HOW MUCH ARE YOU EATING?
Do you feel like you are eating too much, not enough? How often should you eat? There is some very simple math that I would like to share with you to help you understand what you need. First, if you are an athlete, child or teenager your factors will be a lot different than an adult woman or male. Also, females and a males differ greatly as well, regardless of age, due to our genetics and hormonal make ups. Here are a few good, sound tips to help you in determine your caloric needs.
1. First, understand what your Basal Metabolic Rate is. Your BMR is the amount of calories your body needs to function while at rest. A great way to determine this is by your weight. For instance, I currently weigh in at about 145 pounds. This means, that when I am sleeping, my body will burn at a minimum 1,450 calories. To get your specific BMR, simply add a zero to your weight in pounds and that gives you the amount of calories your body will burn in one 24 hour period. That means I can eat 1,450 calories a day without moving and maintain my current weight of 145. These are the calories your body is burning automatically. The regeneration of muscle and food breakdown, the digestion of food, the activity of our brains and all of our natural occurring body functions. In essence, this is our metabolism.
2. SO, now you know how many calories a day your body needs to survive? SO if you weigh 400 pounds, you can safely eat 4,000 calories a day and not gain a pound. Can you imagine? Makes you wonder what obese people are eating, but that is for another topic on another day. Back to my point, if you know your general BMR, you can then ask yourself about your activity level. If you move a lot, exercise every day for an hour or more, have an active lifestyle, then this is obviously the most desirable situation to be in. Plus, if you have more muscle mass than normal, you will also speed up that metabolic rate and your body will be able to burn MORE calories at work and rest.
So, think about your activity level for the day. If you are sedentary and do not exercise much, it is probably fair to say you will burn around 500 additional calories. If you are semi active and exercise sporadically you can add about 750. If you are exercising every day, have an active job and lifestyle, a good 1000 calories or MORE can be added for you to SAFELY maintain your weight. Again, I will use my example and EVERYONE is different. These are all estimates and approximates. With my muscle mass and activity level I can afford about 1000 calories extra per day to maintain my weight of 145. So I eat about 2,450 calories per day and can easily maintain my weight.
3. Think about your numbers. Add up your BMR, then your daily additional calories. Remember, if you aren't sedentary, your calories will NOT be as much as someone who IS active (you will need less calories). In addition, people who are genetically leaner (men) and who have more muscle mass (like myself) will have a faster metabolism. That is why women always get upset when our husbands and boyfriends lose weight faster than us! It is in the genetics ladies, more male hormones, less fat and more muscle mass genetically will always yield a higher metabolic rate.
4. NOW, a pound equals 3,500 calories. If you would like to LOSE weight, look at your Basal Metabolic Rate. Lets give an example of a 170 pound woman, 5'5 inches tall. She has a sports background so a lot of muscle, but has recently gained weight. Her Basal Metabolic Rate is 1,700. That means she can continue to eat 1,700 calories per day and maintain her weight by just sleeping. She is also a teacher and is very active, so she burns off an extra 650-750 calories a day. However,,, If she adds in one hour a day of a combination of cardio and weight training, she could easily burn off another 500 calories per day. If she does this 5x a week, plus continues to stay active at work, she will lose about 1.5 to 2 pounds or possibly more of fat per week. The problem with this client right now is that she is eating 2,500 calories per day so she is just maintaining her weight. However SHE wants to lose weight, so The goal is to get her under that 1700 calorie mark or to burn more calories PER WEEK than what she is eating.
5. Finally, I am NOT one to obsess over calories, but it really does come down to science, gender, age and muscle mass/general metabolism. My advice for you is to eat every 2-3 hours to help boost your metabolism, aim for burning 500 extra calories through exercise 4-7 times a week and keep your calorie intake around your maintenance number (BMR plus activity level number) or your BMR to lose weight. The same goes if you would like to gain weight, but only in reverse, and I myself am not that lucky to have that problem :)
If you have any questions, comments or need help creating a plan to help burn those extra 500 calories per day email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website www.betsymcnally.com