Finally, the greatest question in the universe regarding dieting has come:
“how many calories should i eat to lose weight”
Everybody finally figured out that the only thing that matters at the end of the day for them to lose weight are calories and nothing else like the bullsh*t that’s being promoted: low carbohydrate diets, low fat diets, insulin: glucagon ratios, special 1 week carrot diet,insulin and many more (the BS meter just exploded from all the cr*p listed).
You have the truth that “will set you free” from wasting more time and not seeing any measurable result : “ your body will NOT use the stored bodyfat unless you burn more calories than you are eating”.
This means that your caloric intake should go down OR your activity levels should go up OR both.
Now that the NO BS question is here, the answer I prepared for you all will stand out from all the BS “dieting web” promoted by every single marketer or roid guru who is clueless about how they should approach the whole lose weight idea.
The amount of dieting books out there is huge as seen with just a simple search like “best dieting books” or something along the lines and each dieting book promotes the same BS even if the question is right.
For the question “how many calories per day should I eat to lose weight” the usual answer that you can read in common dieting books that at least address this question is just some magic formula picked up from their a*s.
Ultimately, all these diet books do is trick you into eating less food so your energy intake fundamentally goes down which equals fat loss.
Although most of these formulas don’t even work because every body is fundamentally different: our lifestyle is different, our activity levels are different, our energy metabolism is different, age, sex, and many other variables that even the most complex formula can’t take into account.
Should a 200 pounds athletic male eat the same calories as a 155 pounds female with no fitness background ?
The logical and practical answer is no.
Calorie Intake – Calorie Expediture = Outcome
- If calorie intake > calorie expenditure => weight gain
- If calorie Intake = calorie expenditure => weight maintenance
- If calorie intake < calorie expenditure => weight loss
These are the points that you should take into account when counting calories:
When you start counting calories, include everything, even the snacks so you get as accurate readings as you can.
When you track calories, just take into account TOTAL CALORIC INTAKE and ditch the whole marconutrient % ratios or how many grams of protein, carbohydrate, fats you get.
Your body only cares about calories!
Tracking every single day is not mandatory because after a while, you develop your eye tracking which will make it easier for you
Don’t change your caloric intake too fast because your body needs some time to show significant fat loss so wait 2-4 weeks before readjusting the intake.
Before we dive straight into formulas here is the basic terminology that will help you understand counting easier:
- TEF aka thermic effect of feeding refers to calories consumed by your body as a “side effect” of eating. Meal frequency doesn’t matter here.
- BMR aka basal metabolic rate refers to how many calories you should eat in order to maintain your bodyweight in case you were in comatose level ( basal level )
- NEAT aka non-exercise associated thermogenesis refers to daily calorie expenditure other than exercise
- EAT aka exercise associated thermogenesis refers to how many calories you consume when exercising
- TEE aka total energy expenditure – self explanatory
- RMR refers to resting metabolic rate which equals BMR
Let’s take a look at the most popular calorie tracking formulas and websites and what is the best way to find your starting point.
As a side note, these formulas are more accurate if you are over 18 years old because in case you are under that age, there is more energy expenditure that is usually associated with growth.
More Complex Calorie Estimation Formulas
Mifflin St. Jeor – overestimates caloric needs in overweight
- Women : BMR=[9,99x(kg) WEIGHT] + [6,25x (cm) HEIGHT] – [4,92x(years) AGE] – 161
- Men: BMR=[9,99x(kg) WEIGHT] + [6,25x (cm) HEIGHT] – [4,92x(years) AGE] +5
Harris Benedict Formula – created in 1919, quite inaccurate
- Women: BMR=655+[9,6x(kg) WEIGHT ] + [1,8x(cm) HEIGHT ] – [4,7x(years) AGE]
- Men: BMR=66+[13,7x(kg) WEIGHT ] + [5x(cm) HEIGHT ] – [6,76x(years) AGE]
Katch McArdle – If you know your BF% then this formula is quite accurate
- BMR =370+(21,6xLBM)
- LBM=[KG x (100-BF (bodyfat) %)] / 100
These formulas calculate your BMR (basal metabolic rate), so if you want to find your total caloric intake, you should multiply the results with an activity variable.
- 1,2 =If you are a sedentary person ( has a desk job )
- 1,3-1,4 =You are lightly active ( 1-3 times a week exercise and light activity )
- 1,5-1,6 =If you are moderately active ( 3-5 times a week exercise and moderate daily activity )
- 1,7-1,8 =Very active ( 3-6 times a week exercise and demanding daily activity )
- 1,9-2,2 =Active to the extreme level ( very hard physical job or endurance athlete )
How Accurate Are This Caloric Calculator Formulas ?
They are created just to get you past that hard starting point.
Not everybody likes math and not everybody likes to use complicated formulas (these are easy but bear with me) to find out what they need to do.
The approach that I use for me and my clients is always a flexible one just like I always treated dieting and training.
Get the fun element and finding your caloric requirements aka knowing what how much you need to eat in order to lose weight, maintain weight or gain weight is just a walk in the park.
I will layout my personal strategy that I use and which gave me great results (100% WIN).
Simple Calorie Estimation Formula
The easiest way to get your approximate maintenance calories is take your weight (lb) and multiply it by 14-16 times.
No Bs Formula: 14-16 calories/lb.
Why 14-16 ?
RMR estimates start from 10 for women and 11 for men ( 10-11 calories/lb)
TEF – 10% of total caloric intake => +1 calories/lb for women and men
EAT – ~30% of the RMR cal/lb which => +3-4 calories/lb
Total: 14-16 calories/lb
NOTE: Depending on the activity levels, if someone is not so physically active I would use the 14 calories/ lb as a starting point
Using The Formulas To Get The Big Picture
This is a little exercise to see each formula in action so we will estimate caloric requirements for a 25 year old male at 200 lb (90kg), 6 feet height (185 cm) with sedentary lifestyle, sitting around 20% bodyfat.
Mifflin St. Jeor Formula
899+1156+123+5=2183 x 1.2 = 2619
Harris Benedict Formula
66+1233+900-169= 2030 x 1.2 = 2436
Katch McArdle Formula
370 + 1555 = 1925 x 1.2 = 2310
Simple Calorie Estimation Formula
200 lb x 14 calories/lb = 2800
The estimations range from 2310 calories/day the lowest and 2800 calories/day the highest for maintenance.
I always like to take a medium approach which is both safe and viable on the long term so what I personally use and what I experienced working is cutting 20% of these estimated calories down to start losing some weight.
2800 calories/day x 0.20 = 560
2800 calories/day – 560 = 2240
In this case, the answer to the question “how many calories should I eat per day to lose weight” would be:
Estimate your maintenance calories (as explained) and substract 20% from there.
What you should look for is ~1-2 lb of true fat loss per week because this is the sweet spot which allows you to keep as much muscle mass as you can while dieting.
What To Do If My Weight Remains The Same Or Goes Up After A Week ?
Simple : just lower your caloric intake by 20% again from that lowered value and diet 1 week
From our example, we will have:
2240 x 20% = 448
2240 – 448 = 1792
Now you should know how many calories per day you should eat in order to lose weight and the single thing that remains for you to do now is to start applying what you’ve learnt. I hope that now you won’t have the same question: “how many calories should i eat per day” over and over again because it should be fixed by now. If not, please reread this article again.
I hope you enjoyed reading this, and if you did, share it even with one friend to help him answer his questions when he wants to lose some weight.
That being said, what is the most unusual thing you tried before in order to lose weight/fat ?
PS: Now you can eat your bowl of cereals any time of the day, as long as you check your calories. Bon appetit: