Fat loss is a formula. Use this step-by-step process to figure out how many calories to eat in order to burn fat and lose weight.When we first started getting on a roll with losing weight, one of the things we did was learn how many calories we should be eating each day (and in what ratio of protein/carbs/fats). Wow, was it eye opening. After we used the formula below to figure out our target calories, then we started weighing and measuring our food for our meals. Boy were we over-doing it with portion size on things like chicken breasts (the average breast is around 8 oz and I was shooting for 4 oz per meal), peanut butter, and oatmeal! Fast-forward 5+ years and I no longer count calories. It's a bit of a slippery slope because once you start, it can be slightly... addictive, especially for me, a type-A perfectionist! That being said, I can look back on my calorie counting days lovingly, knowing that they were the bridge that I needed to get from obsessively jumping from diet to diet and the lately fat loss trick over to a healthier, more whole food based approach to healthy eating. No one learns to ride a bike without training wheels right? Well, calorie counting was my training wheels. It helped me to assess where I was so that I could understand what I needed to do to get to where I wanted to be, weight-wise. So, if you can relate to that at all, and want to understand how many calories you should eat for fat loss, here's the quick 3-step process we used to quickly find out how many calories we should be taking in, in order to lose weight.
Step One - BMRFind out what your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is, or specifically, how many calories your body needs to function properly if you spent the entire day sedentary. I recommend using this calculator:
Step Two - BMR Plus ActivitySince you (hopefully) do not sit still in bed all day, you must add in the calories you burn through activity. Once you have your BMR, use the Harris Benedict Formula below to determine your total daily calorie needs depending on your activity level. Harris Benedict Formula To determine your total daily calorie needs, multiply your BMR by the appropriate activity factor:
- If you are sedentary (little or no exercise) : BMR x 1.2
- If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week) : BMR x 1.375
- If you are moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) : BMR x 1.55
- If you are very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week) : BMR x 1.725
- If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports and physical job or 2x training) : BMR x 1.9