- Find out what your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is, or specifically, how many calories your body needs to function properly if you spent the entire day sedentary. Resting metabolic rate (RMR) is often used interchangeably with BMR; although they are slightly different, estimating either is sufficient for the purpose of losing weight. To calculate your RMR, you can use the Mifflin-St Jeor equation. There are also calculators online that can do this for you, which is easier and quicker than:
- RMR = 9.99w + 6.25s - 4.92a + 166g - 161
- w = weight in kilograms; if you know your weight in pounds, divide by 2.2 to get your weight in kilograms
- s = your height in centimeters; if you know your height in inches, multiply by 2.54 to get your height in centimeters
- a = age in years
- g = gender = 1 for males, 0 for females
- To determine your total daily calorie needs, multiply your BMR by the appropriate activity factor:
- If you are sedentary (little or no exercise) : BMR x 1.2
- If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week) : BMR x 1.375
- If you are moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) : BMR x 1.55
- If you are very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week) : BMR x 1.725
- If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports and physical job or 2x training) : BMR x 1.9
So, to give you an example, a 30 year old woman who is 5’-6” and 150 pound would plug her information into the calculator and find out that her BMR is 1476.6. Then, since she is fairly active, exercising 3-5 days per week, she would look at the formula above and see that she would multiply 1476.6 by 1.55, to equal 2288 calories. That is the number of calories that her body burns on an average day.
- When you first begin, you may lose more than this for the first few weeks, which is normal, that is water weight and bloat. After the first few weeks, you should even out at a 1-2 pound loss per week. Be aware, you do not want to lose much more than this, as it will not be fat--anything above this range will be muscle for sure.
- If the woman’s goal weight is 130, she would have a total weight loss of 20 pounds. She would want her weight loss goal per week to be between 1-1.5 pounds per week, so that she does not take her calories too low. Her total daily intake of calories should be between 1563 and 1788. As she begins to lose weight, she will want to recalculate her BMR, and then stick to the 1 pound per week (500 calorie deficit per day) range as she gets within 10 pounds from her goal weight. Always watch what you eat and how much you eat
- You are probably thinking, wait a minute, I don’t want to prolong this, I am going to just go for the gold and lower my calories a ton to get to my goal quicker. That is the fastest way to hit a metabolic brick wall! You go too low with your calories and your body shuts down. So, if you only have a few pounds to lose be patient and do it slowly.
- Bear in mind that approximately 70% of weight loss can be accomplished by modifying one's diet and caloric intake.
- Stay hydrated as water is needed for fat-burning to take place.
- With any fat loss program, you will want to incorporate a weight training program as well, so that you keep your muscle and don’t turn into a pile of mush and skin.
- If you sit at a desk all day, but work out 6 days a week, then you would probably fall under moderate activity rather than very active. It is common for people to over or underestimate their activity level, so pay attention. Since these are just estimates, keep an eye on your fat loss and if you start losing too fast or too slowly, then you will want to adjust your calories up or down accordingly.
- Before starting any weight loss plan, it is recommended one consult a physician.
- Once you have lost your weight, don't forget to calculate a new RMR (because your calorie usage will sink).