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Recommended Calorie Intake – Exactly How to Determine Your Daily Calorie Intake to Lose Weight
The goal of everyone who wants to lose weight should be to lose fat in the healthiest way while at the same time maintaining as much lean muscle as possible. It is important to work with your body to promote healthy weight loss and to do this we need to be determined recommended calorie intake in your particular body.
Calorie intake is often recommended as a fixed number with many benefits and is generally a reduction of 500 to 1000 calories per day from the calories needed to maintain your current weight. In general, this is a good place to start; However, the problem with using a static number is that not everyone needs the same amount of calories to maintain their weight.
For example someone who needs 1800 calories a day to maintain their weight would reduce their calorie intake by 27%, while someone who needs 2500 calories a day to maintain their weight would only be reduced by 20%. So it seems logical that to get your recommended calorie intake, you should consume a percentage of the calories needed to maintain your weight.
Ideally you want to reduce the number of calories needed to maintain your current weight by 15%-20%. Now that you know the percentage, I know what you’re thinking “Fine…Fine…but 15%-20% OF SOMETHING!” Now we need to look at how many calories your body needs to maintain your current weight.
While most tools will tell you to multiply your body weight by a fixed number to determine the calorie figure. As a rule, it is not the best way to determine YOUR body mass. Personally I have found the Harris Benedict Formula to be very reliable when determining the number of calories needed to maintain your weight.
Below are the steps needed to determine your body’s recommended calorie intake using the Harris Benedict Formula:
- First, determine your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).
- Next, find your calorie maintenance level by multiplying your BMR by your activity level.
- Third, reduce that number by 15%-20% to get your recommended calorie intake.
This may sound complicated, but it’s really just a matter of plugging your numbers into a formula.
Find your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
1 pound = 0.454 kilograms and 1 inch = 2.54 centimeters
Using the formula from above…
For men:
66 + (13.7 x body weight in kg) + (5 x height in cm) – (6.8 x age in years) = BMR
For women:
655 + (9.6 x body weight in kg) + (1.8 x height in cm) – (4.7 x age in years) = BMR
Now take your BMR and multiply it by the appropriate Activity Multiplier
- Sitting down = BMR x 1.2 (little to no exercise)
- It works a little = BMR x 1.375 (light work: 1-3 days a week)
- It works in moderation = BMR x 1.55 (moderate exercise: 3-5 days a week)
- It works very well = BMR x 1.725 (vigorous exercise: 6-7 days a week)
- Extremely Effective = BMR x 1.9 (daily hard work plus hard physical work)
Now, reduce this number by 15%-20% and you will have a recommended calorie intake for your body.
Here is an example:
Jennifer weighs 155 pounds, is 38 years old, 5’3″ tall, and is Medium to Medium. To find her BMR we’ll plug her numbers into a formula. First we convert from pounds to kilograms and from inches to centimeters. .
155 pounds x 0.454 = 70.4 kg and 5’3″ = 63 inches = 63 x 2.54 = 160.02 cm
655 + (675.84) + (288.04) – (178.6) = 1,440
BMR x Activity Level = 1440 x 1.55 = 2,232 So Jennifer’s caloric number for nutrition is 2,232 calories per day.
For healthy weight loss, Jennifer’s recommended calorie intake would be 1,786 calories per day (2,232 – 20% = 1,786)
Know that you know how to determine the recommended calorie intake safely and optimally for weight loss, you have one tool that can improve your chances of success in losing weight.
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