How Many Calories to Eat?

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been quite diligent about tracking my food so I know how many calories I’m eating and when to stop for the day. However, for the past year I’ve been eating about 1200-1500 on a normal basis and not losing weight. Granted, I had some bad days but not enough to offset what weight loss I should have had. This lead me to doing some reading/research. I came across material on the BMR, Basal Metabolic Rate, (and the RMR, Resting Metabolic Rate, which is very closely related). Sure, I had heard of BMR before but I didn’t put much thought in to how to incorporate that in to my lifestyle. Apparently, when a person is resting comfortably their body is burning a crapton of calories just to live. All that breathing, thinking, and heart pumping takes a lot more fuel than I had ever given them credit.

 

What does this have to do with anything? I used the BMR calculator and found out my BMR was 1690 and here I was eating 1200-1500 on most nights. No wonder my body was holding on to my fat. It thought I wasn’t ever going to feed it enough again! Now, keep in mind the BMR and RMR is while at REST….that means no exercise or activity is considered here. In order to take calorie burn based on BMR and activity level just multiply the BMR by:

 

Sedentary: 1.2 (little or no exercise and a desk job)

Lightly Active: 1.375 (light exercise or sports 1-3 days a week)

Moderately Active: 1.55 (moderate exercise or sports 3-5 days a week)

Very Active: 1.725 (hard exercise or sports 6-7 days a week)

Extremely Active: 1.9 (hard daily exercise or sports and a physical job)

(source)

 

I fall in the Moderately Active category which means my calorie burn is around 2620 a day (on average). I’ve decided to try to eat up to my BMR (1690) each day while eating some of my calories I burned exercising on heavily active days. By eating 1690 and my body burning about 2620, that’s almost a 1000 calorie difference! I was afraid if I ate more then I’d just gain wait instead of lose but according my research, I should kick my body back in to using up my fat stores instead of holding on for dear life.

 

(source)

Of course, as you age your BMR lowers and yo yo dieting causes the BMR to drop some as well. With that in mind, it’s important to keep adjusting caloric intake for each year that goes by and any large weight loss. This is my first week trying to eat my BMR, so we’ll see what Friday’s weigh in brings!

 

What strategies do you use to overcome a plateau?

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