Thursday, January 31, 2013

Find the amount of calories you need each day

I get quite a few questions from people like, “what should I be eating” or “how many calories per day can I eat and still lose weight?” The process is different for everyone, especially when you start factoring in lifestyle, exercise, heredity and those nasty plateau periods. But, let me give you some baseline information to help you get a framework together. For starters, these are my general rules of thumb when anyone asks me how I lost weight:

--Eat foods with five ingredients or less most of the time

--Don’t eliminate food groups

--Be honest about what you are eating (meaning keep a journal and measure portions)

--Water, not soda

--Move more

When I first started out with Weight Watchers, my two main “ah-hah!” moments were 1) when I realized how little calories exercise actually burned, and 2) a big Joey Lawrence “WHOA!” in reference to the size of my portions. It was then that I quit rewarding workouts with food, I started reading labels and I invested in a food scale and measuring tools for my kitchen.

As for how much you should eat, there are two ways you can figure out your recommended caloric intake for the day. You can use your RMR or your LBW. Warning – there is math involved, but if I can do it, you can do it!

1) RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate) – This is the amount of energy you need to sustain your body at rest. Take your body weight x 10 to determine the amount. (IE: if you are 190 pounds, your RMR is 1,900 calories per day).

2) LBW (Lean Body Weight) – If you know your body fat percentage, you can use this calculation to determine a caloric range. First, to determine your lean body weight, take your weight and multiply your body fat percentage. (IE: 190lbs x 30% body fat = 57). Then, subtract this from your total weight. (IE: 190lbs – 57 = 133 LBW). This means your bones, muscles and soft tissue weigh 133 lbs.

To determine your low end of the range, take your LBW and multiply by 16. (IE: 133 x 16 = 2,128 minimum calories per day). To determine your high end of the range, add 500. (IE: 2,128 + 500 = 2,628 maximum calories per day).

An alternative to these calculations, you can record the amount of calories you typically eat in a day. (I would track this for a week and take the average.) If you are currently maintaining your weight or gaining weight, start by reducing your daily caloric intake by 100-200 calories from your original intake amount.

As I mentioned, this information just scratches the surface about caloric intake, but it gives you a baseline. From there, you continue to play with the numbers and your meals until you determine what is or isn’t working for you. The most important thing is that you continue to update these calculations when you lose another 10 pounds. If you lost 20 pounds, it’s important to recalculate the calories you actually need using the lower weight so you don’t gain the weight back.

OK, that’s enough math for today, don’t you think? As a reward, I will leave this for the ladies:

No comments:

Post a Comment