Most people want to know the answer to this question: How many calories do I need to eat each day to lose weight? This question is often followed by: Are all calories created equal?
These are both very significant questions and learning the answers to both will give you the ability to create your best nutrition plan. One does not work without the other. The following formula is not always exact for everyone but it is a good baseline for the average adult looking to lose weight.
Step one: Calculate your Basil Metabolic Rate (BMR) which is the amount of calories your body needs to function each day.
BMR for Women = 655 + (4.3 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)
BMR for Men = 66 + (6.3 x weight in pounds) + (12.9 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years)
Step two: Estimate your daily activity level and multiply it by your BMR.
*If you are sedentary : BMR x 20 percent
*If you are lightly active: BMR x 30 percent
*If you are moderately active (You exercise most days a week.): BMR x 40 percent
*If you are very active (You exercise intensely on a daily basis or for prolonged periods.): BMR x 50 percent
*If you are extra active (You do hard labor or are in athletic training.): BMR x 60 percent
Step three: Add this number to your BMR.
The result of this formula will be the number of calories you can eat every day to maintain your current weight. In order to lose weight, you should take in about 250-500 calories LESS than your maintenance caloric intake.
This is a formula that works for the average person. If you are not seeing results quickly enough, try decreasing your daily caloric intake by another 100 calories. If you are seeing results too quickly, increase by 100 calories.
Now that you have your calorie base you should know that all calories are NOT created equal. That means that its not as simple as burning more calories than you consume because you have to look at the quality of food you are eating. If all you ate each day was 1500 calories worth of cheeseburgers and fries while your friend ate 1500 calories worth of chicken breast, brown rice, and veggies, guess who would lose fat quicker? Whole, natural food ALWAYS beats out fatty processed food even if the calories are the same. The reason for this is that lean protein and natural complex carbs are used more efficiently by the body. They keep blood sugar stable which helps the metabolism stay running properly all day long. Processed foods spike blood sugar which means a drop in energy and an increase in body fat storage. Keep quick fix meals at bay and you’ll be on your way to lean, fit and healthy body!