You have likely heard how calories and calorie-consumption are incredibly important for determining how much you weigh.
So, if your aim is to lose weight, how do you work out how many calories you should be eating?
Please read on to help give you a better idea of the number of calories you should consume.
The first thing you should do to work out your recommended calorie intake would be to find out your BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate.
This number is the amount of calories your body will burn while it is at rest.
Yes, thats right. Even when you are not physically moving your body will be burning calories performing involuntary bodily functions such as breathing, regulating your body temperature, digesting food and keeping your circulation moving.
An easy way to think of your BMR is to think of this as the minimum number of calories you would need without getting out of bed all day.
One way to work out your BMR would be Feldman’s go-to for women:
655 + (4.35 x your weight in pounds) + (4.7 x your height in inches) – (4.7 x your age in years).
If you weighed 135 pounds and was a 25 year old woman with a height of 5 foot 6 then your BMR would work out as follows:
655 + (4.35 x 135) + (4.7 x 66) – (4.7 x 25) = 1,435
Another formula to work out your BMR is called the Mifflin St. Jeor equation, which uses the following:
(10 x your weight in kilograms) + (6.25 x your height in centimetres) – (5 x your age in years) – 161
Using the stats of the woman above, this works out as:
(10 x 61) + (6.25 x 168) – (5 x 25) – 161 = 1,374
While the two numbers are different, they are not too far apart. This is fine as these numbers are only used as a guide and are not supposed to be completely accurate.
One thing you must remember though is that for the most part your BMR will be over 1,200 calories, which is why it is often said never to reduce your calorie intake lower than this number.
You must figure in your activity levels
While finding your BMR is important most of us will not be spending all day in bed. Therefore we need to figure in our activity levels too.
To do this you can use a fitness tracker, or you can use an online calculator that will look at the activities you do and how many calories they are likely to burn.
One you have worked this number out then you should add both together. This will be the number of calories you require to maintain your current weight.
To lose weight, I would recommend trying to cut 500 calories from that number. Of course not going below the 1,200 calorie minimum.
I would suggest looking at both your diet but also your activity levels, rather than focussing on one or the other.
If you keep a food diary then you will know exactly what you are consuming and where you can make healthier changes.
As for exercise, there are plenty of things you can do daily that can increase the number of calories you can burn without additional time in the gym.
For instance, walking to the shop instead of driving, or perhaps walking up the stairs instead of using the escalator.
Also remember that while calories are important, the types of food you eat will have an impact on your weight too. If possible I would suggest trying to stick to whole foods.
These are foods in their more natural state, which are minimally processed, so are full of the nutrients your body requires to stay healthy.