After my last video on Taste and changing your body, I had a couple of people ask me how to accurately work out how many calories you need. Read below for the answer or to watch the video
It is not overly difficult to work out your calorie needs. Most people try to use an App such as My Fitness Pal or use the data from Fit Bit, a Apple watch or Garmin type device. There all have major limitations. This is because the amount of calories your body needs has so many factors influencing it. These include –
– How big a bodied person you are in general, e.g. a tall guy will burn more calories than a short woman.
– How much movement you do in life, e.g. steps, a postman would walk much further than an office worker.
– How much exercise you do, e.g. running, lifting weights etc,
-Your body weight, e.g. you burn more calories when you are heavier from moving the excess weight around than when you are lighter.
-The strength of your metabolism – This varies between people.
-You recent calorie intake; weeks of dieting slows your metabolism and prolonged overeating increases it.
-The temperature you are exposed to, e.g. you would burn more calories if you work outside during the winter than in a warm office.
-Other Factors – Various other influences include how much you think, e.g. solving problems burns more cals than watching TV, the time spent sleeping, the stage of your monthly cycle and various other factors.
Due to the factors involved the calorie estimators on the web, phone apps or watches only give a very general estimate.
The complexity of the body means there is no strict calorie number that is 100% exact every day. E.g. you cannot say my calorie needs are 1745 cals, therefore I gain fat at 1746 calories and lose at 1744. Instead, it is more prudent to think about your rolling 7 day average of food intake, this gives fairly predictable data when your movement is constant. There are three main thresholds you would want to know for long term success. These are your fat gaining threshold, your optimal fat loss zone and your under eating threshold where even though you are losing body fat it is too difficult or intense to stick to.
The most accurate practical method to discover these is to measure your food intake and movement for a week and notice what changes happen, e.g. body fat, hunger, energy etc. Where body fat shows itself in clothes, how you look in the mirror etc. You are looking to see changes, you must look across the body for this. Only looking at your stomach can miss significant fat loss elsewhere. The weighing scales are not very helpful to determine if fat is lost due to their variability. You should note also your hunger and energy levels to give a clue about what that food intake level is giving you.
Based on your results you can change your food intake amount for another week and compare the changes to your body once more, e.g. reduce your intake by 150 calories a day and see what happens. Through trial and error you will determine your calorie thresholds fairly quickly which usually stay pretty constant for the life. It is therefore worth investing the time to find them out.
Photo – Watch the video here>>>
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