Tuesday, July 17, 2007

How Many Calories? (Tuesday: Tips & Tools)

I have long heard the idea that we must all have a certain number of calories a day (usually 1200 or more for women, 1500 or more for men) to prevent going into starvation mode. I am just not sure that is the same number for everyone.

I am, it turns out, a little person. (Who knew?)

When I go to The Daily Plate Calorie Calculator and type in my age, height, and weight, then select the setting to lose a standard 2 lbs. per week, the program tells me that I would need to eat 687 calories a day to achieve that.

When I go to FitWatch.com and use the standard Harris Benedict BMR (basal metabolic rate) equation to tell me how how many calories a day I will need to maintain my weight at goal, it generates a number of 1199 calories per day to maintain my body at rest.

That is usually how they calculate how many calories to give to someone in a coma.

My only offset option is to add activity and exercise, which I do. If I burn 400 more, I can eat 400 more, but the underlying physiological equation remains.

I think a great deal of what an individual needs will depend upon individual variables, like muscle mass and activity levels. Other things like thyroid function and so on are also personal variables. It seems that a given individual might actually use 10% to 30% more or fewer calories, depending on those factors.

A good rule of thumb for dieters is to start at the calorie level of your calculated BMR, adding in moderate exercise as able. After a while, you can see for yourself if that is an accurate level for you.


Diane said...

I coudn't agree with you more Becky! After nearly a year of less than 1,000 calories per day, with the last 6 months averaging 600-700 per day or less, my metabolism's in GREAT shape and I continue to lose weight! And without hitting those "plateaus" you hear about on other diets. The only time I don't lose weight consistently, week after week, is because I have "overindulged." After all the many diets I've tried in my lifetime, I am absolutely, positively convinced that "less is best!"

Becky said...

Hi, Diane! How good to hear from my Camp Kimkins buddy!

You know, when I was sitting around depressed, eating myself to death, watching my weight drift higher and higher, I never would have believed I could ever feel this good or be this active again, ever ---let alone at this calorie level. Yet, here we are, both slimming down and feeling better than we have in ages! For a couple of middle-aged shorties, we're not doing too badly!

Maybe I can put your before and after shots in here sometime. Your success has been amazing!

Thanks for stopping by my blog.