JUST HOW MANY CALORIES SHOULD I BE EATING?

This is a question I get asked most frequently.  I wish it were as easy as saying, “if you eat 1,200 calories per day you will lose weight,” but each of us have our own unique metabolism, which is affected by age, weight, daily movement, etc.  Even this formula can be off, as we are not all pegs that fit into the same hole.

But if you are counting calories and wondering how many calories to eat per day, the formula below will help with a starting point. We will go off your BMR – Basal Metabolic Rate, also known as RMR – Rest Metabolic Rate. So, what is the RMR? It is the number of calories your body burns for basic functioning, such as breathing. Everything you eat and do affects your metabolism – or the rate at which your body burns calories.

Now the most reliable method to determine your RMR is by testing your oxygen. Since that takes a specialized machine, we’ll take the next best route and use the Harris Benedict Equation. Yes, there’s math involved, but it’s not so bad. I’ll give you the women’s calculation – the men’s calculation is different.

Let’s take a woman who is 5’ 6” who weighs 150 pounds, is 55 years old, who exercises 4 days per week.

We take that number and multiply it by your activity level.

665 + (4.35 X wt. in pounds) + (4.7 x ht. in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)

655 + (4.35 x 150) + (4.7 x 66) – (4.7 x 55)

655 + 653 + 310 – 259 = 1,359 BMR

Now you know what your body burns (approximately) at rest.

Amount of Exercise

Little to No Exercise
Light Exercise (1-3 days/week) Moderate Exercise (3-5 days/week) Heavy Exercise (6-7 days/week) Very Heavy Exercise (twice/day)

Daily Calories Needed

RMR x 1.2 RMR x 1.375 RMR x 1.55 RMR 1.725 RMR x 1.9

If you follow the exercise recommended in the RYM Program and plan to exercise 6-7 days a week, use the moderate exercise level, as most of the exercise you will doing will be low-moderate intensity.

So, our 150-pound women would multiply her RMR of 1,359 x 1.55, which would give her 2,106 calories to stay at a consistent weight.

When she wants to lose weight, she would create a 500-calorie deficit per day, which would leave her at 1,606 calories. This is the number of calories she needs to eat per day to lose 1 pound a week. (3,500 calories are in a pound – 7 days x 500 calories a day).

It’s fine to go over or under a bit (100-200 calories). In fact, it can be good to do every once in a while; that way your body doesn’t get used to the same number of calories per day. By keeping your metabolism guessing, you make it work harder.

The formula below will help with a starting point. We will go off your BMR – Basal Metabolic Rate, also known as RMR – Rest Metabolic Rate. So, what is the RMR? It is the number of calories your body burns for basic functioning. Everything you eat and do affects your metabolism – or the rate at which your body burns calories.

Now the most reliable method to determine your RMR is by testing your oxygen. Since that takes a specialized machine, we’ll take the next best route and use the Harris Benedict Equation. Yes, there’s math involved, but it’s not so bad. I’ll give you the women’s calculation – the men’s calculation is different.

Let’s take a woman who is 5’ 6” who weighs 150 pounds, is 55 years old, who exercises 4 days per week.

We take that number and multiply it by your activity level.

665 + (4.35 X wt. in pounds) + (4.7 x ht. in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)

655 + (4.35 x 150) + (4.7 x 66) – (4.7 x 55)

655 + 653 + 310 – 259 = 1,359 BMR

Now you know what your body burns (approximately) at rest.

Amount of Exercise

Little to No Exercise
Light Exercise (1-3 days/week) Moderate Exercise (3-5 days/week) Heavy Exercise (6-7 days/week) Very Heavy Exercise (twice/day)

Daily Calories Needed

RMR x 1.2 RMR x 1.375 RMR x 1.55 RMR 1.725 RMR x 1.9

If you follow the exercise recommended in the RYM Program and plan to exercise 6-7 days a week, use the moderate exercise level, as most of the exercise you will doing will be low-moderate intensity.

So, our 150-pound women would multiply her RMR of 1,359 x 1.55, which would give her 2,106 calories to stay at a consistent weight.

When she wants to lose weight, she would create a 500-calorie deficit per day, which would leave her at 1,606 calories. This is the number of calories she needs to eat per day to lose 1 pound a week. (3,500 calories are in a pound – 7 days x 500 calories a day).

It’s fine to go over or under a bit (100-200 calories). In fact, it can be good to do every once in a while; that way your body doesn’t get used to the same number of calories per day. By keeping your metabolism guessing, you make it work harder.