July 22, 2018

All too often I am asked the question: “how many calories do I need to eat in order to lose weight?” In order to answer this question you really only need to know two things: how many calories you burn at rest (Resting Metabolic Rate or your Basal Metabolic Rate) and how many calories you burn through activity on a daily basis. The most accurate way to calculate BMR is to use a portable indirect calorimeter. However these are clinical and require a technician… they are not readily available. As a fairly accurate runner up there are several formulas we could use to calculate BMR. Most often used is the Mifflin St Jeor formula shown here:

Men:

### (10 * Weight in kg) + (6.25 * Height in cm) – (5 * Age in years) – 161

You’ll notice the formula is slightly different for men and women. This equation gives you a rough estimate of how many calories your body “burns” in a resting state, and accounts for about 70% of your total daily energy expenditure. The resulting number is the amount of calories you expand just to stay alive. So, if you were lying in bed all day this is the number of calories it will take for your body to function, cells to regenerate, respiration, brain activity, digestion,… you get the picture

This formula by itself does not tell you how many calories you need in order to lose weight. It just tells you how many calories you need in order to survive as a couch potato. In order to know how many calories you need in order to lose weight you’ll need to calculate out your activity level as well. There are some good guesstimated formulas that would help give you a better understanding of how many calories you burn over and above your BMR.

For example, a pipefitter will burn many more calories per day then someone who sits at the desk in office. Once we have figured out the amount of calories burned during activity, then we can determine how many calories you would need to expend in order to lose weight.As a rule you never want to eat less calories than your BMR. This will almost certainly

plunge your body into a catabolic state and send signals for your body to slow down it’s metabolism and hang onto as much body fat as possible. This is the last thing that you want when you’re looking to lose weight. Instead, you want to eat your burn more calories and exercise over and above to create your caloric deficit. Ideally you want to add resistance training to your exercise routine so that you can increase your BMR thereby boosting your Metabolism over the long haul.

While the formula for understanding how many calories you need to burn in order to lose weight, the implementation is a bit more tricky. Here we are dealing with food preferences, lifestyle choices, psychological barriers, and sometimes even medical conditions.
Please post your questions regarding this formula or the calculation in the comments below or contact us directly. We will do our best to answer each and every question. There is also a wonderful free resource in our YouTube channel as which covers these topics in short 2 to 4 minute easy to understand videos.

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