Calories and Fingerprints. What do they have in common? Well, no two people have the same fingerprint. They may be similar but not identical. The same goes for calorie intake. Not everyone needs the same amount of calories. If you have a job that is labor intensive, such as a construction worker, you would need more calories than someone who sits at a desk for eight hours. If each of these individuals said they wanted to lose weight, would you tell both of them to eat the same amount of calories? Some people need more calories than others. How do you figure out how many calories are right for you?
When I started my weight loss journey in 2011, my goal was to eat 1,500 calories a day. I am only speaking for myself, but I was always hungry, tired and irritated. One day I was listening to a podcast called fat2fitradio and the co-hosts were talking about your BMR. (As of today’s date they are not recording new episodes) I thought, what’s a BMR? It’s your Basal Metabolic Rate. Your body needs calories to function. Even if all you did all day was lay in bed, your body still needs calories to keep you alive. The minimum amount of calories your body needs to sustain you is called your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). There are Basal Metabolic Calculators on the internet that you can use to get an estimate of your caloric intake. You are generally asked your height, current weight, goal weight, your gender and age. Here is the link to the one I use on fat2fitradio. When I initially input my information and said I wanted to lose 100 pounds, this is the message I got:
Your goal calorie level is below your current BMR. Consider revising your goal weight to an intermediate weight. That way you are never eating below your BMR. When you reach that intermediate goal weight, readjust your calories and head for your ultimate goal.”
This message meant I should adjust my weight loss goal so I wouldn't be eating below my Basal Metabolic Rate. Then I told the calculator I wanted to lose 20 pounds. It showed me the minimum calories I needed. Then I looked at the chart that had the calorie recommendations for my activity level. You don’t have to eat the highest amount of calories for your activity level. I will warn you, you may gain some weight initially if you have been eating a lower calorie food plan. When I decided to begin eating more calories I increased it in 200 calorie increments every few weeks. I wanted to see how my body responded to the extra calories. I noticed I wasn’t as hungry, I wasn’t tired and I wasn’t cranky anymore. When I lost 5 pounds I would go back to the calculator to see if I needed to adjust my caloric intake. As I lost weight, I could tell I didn't need as much food as I did before. As of today, I eat from 1,800 to 2,000 calories depending on my activity level for the day.
Learning about the Basal Metabolic Rate is what helped me finally find a way to gage how much food I needed for my body. Your numbers will be different. There may be a trial and error period until you figure out what your body needs. Remember this is for a lifetime, not a short time. Always check with your doctor before doing any type of weight loss program or exercise program.
“Take steps to ensure success that last a lifetime,
not just a short time.”