Once you have estimated your total daily caloric expenditure, you can accurately calculate how many calories you need to eat and how much exercise you need to do every day to maintain, gain or lose weight to meet your healthy weight goals. Here, I’m going to give you the non-technical – best guess estimate - method of calculating your daily caloric expenditure.
The Best Guess Method
For every pound of body weight you carry, your body burns about 10 calories each day. Therefore, a person weighing 130 lbs would need to take in at least 1,300 calories (130 x 10 = 1,300) every day, just to meet their body’s basic needs. After you figure out your most basic caloric need, you can factor in your activity level, and digestion needs, which will get you even closer to the real number of calories that your body uses every day to support your regular activities.
- To find out your basic BMR, take your body weight in pounds and multiply this by 10. Let’s use an example of a person weighing 130 pounds:
Example: 130 lbs x 10 calories/lb = 1,300 calories
- To factor in the amount of activity you do in a regular day, take the above number and multiply it by your Activity Level (see below):
- To factor in calories used during Digestion, which is estimated at 10% for the general population, take the last number you calculated (your BMR + activity level) and add 10% of that number to your total:
Therefore, this 130 pound person burns an average of 1,859 calories every day to support their body’s most basic needs, activity level and digestion of food.
- Don’t believe the hype you see on TV about the “fit” individual being touted on an advertisement using some gimmicky new exercise equipment guaranteed to make you look like a movie star in only 10 minutes a day. You may not have the same genetic composition or the time or the professional trainer to make you look like that “model” on TV.
- Body composition in itself will not complete your fitness picture. Jim Fixx, who wrote the bestselling book, The Complete Book of Running, and an avid runner, died of heart attack in 1984. He scumble while running due to a pre-existing genetic condition he wasn’t aware of. Fixx believed that exercising alone would keep him healthy. Get regular checkups!