Stage three of our weight loss plan moves towards working out how many calories you need to lose weight. A big reason western societies have so many problems with obesity is that our serving sizes are way out of whack with what we actually need to be consuming. It takes a few calculations so dust off the calculators.
Daily Caloric Needs
Knowing how much to eat is obviously integral to losing weight. To find this out you need to calculate your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) and then your ‘Caloric need’. Your RMR is the amount of energy you burn at rest. To find your caloric need we multiply your RMR by your activity level. This then tells us how much energy you burn a day. Once you know how much you burn, you can determine how much you need to be eating to maintain weight (when energy in and energy out are balanced) and to lose weight (when energy in is lower than energy out).
Here’s how to calculate your RMR
RMR is expressed in calories (kcal)/day
Height expressed in inches Weight expressed in pounds Age expressed in years
For men: RMR = 66 + (12.7 x height) + (6.27 x weight) – (6.8 x age)
For women: RMR = 655 + (4.57 x height) + (4.36 x weight) – (4.7 x age)
Example: A 190-lb male, 6’0” tall, 28 yrs old, very active
Daily caloric requirements for weight maintenance =
1.5 x (66 + (12.7 x 72) + (6.27 x 190) – (6.8 x 28)) = 2972 calories/day
Multiply your calculated RMR by 1.3 (sedentary), 1.4 (moderately active), or 1.5 (very active). If you work out intensely 4-5 days/week or are active in sports or outdoor activities, use 1.5 as the multiplying factor.
Okay, so now we know your caloric need and we know from your food diary how many calories you’re actually taking in, we can start to make the necessary adjustments.
To lose weight, experts recommend an energy deficit of between 500-1000 calories a day. This should give you in the order of 0.5 – 1.0 kilograms lost per week but don’t take this as gospel. So to lose weight, for example, our 190lbs male should be eating between 1972 and 2472 calories per day. How many calories do you need to be eating?
What ever happened to “I’m full”?
If you’re overweight, you overeat. But why? A hormone called Leptin is responsible for telling us when enough’s enough but some people aren’t very good at listening.
Solution: Have a glass of water before meals; eat slowly so that your body has the chance to feel full; don’t watch TV while eating and eat three-quarters of your meal, pause, if you still feel hungry after a couple of minutes finish off your meal. If not, stop, you’ve had enough.