally eat so that you can keep track of calories consumed. You can keep a notebook with your food intake or look for an online diary to enter the information.

Step 3

Increase your calorie count if you’ve been eating too little. Add foods that provide calories but also nutrients. For example, peanut butter provides healthy (unsaturated) fat and is a better option than red meat or full-fat dairy. Fruits provide more calories than vegetables, so make sure they’re a part of your diet.

Step 4

Make sure you don’t skip meals. Eating frequently keeps your metabolism working at full speed. Eating frequently also controls cravings, so while you’ll be eating more, you’ll also be less likely to crave sugary, high-fat snacks that can work against you when trying to lose weight. As a general rule, aim for eating every three to four hours.

Step 5

Increase your food intake if you start an exercise program. The basal metabolic rate applies to a sedentary person, so if you work out regularly, you will need to eat more to prevent your body from going into starvation mode. You can use the same calculator to establish how much is the minimum amount you should be eating depending on how much and how often you exercise.

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