Calories shmalories. Haha Our society is becoming more aware of how many calories are in meals, drinks, and snacks. Many restaurants are posting their calorie content on their websites, and some are even posting calories right on their menus. What most people do not know, is how many calories they should be taking in per day. Everyone is different. People come in all different shapes and sizes, and therefore have different calorie needs. I am going to give you an equation to figure out YOUR specific calorie needs based on gender, height, weight, age, and physical activity level. Don’t worry, you don’t have to become calorie counter! It is nice to know and be aware of what your daily caloric needs are though. And not to mention, it’s kinda fun and interesting to figure it out! If you are trying to lose or gain weight, it is very helpful to know how many calories your body needs, and what you need to change to hit your goal. Let’s get started!

First, find your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). This is how many calories your body burns when it is at rest. The only factor that this equation does not consider, is lean body mass. So it does not take into account the muscle-to-fat ratio that a body has. Therefore, this is a super accurate equation for most people except for those who are extremely muscular (this equation will underestimate calorie needs for them) and those who have an extremely high content of fat (this equation will overestimate calorie needs for them). So keep that in mind and adjust accordingly if you fall into one of those categories. Here is the BMR equation:



Second, determine your daily caloric needs to MAINTAIN your current weight. Now that we know our BMR, we are going to use the Harris Benedict Formula: This formula uses your BMR, then applies your activity factor (how active you are) to figure out your daily caloric needs. Equation found below:



Congratulations! You have found how many calories your body needs to MAINTAIN your CURRENT weight. If you want to lose or gain weight, keep following the directions :)

To LOSE weight: There are 3,500 calories in one pound of stored body fat. In order to lose one pound, you need to create a 3,500 calorie deficit through diet, exercise, or both. Both diet and exercise together is recommended for lasting and successful weight loss. Recommended weight loss is 1-2 lbs per week. To lose 2 lbs per week, you will have to create a 7,000 calorie deficit in a week.

A guideline for lowering your calorie intake is to reduce your daily calories by at least 500, but no more than 1,000. For people who do not need to lose much weight, 1,000 calories is probably too much of a reduction for them. ACSM recommends that you should not reduce your calories below 1,200 calories per day for women and 1,800 calories per day for men.

Another way to figure out a safe minimum calorie intake is to reduce your calorie intake by 15-20% of your current daily caloric intake.

To GAIN Weight: In order to gain weight, you need to take in more calories than you burn. Increase your daily caloric needs by 500 calories per day. You will gain about one pound per week by doing this.

Have fun figuring out what YOUR body needs!!! Have a very Happy Memorial Day!!!