Here’s how many calories you need to burn to actually lose weight

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Weight loss can be tough.

From struggling to find the ideal exercise to hitting a plateau after making progress, it can be hard to know what to do to keep dropping the extra pounds.

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Part of losing weight involves being in a calorie deficit.

“The CICO (calories in, calories out) diet is based on the simplified concept that creating a calorie deficit in the body—that is, consuming fewer calories than one burns—results in weight loss,” cookbook author and registered dietician Toby Amidor explained in a Q&A with Today’s Dietician.

You may not be joining in on the CICO diet, but the concept of a calorie deficit can help you achieve weight loss goals.

However, CNET reported that everyone burns different calories at rest and that can affect how you consider the number of calories you need to burn when you’re physically active and how many you need to consume. Consulting a nutritionist or a dietician is the most helpful way to figure out these goals, but you can estimate it yourself, too.

Certified trainer, Brooke Taylor told the website some ways people can do this on their own.

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While tracking calories on the road to losing weight, your aim is to create a deficit. You should learn the number of calories you burn at rest, which is your basal metabolic rate. Afterward, take into account how many calories you consume each day.

Having those numbers on hand, multiply your basal metabolic rate and your calorie consumption each by 7. Then, you’ll be able to change how many calories you eat and make changes to your workouts so that you’ll burn around 2,000 calories each week. That’s the goal Taylor provides to the majority of her clients.

As for how many pounds you should try to lose weekly, Taylor says a healthy goal is dropping one to two pounds. Her recommendations for burning 2,000 calories each week are exercising followed by shaving 214 calories per day from your diet. That amounts to 1,500 less calories in a week.

Still, it’s important to know that calories aren’t everything when it comes to weight loss.

Obesity medicine physician and scientist Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford told PopSugar that the quality of the foods we eat is important, so we shouldn’t solely focus on a number “(b)ecause I think it’s shortsighted . . . It doesn’t give you much information.”

Stanford recommends people consume foods that are filling, including vegetables, fruits, proteins and whole grains.

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