Saturday, February 18, 2006

Weight Loss Tip:How many calories?

Weight Loss Tip:How many calories?

All too often when people decide they need to embark on a weight loss journey they attempt to start it with some type of radical diet. This is the wrong thing to do if you truely want to obtain sustainable weight loss that isn't going to have some type of rebound effect that leaves you with a higher body fat than when you started.

After you have gotten up and started moving, drinking plenty of water, have cut the refined carbs in your diet,and have determined your Why the next step is determining how much you should be eating calorie wise.

This isn't always the easiest thing for people to do. All too often people, especialy most Americans, think that to achieve weight loss you just jump onboard the latest fad diet and everything will be alright. That or they restrict themselves so far that they are barely eating, which only lasts for a few weeks then cravings hit and then they crumble.

Ever see the overweight person eating a small salad once a day and then drinking diet cokes and pepsi's all day? That person is setting themselves up for not only failure but a serious rebound effect. Why is that?

Quite simply it is because they aren't eating enough. Yes, you heard me correctly. They aren't eating enough.

In order to stoke the fat burning furnace our bodies need to be sure that they aren't going to be starved. That means eating enough calories so that our bodies realize that it isn't being starved so it will release the stored fat for energy.

If you want to lose weight, especialy body fat, then you need to eat. Muscle is more metabolically costly so on a starvation diet your body canabilizes muscle in favor of keeping the fat for the lean times ahead. Exactly the opposite of what we want right? Not only are we not losing weight but our measurements are getting bigger in this scenario.

So how do you detirmine how many calories you should ingest per day?

Well an easy way of determining this is based on gender and activity levels.
kcal/lb-kg kcal/lb-kg
Activity level Male Female
Light 17 38 16 35
Medium 19 41 17 37
Heavy 23 50 20 44

Light activity equates general day to day activities
Medium speed walking, cycling, skiing, tennis, dancing
Heavy carrying heavy l oad up hill, tree felling, heavy manual labor, basketball, climbing, football, soccer
(pg.253 Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning-NSCA)

For the more math inclined there is the Harris-Benedict formula for computing Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)which can be used to determine your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE)

BMR=66+(13.7 * wt in kg)+(5* ht in cm)-(6.8*age in years)
BMR=655+(9.6*wt in kg)+(1.8*ht in cm)-(4.7*age in years)

1 inch=2.54 cm
1kg=2.2 lbs


46 year old male
176 lbs=176/2.2=80kg

This means my BMR is 1847.5 cal/day. That is just for doing nothing, laying in bed.
To determine my TDEE we take and multiply my BMR by an activity factor as follows.

sedentary=BMR X 1.2 (little or no exercise, desk job)
Light =BMR X 1.375 (light exercise/sports 1-3 days a week)
Medium = BMR X 1.55 (Moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days a week)
Very Active = BMR X 1.725 (Hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week)
Extremely Act = BMR X 1.9 (Hard daily exercise/sports & physical
job or 2X daily training, marathon, Football camp, contest, etc)

So continuing with my BMR and moderate activity (not getting ready for contest yet) 1847.5 X 1.55=2863.625 or 2864 calories a day to maintain my weight where it is now.

To lose fat, once you have your TDEE subtract 20% and you will have enough calories that your body doesn't go into starvation mode and will burn fat for fuel. Basically your fat furnace is lit up and burning good.

So to burn some fat I would either be taking in 2864-20%(572.8)=2291 calories. That or I would ramp up my activity level to the next level and only reduce by 10%.

There are other means of determining your TDEE but this one works the best for me, my clients, and friends.

Till next time,


Weight Loss Tips

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