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The never ending question... How much calories to consume to lose weight?
How many calories should I consume to lose weight?
Technically, there is no magic number of calories we should all eat each day to lose weight. While most people can lose weight eating around 1,500 calories, you can assess your own personal caloric needs with a little math.
Why Estimate Your Caloric Needs?
To estimate how many calories you should consume in order to maintain your weight, you'll need to do a little math. By using a simple formula called the Harris-Benedict principle, you can assess your basal metabolic rate -- also known as your BMR.
(Then, to lose weight, you'll need to cut calories or burn extra calories and shoot for a level lower than the results you get with this formula.)
Calculate Your BMR
Your BMR is the amount of energy your body needs to function.
We use about 60% of the calories we consume each day for basic bodily functions such as breathing.
Other factors that influence your BMR are height, weight, age and sex.
Step one is to calculate your BMR with the following formula:
655 + (4.3 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) - (4.7 x age in years)
66 + (6.3 x weight in pounds) + (12.9 x height in inches) - (6.8 x age in years)
Please note that this formula applies only to adults.
Step two: In order to incorporate activity into your daily caloric needs, do the following calculation:
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
Add this number to your BMR.
The result of this formula will be the number of calories you can eat every day and maintain your current weightt. In order to lose weight, you'll need to take in fewer calories than this result.
As you lose weight, you can re-calculate the formula to assess your new BMR.
Create a Calorie Deficit
In order to lose weight, you must create a calorie deficit. It is easier and healthier to cut back your calorie intake a little bit at a time. Every 3,500 calories is equivalent to one pound.
So, if you cut back 500 calories a day, you should lose about one pound per week. That said, If you exercise to burn off 500 calories a day you should lose approximately one pound per week. Do both, and ... you get the picture. Ideally, you should do a combination of both, (such as cut back 250 calories; burn an extra 250 calories).
Your weight loss will vary from week to week and at times you may even gain a little weight -- if you're working out you could be developing muscle, which weighs more than fat.
The long-term results are what matters.
Lose at a Healthy Rate
A healthy weight loss goal is to lose .5 to 2 pounds per week.
Losing more than 2 pounds per week will mean the weight is less likely to stay off permanently. Never cut back to fewer than 1,200 daily calories without medical supervision.
Fri. Dec 14, 2:11pm
I've done the BMR caluculation and then figured out my calorie needs based on my workouts - I then I calculated how much weight I'd lose if I cut those calories - and guess what? It was spot on! I lost about 1.8 pounds per week just as I calculated. Now there were weeks when the scale didn't move or went in the wrong direction, but it always caught up and put me back on 'schedule' for losing.
Friday, December 14, 2007, 2:43 PM
I agree. This calculation really helps out.
Friday, December 14, 2007, 3:52 PM
BMR Is Very Effective
I have use the BMR formula for a few years now to manage my weight successfully. It is very accurate and I would highly recommend it. There are many calculators on the web so you don't have to to it manually. Just do a Google Search on Basal Metabolic Rate Calculator, or a phrase similar to that.
Wednesday, July 08, 2009, 8:02 PM
This might be of interest to you: PEERtrainer has a free weight loss coaching program, called the Tip Of The Day. Learn more at this page:
PEERtrainer Tip Of The Day Program: Free Email Based Weight Loss Coaching Program
Thursday, September 23, 2010, 11:47 AM
Related PEERtrainer Thread:
How Do I Know What My Calorie Intake Needs To Be?
Thursday, September 23, 2010, 11:49 AM
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