Your body needs a certain amount of calories every single day just to maintain its essential functions. If you’re exercising regularly or working a job that requires a lot of physical exertion, you may require more calories for your day than the average person. Also, if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding you’ll need additional calories. A variety of different factors determine how many calories you need each day - such as your height, weight, gender, age and activity level. For healthy weight loss that lasts, you need to ensure you consume an appropriate amount of calories for your size.
To determine how much energy your body needs to function while at rest, try using a Calorie Calculator. The number you end up with will help you determine how many calories you need on an inactive day. For those of you who are active, you’ll need to factor your activity level into this equation. Once you’ve determined your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate, or the number of calories your body expends at rest), you can multiply your result by one of the following activity factors to determine how many calories you should be consuming each day.
- Sedentary (little to no exercise): BMR x 1.2
- Lightly active (light exercise): BMR x 1.3
- Moderately active (exercise 3-5 times / week): BMR x 1.5
- Very active (hard exercise 6-7 times / week): BM R x 1.7
You can also determine how many calories you burn in a day by using the Activity Calculator. Simply enter your activity and duration, and the amount of calories burned during the activity will be calculated.
After determining how many calories you should be consuming each day to meet your specific goals, you should start to pay attention to your meal choices. It’s a good idea to keep a food diary at least for a little while, to keep track of what you’re eating. You can also use an online calorie calculator, such as the one found at Fitday.com, to help you determine how many calories are in the foods you consume.
A warning: over-reducing your caloric intake will NOT lead to healthy, sustainable weight loss. What’s important is that you’re consuming the right amount of calories for your size and activity level, if you want to look and feel great!