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Calories In vs. Calories Out

Q: How do you figure out how much to eat, compared to someone that exercises 10 times more than me?

A: Nutrition requirements are based in large part on your activity levels. Two people may eat in a similar way (as far as food choices), but the amounts are completely different. I typically consume 2500 – 3000 calories a day. At least 75% more than what you’re targeting. Your daily caloric intake ranges from 1500 – 1700 calories per day.

How can you figure out your daily caloric requirement? Start with your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
You use energy no matter what you’re doing, even when sleeping. The BMR is the number of calories you’d burn if you stayed in bed all day. A 45 year old, 5′ 5″ woman weighing 130lbs needs approx 1314 calories a day. Your BMR decreases with age which is part of the reason why you can’t eat the same now as you did 10 yrs ago.

If you are moderatetely active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.55. You would need 2037 calories a day to maintain a weight of 130lbs. But since you are in “weight loss mode” we target 300-500 calories under this number (1537-1737 calories).

How does this translate to weight loss? Creating a caloric deficit (through a combination of diet and exercise) of 700-1000 calories per day will translate to 4200 – 7000 calories per week or a 1-2 lb weight loss a week.

I know this is a lot of detail, but this is a starting point. The bottom line? Apart from other health or risk factors, for you, 1500-1700 calories a day will trigger steady sustainable weight loss while providing enough calories to maintain good energy, vitality and health.

– Leonard