How Many Calories Do You Need to Lose Weight?

If you think your size and appetite determine how much food and calories to consume, think again.




All you calorie counters out there would do well to learn how many calories are sufficient for you to lose weight, given that sex, height, weight, age and activity level all come into play here.

Every Body is Different

Not everyone should follow a standard 2000-calorie diet, because not everyone’s metabolism is fast enough to handle that much food and burn off that many calories. People with slow metabolisms, likely due to a sedentary lifestyle, will only gain weight at that level of eating.

There are formulas, specific to your sex, to help you determine how many calories are necessary for you individually called the Harris-Benedict equations, which measure what is known as your basal energy expenditure (BEE).

These formulas are intended as a gauge for sedentary people primarily, but adjustments can be made for people who are physically active. Knowing your BEE is important, because it will make you more mindful of where you are maybe missing the mark and help you to understand why it may have been difficult for you to lose weight.

One 200-lb person may believe that they need to eat a lot of food to have enough energy for the day, while another person of the same weight may think they need a lot fewer calories than necessary to lose weight since taking in fewer calories than you burn is how you achieve weight loss. With this kind of misguidance about caloric intake, it is easy to see why so many people may be struggling with their weight.

Calculating Your Basal Energy Expenditure (BEE)

In order to figure out what your BEE is and how many calories are sufficient for you, use the following formulas:
Men: 66 + 13.7W + 5H – 6.8A
Women: 665 + 9.6W + 1.7H – 4.7A

W equals weight in kilograms (kg), H equals height in centimeters (cm) and A equals age. To calculate your height in centimeters, multiple your height in inches by 2.54. To calculate your weight in kilograms, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2. Take your time and use a calculator so you won’t get confused.

So, for example, a 220-lb (110 kg) man who is 30 years old and 6 feet tall (158.4 cm) would have a BEE of 2,165.40. That’s how many calories he should be consuming daily.

His breakdown:
66 + (13.74 x 110) + (5 x 158.4) – (6.8 x 30)
66 + 1511.40 + 792 – 204 = 2,165.40

A 220-lb (110 kg) woman who is 30 years old and 5 feet 6 inches, or 66 inches, tall (167.64 cm) would require about 1,865 calories.

Her breakdown:
665 + (9.6 x 110) + (1.7 x 167.64) – (4.7 x 30)
665 + 1,056 + 284.988 -141 = 1,865 approximately

If you are physically active, calories can be increased by 100 for every 20 minutes of light exercise and increased by 200 for every 20 minutes of vigorous exercise daily.

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