Tuesday, March 16

Know Your Numbers

When you try to lose or maintain your weight, your most important piece of knowledge is your calories limits. To boil it down, weight loss is easy if you know your limits: to lose weight your calories out need to be more than your calories in, to maintain weight your calories in need to be the same as your calories out.
But most of us don’t have a clue what calories we need in a day, let alone the calories we actually burn in a day. Unfortunately, most calories calculators you can find online overestimate the calories we need. I tested several and they all estimated that I could eat 300 calories more than my current maximum! An overestimate of 300 might not seem like much to you. But if I ate an extra 300 calories each day for a year, I would gain 30 pounds!
With the help of Jared (who wins Husband of the Year award for this one), I have a spreadsheet that you can simply enter your weight, height, age and sex into and get your BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate. Your BMR is the number of calories your body uses just by living. Last Saturday when you sat on the couch and did a big fat nothing all day—you would have only burned the calories of your BMR.
This spreadsheet will give you the estimated calories you would burn based on your level of activity as well. After you enter all your information, your BMR is your minimum calories to maintain your weight. Based on your level of activity, that number is your maximum calories to maintain your weight.
If you’re looking to lose weight, you don’t want to eat any less than a couple hundred calories less than the BMR for the weight you would like to achieve. For example, I would like to get to 170 pounds which has (for me) a BMR of about 1500 calories. My weight loss calories range is about 1200 to 1400 calories. This is just a general guideline for you, though. If you want more specific details, you could easily talk to your doctor or a dietician.

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