How many calories should I eat to lose weight? If you want to lose weight it would make sense to know how many calories you need to consume just to maintain your weight. But how can we figure this out? That's where your Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR steps in. Your BMR is the number of calories you would burn if you just sat on the sofa all day. If you know how many calories you burn just living, you will be able to calculate how many calories you need per day in order to maintain or adjust your body weight. Make sense? If you're eating clean and steering clear of booze, then you might not need to track your calories. However, if the scales or more importantly (in my book) your measurements are going down you may need to look at your calories in more detail, so that we can see exactly what is going on.
Once you have your BMR, you can use the equations below to multiply your BMR depending on your level of activity. This will give you a better understanding of the total calories you need to maintain your current weight. Sedentary (very little or no exercise) = BMR x 1.2 Lightly Active (1-3 days/week of light exercise) = BMR x 1.375 (casually fit) Moderately Active (3-5 days/week of moderate exercise) = BRM x 1.55 (team sports, frequent gym visitor) Very Active (6-7 days/week of hard exercise) = BMR x 1.725 (semi-pro athlete, amateur body builder) Extra Active (very hard exercising, physical job, or two-a-day training) = BMR x 1.9 (professional athlete, body builder) Here's my example: My BMR is 1922.59. My activity factor is 1.55 as I am moderately active. 1922.59 x 1.55 = 2980.
2980 would be the amount of calories I would need each day in order to maintain my 185lbs (84kg/13 stone 2lbs) of body weight at my current activity level. If you're unsure about your own current activity level I would perhaps look at calculating your maintenance calories based on a sedentary lifestyle or being lightly active. This will give you a base to work from and see to it that you're not over consuming calories. I'm assuming that the goal here is to burn excess lard, but if you're more concerned about maintaining your weight then, of course you'll want to know exactly how many calories you need with your current activity level. Obviously this is a rough estimate, as it doesn't take into account muscle, body fat or bone density and should therefore be used as a guideline. However, it does give us a good basic idea of the calories needed to maintain our body weight at our current pace of life. From here we can then assess our actual calorie intake against our 'maintenance' level and adjust our intake accordingly. I often see people lose weight earlier on when they start to exercise and sort out their diet, but as they progress they fail to reduce their calories for their new weight. Something for you to think about...
Gavin Walsh is a high profile London personal trainer that has been featured in and written for many national newspapers and magazines on health and fitness topics.
He has a passion for health and fitness writing, which has seen him in the likes of Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Harper's Bazzaar, Grazia, The Time's and The Independent and have also been featured as a fitness TV broadcaster on ITV and Sky. He also runs a world class fat loss website that has helped thousands of people lose weight from their own homes.
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