A lot of people ask me how they can calculate the right amount of calories to intake in order to lose weight. We’ve all heard the simple formula of burn more than what you take in, but it is a lot harder to determine how many calories you are actually consuming. Of course, like my last article, it is always good to keep a food journal. Its important to write down everything you eat, the portions you eat and the caloric content. That way you can see a clear picture of what you need to cut out, change slightly or eat less of. It is also good to write down how you are feeling when you decided to eat whatever it is that you did and find out if you are eating because you are hungry or if there is an emotional reason behind the craving.
There is a simple formula one can use to determine the right amount of calories to eat to lose weight, it is called your BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate.
- Women: BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)
- Men: BMR = 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years)
To calculate your Active Metabolic Rate you can use the calculations you got from your BMR using this formula:
- Sedentary (little or no exercise) – your AMR = BMR x 1.2
- Lightly active (light exercise/work 1-3 days per week) – your AMR = BMR x 1.375
- Moderately active (moderate exercise/work 3-5 days per week) – your AMR = BMR x 1.55
- Very active (hard exercise/work 6-7 days a week) – your AMR = BMR x 1.725
- Extra active (very hard exercise/work 6-7 days a week) – your AMR = BMR x 1.9
Your AMR represents the amount of calories to intake to stay at your current weight. To lose weight you’ll need to increase the amount of physical activity or decrease your caloric intake. Men should never eat less than 1800 calories a day to lose weight. Women should eat no less than 1300 calories a day to lose weight. If one eats less calories than the what is mentioned above you will have the reverse effect for weight loss. If one starves themselves, his/her body will adjust its metabolism rate. If one eats less calories than recommended at first they will be able to lose some weight but will not be able to stick to the diet. Once the body has gone into starvation mode your body starts to store fat and burn muscle, which is never good. You want to have more muscle to burn calories than storing fat. Once you cannot take the starvation anymore your body makes up for loss calories and then some. Unfortunately, it takes longer for your metabolism to regulate again, so if you are now consuming a bunch of calories your body is still storing the fat and burning the muscle. It is important to build and maintain muscle mass because that is where the calorie burn zone is. Again the simple formula of space, if you increase the amount of muscle tone it will take up more room than fat, getting the fat to burn off or go away.