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Estimating Your Daily Caloric Needs

A man holding food

Knowing the number of calories you need and expend each day is important in weight management. There are more precise formulas than what is presented and there are electronic devices that are available to easily and accurately assist in data collection. Knowledge and understanding of the factors that are involved and how each weighs in reaching one’s target can help in obtaining a goal, usurping exactness  – “ When you know better you do better.” The following is information that can be used to coach or teach those who wish to adjust their body weight.


A Simple Method Of Estimating Your Daily Caloric Needs

Type of Activity                                                Cal per lb. per hr.

At Rest during the day                                                      0.23
(very little walking or standing)
Very light exercise                                                             0.27
(studying, standing, some walking)
Light exercise                                                                    0.36
(typing, lab type work, walking)
Moderate exercise                                                             0.50
(working, coaching)                           
Exercise                                                                              0.77
(outdoor games, dancing, movement little sitting)  
Heavy exercise                                                                   1.09
(sports, aerobics, fitness activities)


Weigh yourself

Basal Metabolism or Basal Metabolic Rate, is the amount of calories needed at rest to maintain the body’s basic functions.  The simplest way to quickly estimate BMR is 1 calorie x body weight in kilograms x 24 hrs.
Example: 1 cal x 100 kg x 24 hrs = 2400 cal/24 hrs


Keep a diary of a typical day

Use the above table to decide which category you belong in during each hour of the day.  Calculate your calorie needs for a typical day.

Daily example:
8 hrs sleep savings                      0.10  x 100 kg  x 8 hrs      =  – 80
1 hr getting ready for work         0.27  x 220 lbs x 1 hr        =     59
10 mins walk to work                 0.36  x 220 lbs x 1/6 hr     =    13
4 hrs light exercise                    0.36  x 220 lbs x 4 hrs      =   317
20 min lunch                               0.27  x 220 lbs x 1/3 hr     =     20
4 hrs work                                  0.50   x 220 lbs x 4 hrs      =   440
30 mins weight train                 1.09  x 220 lbs x 1/2 hr      =   120
30 mins run                                1.09   x 220 lbs.x 1/2 hr     =   120
10 mins walk home                   0.36   x  220 lbs x 1/6 hr    =     13
3 hrs stuff                                  0.36  x 220 lbs x 3 hrs       =   238       
2 1/3 hrs it’s casual                 0.23  x 220 lbs x 2 1/3 hrs  =   118

                                                                                 Subtotal  = 1,458
                                                                        Sleep savings  =   – 80 
                                                                                       Total  = 1,378


Add calories for activity to basal metabolism

Calories for activity                                                                = 1,378
Basal metabolism for 24 hrs                                                 = 2,400
                                                                                     Total    =  3,778


Add calories for influence of food  (10% of total)

Example:   3778 x .10 = 378 

Calories for Food utilization                                                  =   378                                             
Basal metabolism & daily activity                                        = 3778                                                        
Estimation calories for day                                        Total  = 4,156 


Burning a pound of fat                           

To burn a pound of fat you must burn about 3,500 calories.  Burning 500 calories per day means you would lose 1 pound of fat per week.

Estimation calories for day                                                   = 4,156 
Calories to remove a pound of fat in 1 week                       =  – 500
New Estimate of daily food intake                                       = 3,650

A pound may not seem like much but remember there are 52 weeks in a year.

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