How many calories do you need to eat each day for your body to work the way it’s supposed to?
1200? 2000? 4000?
The answer is simple. It’s DIFFERENT for everyone. This is the #1 topic that I educate my clients on when I coach them in my macro groups. Proper nutrition. nutrient timing, and EATING for your activity level.
If you’ve ever looked at my social media, you’ve probably thought, “That girl eats a lot!” YES! I love to eat. I know a general range of how many macros (proteins, carbs and fats) I need each day to feel full, satisfied and to maintain my weight.
Let me teach you how to figure out how many calories you should be eating each day. Get out your notepad and pen. Go on. I will wait.
First let’s calculate your BMR. BMR stands for Basal Metabolic Rate, and it’s the amount of energy expended while at rest in a neutrally temperate environment, in the post-absorptive state (meaning that the digestive system is inactive, which requires about twelve hours of fasting). This is important to note because even digesting your food takes energy. Protein specifically takes more effort for your body to digest than carbs, so your body works hard even to do something as simple as digestion. Essentially your BMR is the amount of calories your body NEEDS even if you just laid in bed all day.
BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)
Let use an example of Sally who is a 175-pound woman, 5 foot 4 inches tall and is 43 years old. Sally is deemed “obese” based on her height and weight, but we will come back to this later.
Sally’s Example: 655 + (4.35 x 175) + (4.7 x 64) – (4.7 x 43) = a BMR of 1515
Like you, Sally does not lay in bed all day. She is a working mom of two kids. She works all day, runs errands, cleans, feeds her family dinner, bathes her kids and puts them to bed each night. Even at her desk job, she is always on the go, in and out of client meetings. Sally also exercises 4 times a week, taking 2 spin classes and 2 group weight lifting classes.
Sally is following a new diet, where she is eating 1200 calories a day. She’s been following it for a few months now. She is hungry a lot. She started to see results in the first week or so, but now she has plateaued. She is feeling weak, more irritable and tired, and she is craving salty and fatty foods. She is having a very hard time getting through her workouts. This is a sign of metabolic damage.
Sally has a BMR of 1515 if she laid in bed all day, but Sally’s life is very full AND she is an avid exerciser. In reality, Sally should be eating about 1700 calories each day to LOSE weight. Remember that Sally falls into the “obese” category. Many of you may think that she should eat LESS to lose weight, but since Sally is heavy, her body works even harder to perform the simple daily tasks that we all take for granted: walking up the stairs, shopping, cleaning, etc.
It is NOT SALLY’S FAULT that her metabolism is damaged. Perhaps like you, Sally thought that 1200 calories was what she was supposed to be eating. My Fitness Pal, and the article she read in last month’s fashion magazine and her friend’s diet all TOLD HER that 1200 calories was right for her. As a result, Sally has damaged her metabolism because her body THINKS that it is starving. Her body is holding on to all of the food that she is eating, because it thinks that she won’t be eating much anymore.
Does this sound familiar?
Next week, I will address Reverse Dieting and how to restore Sally’s metabolism (and yours) back to health. Please feel free to contact me for any one-on-one help, and I will tell you more about the online support group that will start in January that will help us all get focused for 2017.