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BMR and Calorie needs

September 16, 2007

I recently read an interview that involved a celebrity trainer and her views on losing weight and the best means to go about it. The trainer is a big believer in counting calories for weight loss. Scientifically, counting calories is a very effective means to lose extra pounds. Calories in versus calories out. Consume more calories than you expend, and you will gain weight. Burn more calories than you consume, and you will lose weight.

Sound simple, right? Not really. I believe that for initial weight loss, counting the approximate number of calories you are eating is a highly effective way to lose pounds, but in the long run, it can become tedious.

Also, it has been shown that most people usually UNDERESTIMATE their caloric consumption. I find other methods to be more suitable for the long haul (which I will discuss). Because a healthy body is about a long-term lifestyle change, not about writing down what you eat every single day and then doing that math. Who has time for that?

However, initially, finding out one’s BMR (basal metabolic rate) and estimated daily caloric needs is an excellent way to lose unwanted pounds quickly. It is a matter of math. You must burn about 3,500 calories to lose one pound. Burn 500 extra calories a day and you will lose one pound per week. Burn more, lose more. Simple math!

Basal Metabolic Rate is the amount of energy expended while at rest in a neutrally temperate environment, in the post-absorptive state (meaning that the digestive system is inactive, which requires about twelve hours of fasting in humans). Okay, that is the dictionary definition. BMR simply is the amount of calories you burn while at REST.

Add lifestyle, activity level, and you have the amount of calories you need to consume daily to maintain your current weight. To find out your BMR, input your information here:

If you’d prefer doing it by hand, try this method (the Harris Benedict Equation):

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 year )

Yes, it’s easier to just go to the site. 🙂

After you have calculated your BMR, now you can figure out how many calories you need to eat daily to maintain your current weight.

1. If you are sedentary (little or no exercise) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.2
2. If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.375
3. If you are moderatetely active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.55
4. If you are very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.725
5. If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.9

Now that you have your BMR figured out and you know how many calories you need daily, you can begin the process. You can cut calories from you food intake or you can choose to burn the calories. The most effective method for weight loss is to do both!

After you have achieved your goal weight, are you expected to write down everything you eat? If it works for you and you have the time, then by all means, go ahead and keep a log! But what works for some may not work for another. If we eat how we were meant to eat and move like we were meant to move, obeisity wouldn’t be such a cultural epidemic.

Unfortunately, we have way too many choices and we just don’t move enough. But by slowly changing the way eat and think about food, you can beat the system. By changing your portion sizes (like I’ve said before, you simply CANNOT eat as much as you’d like to eat!), eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, lean meat and legumes, and avoiding sugar, processed food, and nutrient void food, you will remain at a stable weight (unless you have a metabolic or hormonal condition, which I will discuss in another blog).

I think the number one rule in avoiding weight gain is portion sizes. Most Americans have no clue about what a portion size looks like. I think this phenomenon needs to be addressed if we are to see a decline in the current obesity epidemic.

I hope this blog was of some help to you! Until next time, I leave you with these words from the Godfather of Fitness, Jack LaLanne:

“If man made it, don’t eat it!”

Be well!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Eugenio Yrigollen permalink
    July 9, 2012 11:31 am

    Obesity is really one of the health problems which plaque our society these days, It is easily treatable by being more physical and of course by having a healthy and balanced diet. .:;“

  2. April 16, 2013 3:11 am

    Good post. I certainly love this site. Keep it up!

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