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Recommended Calorie Intake – Exactly How to Determine Your Daily Calorie Intake to Lose Weight
The goal of anyone who wants to lose weight should be to lose fat in the healthiest way possible while maintaining as much lean muscle as possible. It’s important to work with your body for healthy weight loss, and for that we need to determine recommended caloric intake to your body.
Many resources generally recommend caloric intake as a static number, usually a reduction of 500-1000 calories per day from the calories needed to maintain your current weight. In general, this is a good place to start; However, the problem with using a static number isn’t that not everyone needs the same amount of calories to maintain their weight.
For example, a person who needs 1800 calories per day to maintain their weight would reduce their caloric intake by 27 percent, while a person who needs 2500 calories per day to maintain their weight would only reduce by 20 percent. So it only seems logical that you should use the percentage of your caloric intake needed to maintain your weight to gain.
Ideally, you want to reduce the number of calories you need to maintain your current weight by 15-20%. Now that you know the percentage, I know what you’re thinking “OK…OK…but 15-20% WHAT!” Now we need to determine how many calories your body needs to maintain your current weight.
Although many resources advise you to multiply your weight by a certain number to determine your calorie maintenance value. In general, it is not the optimal way to determine your body number. I have personally found the Harris Benedict formula to be very reliable when determining the number of calories needed to maintain weight.
Below are the steps required to determine your body’s recommended calorie intake using the Harris Benedict formula:
- First, determine your basal metabolic rate (BMR).
- Next, figure out your calorie maintenance level by multiplying your BMR by your activity level factor.
- Third, subtract 15-20% from that number to find your recommended calorie intake.
This may sound complicated, but it’s really just plugging numbers into a formula.
Find your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
1 pound = 0.454 kilograms and 1 inch = 2.54 centimeters
Using the formula above…
66 + (13.7 x body weight in kg) + (5 x height in cm) – (6.8 x age in years) = BMR
655 + (9.6 x body weight in kg) + (1.8 x height in cm) – (4.7 x age in years) = BMR
Now take BMR and multiply by the appropriate activity factor
- Sitting = BMR x 1.2 (little or no exercise)
- Lightly active = BMR x 1.375 (light exercise: 1-3 days per week)
- Moderately active = BMR x 1.55 (moderate exercise: 3-5 days per week)
- Very active = BMR x 1.725 (intense training: 6-7 days per week)
- Very active = BMR x 1.9 (intense daily training and heavy physical work)
Now reduce this number by 15-20% and you will get your body’s recommended calorie intake.
Here is an example:
Jennifer weighs 155 pounds, she’s 38 years old, she’s 5’3″ tall, and she’s moderately active. To find her BMR, we plug her numbers into a formula. First, we convert pounds to kilograms and inches to centimeters .
155 lbs x 0.454 = 70.4 kg and 5’3″ = 63 inches = 63 x 2.54 = 160.02 cm
655 + (675.84) + (288.04) – (178.6) = 1,440
BMR x activity level = 1440 x 1.55 = 2,232 Jennifer’s calorie maintenance number is 2,232 calories per day.
For healthy weight loss, Jenifer’s recommended calorie intake is 1,786 calories per day (2,232 – 20% = 1,786)
You know you know how to determine your recommended calorie intake for safe and optimal weight loss. You have one more tool at your disposal to improve your chances of success in weight loss.
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