Adjust your caloric intake gradually if necessary

It's usually not wise to make drastic changes to your caloric intake all at once. After you've done all your calorie calculations and determined your optimal calorie level to reach your goal, compare that amount to what you've been averaging over the past few months.

If your current caloric intake has been substantially higher or lower than your new target amount, then you may need to adjust gradually. For example, if your optimal caloric intake is 2600 calories per day, but you've only been eating two meals and 1500 calories per day for the past year, your metabolism may be sluggish from the low meal frequency and calorie intake. An immediate jump to 2600 calories per day might actually cause a gain in body fat if your body has adapted to the lower calories. A sudden increase would create a temporary surplus.

The best approach would be to gradually increase your calories from 1500 to 2600 over a period of weeks to allow your metabolism to gradually increase. Simply eat the same foods and the same number of meals, but gradually increase your portions to let your body acclimate.

The reverse is also true; if you're eating a lot more than your recommended amount, it may be wiser to gradually reduce your calories than to drop them suddenly. Cutting too many calories too quickly often causes diet relapses because the change is too dramatic for some people to handle.

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