Most food labels and diets refer to the “Percent of Daily Values.” That percent is based on an average person eating 2,000 calories per day. However, no one is average! Height, weight, age, gender, and level of physical activity play a role in maintaining, losing, and gaining weight.
We can measure how much we need with the Harris-Benedict equation. First, we need to calculate our Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), the minimum number of calories that our body needs for fundamental body activity like digesting, breathing, and keeping the body temperature steady over a 24 hour period.
Men: BMR= 66.47 + (6.24 ⨉ weight in pounds) + (12.7 ⨉ height in inches ) − (6.755 ⨉ age in years).
Women: BMR = 655.1 + (4.35 ⨉ weight in pounds) + (4.7 ⨉ height in inches) − (4.7 ⨉ age in years).
After calculating our BMR, we will apply an activity factor to determine our total daily energy expenditure - calories we use up in a day. This is the Harris-Benedict equation:
Sedentary: BMR x 1.2
***little or no exercise
Light active: BMR x 1.375
***Light exercise/sports 1-3 days a week
Moderately activity: BMR x 1.55
***moderate exercise/ sports 3-5 days a week
Very Active: BMR x1.725
***strenuous exercise/sports 6-7 days a week
Now that we have our Harris Benedict Calculation, we can determine the number of calories to
eat if we want to keep our body weight, add weight, or lose weight. A 250 calorie reduction per day will yield around 1/2 pound loss per week, and a 250 calorie addition per day will add approximately 1/2 pound per week.
Now that we have the formula, we must understand that losing weight too quickly and gaining weight too fast is not beneficial in the long run. According to many experts, losing and gaining 1–2 pounds per week is a healthy and safe rate.
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