How Many Calories Should You Be Eating?

By Lisa Eberly

Letter Y Dropcapour calorie intake can be confusing. Essentially, it should equal your BMR + a factor of your exercise.

BMR is your basal metabolic rate. Your basal what a who now rate? Your basal metabolic rate refers to the number of calories your body burns just by living. Breathing, sitting, standing, sleeping, eating, just living your life. It is the amount of energy you burn through daily.

So, if you eat the same number of calories you’re burning through, you will maintain your weight. If you eat more calories than you’re burning, you will gain weight. If you eat less, lose weight. It’s really actually very simple. Once you exceed the calories you burn by 3,500 calories, you gain one pound of fat. If you burn 3,500 calories more than you’re eating, you lose one pound of fat. So, if you’re burning 1,700 calories a day and eating 2,200 calories per day (without working out), you will gain one pound in one week.

A lot of people think that everyone’s BMR is 2,000 calories/day. That’s where the notion of a 2,000 calorie diet comes from. That’s wrong. Everyone has a different BMR based on gender, age, height, weight, muscle, genetics, and the list goes on.

Here’s how to (roughly) calculate yours using something called the Harris-Benedict Equation:

Age in years = 655 + (9.6 x weight in kg) + (1.7 x height in cm) – (4.7 x age)
Men = 66 + (13.7 x weight in kg) + (5 x height in cm) – (6.8 x age in years)

This equation uses height in centimeters and weight in kilograms. To convert for weight, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to get your weight in kilograms. To convert for height, multiply your height in inches by 2.54 to get your height in centimeters.

Example: A 5’7’’, 140 pound, 22-year-old girl:
Height: 67 inches x 2.54 = 170.18 cm
Weight: 140 lbs ÷ 2.2 = 63.64 kg
655 + (9.6 x 63.64) + (1.7 x 170.18) – (4.7 x 22) = 1,452 calories/day

Therefore, she should not eat more than 1,452 calories per day to lose weight. This should get you on track for your nutrition goals!.

xo,
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