The burning question so many people have is how many calories per day should they eat. For anyone watching their weight and wanting to lose weight this should be an important part of your routine. (personally I follow a meal plan – makes life MUCH easier!)
This should be the easy part of your plan but for many people they are still stumped on how much they should consume in a day.
If a person eats more calories than he or she burns each day, weight gain will occur. On the other hand, if more calories are burned than are consumed on a daily basis, weight loss transpires.
Knowing how many calories your body needs each day is the first step in managing your weight.
A calorie is a unit of energy that helps the body function in order to meet the challenges of each day. Everyone’s daily caloric needs are different because age, height, weight, gender, lean body mass and activity level vary. When you know how to calculate your total daily calorie needs, you can design an eating plan for optimal health.
First you need to determine your normal BMR (Basil Metabolic Rate).
Then you need to account for how physically active (or inactive) you are. The Harris Benedict Equation is a formula that uses your BMR and then applies an activity factor to determine your total daily energy expenditure (calories). The only factor omitted by the Harris Benedict Equation is lean body mass. Remember, leaner bodies need more calories than less leaner ones. Therefore, this equation will be very accurate in all but the very muscular (will under-estimate calorie needs) and the very obese (will over-estimate calorie needs).
I developed two fool proof spreadsheets that will help you determine your BMR and Daily Caloric Needs for managing your weight management (this will require Microsoft Excel) – one for Women and a separate one for Men as the calculations will vary by gender.
I hope these tool will help you learn the easy way to track your caloric needs. Remember that this number is a MOVING TARGET and don’t fret too much if you have a few days where your intake is low – remember our discussion about “starvation mode” being a myth! So you need to update this as you progress in your weight loss and your age changes as well.
And don’t forget to DRINK YOUR WATER!