Whether you’re counting them, cutting them, or simply pretending they don’t exist—calories are an integral part of life.
But calories are not just part of our lives: Our lives depend on calories. We need calories to run, jump, breath, think and basically, to do anything. When we consume more calories than we need, though, those calories get stored as fat and settle in on our stomachs. Our calorie intake directly correlates to our body weight, making it important to monitor the amount of calories we consume.
The science behind counting calories and weight can be confusing, but here are three simple steps to determine what your daily calorie intake should be and what you can do to achieve your weight goals:
Step 1: Determine Your BMR
BMR (Basic Metabolic Rate) is the minimum amount of calories your body needs to stay alive and functioning. Your BMR is the amount of calories your body burns preforming basic bodily functions like breathing or pumping blood throughout the body. BMR is the amount of calories your body would burn even if you laid in bed all day long. This is how to determine your BMR:
BMR = 655 + (9.6 x weight in kilos) + (1.8 x height in cm) – (4.7 x age in years)
BMR = 66 + (13.7 x weight in kilos) + (5 x height in cm) – (6.8 x age in years)
Step 2: Measure Your Activity Level
Now, most of us do not lie in bed all day, making it crucial it eat according to our activity level. Select the statement below that best matches your activity level.
Sedentary (Minimal or no exercise) 1.2
Slightly Active (Light exercise 1 to 3 days a week) 1.3
Moderately Active (Moderate Exercise 3 to 5 days a week) 1.5
Very Active (Strenuous exercise 6 to 7 days a week) 1.7
Extremely Active (Very strenuous exercise 7 days a week) 1.9
Step 3: Determine How Many Calories You Should Eat
To find how many calories you should consume, given your level of daily activity, calculate:
Your BMR x Activity Level Number = Calorie Intake
This number indicates approximately how many calories your body burns when physical activity is taken into account, and if you eat this many calories daily, you will likely maintain your current weight. However if you are looking to gain or lose weight, you should increase (for weight gain) or decrease (for weight loss) your calorie intake by 20 to 40 percent, depending on your goals. However, fitness experts recommend that women should not eat less than 1,200 calories daily and men should not eat less than 1,800 calories a day.
Monitoring caloric intake is one of the best methods to effectively manage weight. It’s also crucial to eat a diet rich in micro and macronutrient to ensure your metabolism is supported and the body has the essential nutrients needed to look good and feel great.