Deciding on your daily calorie intake plays a major role in how effectively you lose weight. If you eat too many calories, you won’t lose any weight. If you eat too few, you body’s metabolism will slow down, and as a result, try to hold onto more of the calories you ingest.
To decide the amount of calories to eat each day, it is best to start with your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). As reminder, your BMR is the minimum amount of food energy that you need to digest to preserve your present state if you were to lie motionless all day.
Given this fact, any movement you make, no matter how small, will result in fat being burned. This of course is exactly what you need to do to lose weight. Moreover, when you include any type of exercise into your daily activities, the faster you will burn the fat.
Why Use Your BMR?
Some might think that it is needless to use your Basal Metabolic Rate as a guide for controlling your daily calories. It’s just as easy to limit yourself to 1200 to 1500 calories a day. This would be fine if we were all the same. However, this one size fits all mentality of dieting may work for some, but for the majority they will need something more that fits closer to their lifestyle.
For instance, the BMR for a 5 ft 5 in 25 year old female weighing 170 pounds is 1582 Calories. However, for a male of the same height and weight, his BMR is 1780 Calories. So if both were to go on a diet eating only 1500 Calories a day, the male should lose more weight since he is further from his BMR.
So, you see, by using your BMR, you can obtain a better estimate of how many calories you need to eat each day to lose weight, which helps to take the guess work out of deciding how many calories to eat. Plus, you can also use it as a guide to determine how fast to lose the weight as well.
Should your daily caloric intake stay at your BMR?
Given that consuming the calories derived from your BMR will allow you to lose weight, it is a good place to start your diet. However, you can go below your BMR calorie intake to burn fat faster. The only precaution that you need to take is to make sure you don’t let your body enter into starvation mode.
Since everyone metabolism is different, there is no set point at which you know for certain you are in starvation mode. However, it is generally accepted that as long as you are getting at least 1200 calories a day, you should be OK.
Once you have gone for a week dieting at your BMR, you can assess your weight to see if you need to add calories to slow down the pace, or subtract calories to lose more quickly.
Also, since your BMR changes with your weight, the value you get a month from now will be different then the value you get for today, if during that time you lost say 10 pounds. By taking into account this changing value, you can adjust your calorie intake accordingly and avoid getting into a weight loss plateau.
Calculate Your Basal Metabolic Rate
To calculate your BMR to control your daily calories, you can use this BMR calculator. Remember, however, that this is only a guide to determine your calorie intake. After a week, assess your progress and make whatever changes are necessary.