Wednesday, March 7, 2012

How many calories do I need anyway???

In starting on a healthy lifestyle, it is so important to know how many calories you should be eating a day to make sure you stay on track. All calories are not created equal either. If you target caloric intake is 1800 a day, do not make that 1800 come from 1 meal and then not eat the rest of the day. This will cause you metabolism to plummet. Even though it appears you are consuming less calories by eating only one meal a day your body goes into a starvation mode and holds onto everything you eat, good and bad, because it thinks it will not get the nutrition it needs again. Your goal should be to keep you metabolism running fast and steady all day.

A quote I try and live by is, "Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper."

This way you are fueling your body with the most amount of food that will be burned off during the day through activity versus putting way too many calories in your body right before you are in bed and inactive.

You achieve this by eating regularly throughout the day. It took me a long time to believe this. My body could easily function on just eating a big dinner. I rarely thought about food the rest of the day, but it wasn't until  I listened to my husband and starting eating throughout the day that I achieved my fitness goals.

So lets figure out how many calories you need.

1. Calculate you Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)- the calories you need to breathe, grow hair, blink, essentially be alive:

Your Body Weight x 10 = RMR
ex. 130 x 10 = 1300

2. Now calculate you daily activity burn- the calories you need for daily movement aside from exercise.

Your RMR x 20% = Daily activity burn
ex. 1300 x 20% = 260

3. Now you will add you RMR and your daily activity burn plus what you burn through exercise.
You will need to decide what you burn a day in exercise. That number is variable. In my opinion 200 to 300 is a safe number for moderate activity, 600 for intense training.

RMR + Daily activity burn + Exercise burn = Energy amount needed
ex. 1300 + 260 + 300 = 1860 calories to eat a day to maintain your weight

Now if you are wanting to lose weight you will need to create a deficit from that 1860. I usually start by subtracting 300 calories a day. My next post will discuss easy ways to cut calories without cutting taste to help with this.

So that drops us down to 1560 calories a day. Our of those calories you want 40% of the calories to be from carbs, 30% from fat, and 30% from protein.

Lets break it down:
1560 x .4 = 624 (carbs)
1560 x .3 = 468 (fat)
1560 x .3 = 468  (protein)

This is where My Fitness Pal is a gem. It will keep track of the break down for you. I have the app downloaded on my phone. Once you set up your account it will spit out the number of calories you need to consume a day to meet your weight loss or maintenance goals. I personally prefer the formula above, but regardless both the number you get from above and from my fitness pal should be similar.

This will be your home screen and you add all the food you have eaten in the My Diary tab at the bottom

The My Diary tab takes you to this.

Clicking on Add will take you to this screen.

From there you will click on the meal and add your food. This app has every food you can dream of and even the capabilities for you to scan the bar code on a food. So cool!

The last screen I use is the Daily tab that is on your home page. It lets you know where you stand and what you have left for the day . The white circle is where you will find your carbs, fat, protein ratios you figured out above and want to stay within.

Unfortunately will have have to log in on-line to change those ratios. The app doesn't offer that feature, but after you do make changes it will automatically sync it to your phone.

Go here and click on Goals

Which will take you here. You want Custom

Put in your 40/30/30 and click Save Changes

Sorry about the picture quality! I was taking the pic off my computer with my phone.

This has turned into the, so I will end there.

If this post left you feeling confused

Please send me any questions and I will do my best to answer them.

Happy almost Thursday!


  1. Great post, Alexis!!

    I live by your king, prince, pauper quote, too. :)

  2. I love this post. I found you at the Sunday Social. Stopping in from TheStuffofSuccess. I am also your newest follower. Feel free to stop by and say hello. Have a great week. Thanks Athena