One of the most common questions that I am asked is “How many calories should I eat?” and while many of us are hoping to hear that “magic number” of what is going to help us lose weight, the fact is our caloric needs are highly individual. Calculating your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the simplest way to find the answer. Here’s how it works:
Your BMR is the amount of energy your body needs to function. We use about 60% of the calories we consume each day for basic bodily functions such as breathing.
Other factors that influence your BMR are height, weight, age and sex. (Please note that this formula applies only to adults.)
Step one is to calculate your BMR with the following formula:
655 + (4.3 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)
66 + (6.3 x weight in pounds) + (12.9 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years)
The resulting number of each equation is your BMR.
Step two: In order to incorporate activity into your daily caloric needs, complete the following calculation:
If you are sedentary: Multiply BMR x 20 percent
If you are lightly active: Multiply BMR x 30 percent
Add this number to your BMR. This resulting number is the number of calories you can comfortably consume each day without weight gain.