As much as I hate counting calories, like creating a budget, it must be done! Unfortunately, the truth is, it is very difficult to calculate how many calories you should be consuming with 100% accuracy unless you have access to a bod pod, a metabolic cart, or other crazy cool technology found in labs and universities.
Fortunately, we can calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate with a good ol’ calculator to give us a ballpark range of where to aim. Basal Metabolic Rate takes into account height, weight, age, and activity factor. This will determine how many calories you need just to BE, what our bodies need to simply function and survive at rest.
When calculating, it is common to use the Mifflin-St.Jeor Equation:
- Women: (10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) – (5 x age) – 161
- Men: (10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) – (5 x age) + 5
For weight in kilograms –> divide your weight in pounds by 2.2.
For height in centimeters –> multiply your height in inches by 2.54.
Once you have determined your BMR, multiply it by the appropriate activity factor to determine your daily caloric needs:
- 1.2 = sedentary (little or no exercise)
- 1.4 = light activity (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week)
- 1.6 = moderate activity (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week)
- 1.7 = very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week)
- 2.0 = SUPER active (very hard exercise/sports and physical job, like you’re an athlete)
If I am boring you to death, and you hate math, just google a calculator that factors in all these things.
Why counting calories might not always “add up”…
- does not take into account the thermic effect of food (some things take more energy for our body to digest than others)
- you are over/underestimating when you log/not logging accurate portion sizes
- you are a hot-box-of-hell and stressed out and your body says NO KEEP ALL THE ENERGY!!!
- doesn’t take into account how much lean muscle tissue you have (which burns more calories at rest – visit tinyurl.com/katiehake5 if you need help with this and free workouts!)
- anyone can edit apps like My Fitness Pal, so what you choose may not be accurate to what you actually ate
- Some app trackers may give you a super low calorie goal, pushing you to lose too much weight too fast. The quicker we lose it, most likely the quicker we gain it back. Aim for 1-2 lb weight loss per week at a max.
Tips for weight loss…
- Log your food for a few days (2 week days, 1 weekend) to get an idea of where you are at
- Compare this to the goal you calculated above & ask these questions…
- Am I eating too much?
- Am I eating enough?
- Where can I make simple changes? Substitutions? Plan ahead?
- What are my triggers to poor eating habits?
- Can I cut back portion sizes or maybe move more throughout the day?
- What truly motivates me?
- Who will hold me accountable?
- Visit a Registered Dietitian for more specific nutrition advice and a Personal Trainer to help you hit your fitness goals. Always use your best judgement and do your research when surfing the web for tips.
If this was helpful, please share with a friend. If you are interested in joining my next private fitness & nutrition coaching group, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to apply!