It Really IS a Numbers Game…Here Are the Rules!

This is maybe the BIGGEST and most HELPFUL info that I can give you. Losing weight is really just one big math equation. The issue is that most people go into the game not knowing the rules! How can you expect to win (or lose) if you don’t know how to play…duh, you can’t! You’re setting yourself up to fail. So, I’m going to lay it out for you. Now, don’t get discouraged by all the numbers (ask anyone who knows me personally, math is SO not my thing…but Calories I get! TRUST…I’ll make it easy.)

The Basics

What is a Calorie? A Calorie is a unit of energy. It’s the energy that it takes to raise 1 kilogram of water one degree Celcius (that’s as technical as I’m gonna get. You can let that tidbit fly outta your brain now. I just wanted you to know) Takeaway is that a Calories is ENERGY! To lose one pound of fat you need to burn 3500 Calories. (I’ll get back to this in a minute.) We need some other numbers first before this will number will begin to make sense.

BMR: The amount of calories your body burns in a day (without any movement, just to breath, sleep, perform bodily functions) is your Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR. To calculate it you can do the math (below) or (pick this one!) click HERE

BMR Formula for Women: BMR = 655 + ( 4.35 x weight in pounds ) + ( 4.7 x height in inches ) – ( 4.7 x age in years )BMR Formula forMen: BMR = 66 + ( 6.23 x weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) – ( 6.8 x age in year )Now our friends Harris & Benedict gave us a formula based on activity level to determine how many calories we need per day to MAINTAIN, NOTE I said MAINTAIN weight. This is an easy one to do so I’m just going to give it to you. Check out what your activity level is and multiply your BMR accordingly. If you have any doubt on what your activity level is I tend to err on the lower side of activity.Harris-Benedict Formula: To determine your total daily calorie needs, multiply your BMR by the appropriate activity factor, as follows:

If you are sedentary (little or no exercise) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.2

If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.375

If you are moderatetely active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.55

If you are very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.725

If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.9

I’ll use me as a demo. I’m 5’1” 124 lbs and a 33 year old female. My BMR is 1320. My activity level is “very active”. I take my BMR (1320) x 1.725 = 2277 Calories

This number 2277 is the number of Calories I need per day to (again) MAINTAIN my weight. As I said in the beginning, one pound of fat is 3500 Calories. This is where the REAL trick comes into play and why a 1-2 lb/week weight loss is the way to go. in order to lose per week I would need to decrease my Caloric intake by 500 Calories per day (1777 Cal). If I’m shooting for a 2 lb weight loss per week it would need to be 1,000 less per day (2 lbs is 7,000 Calories) or 1277 Cal. Is this starting to make sense?

Now with my exercise already “very active” how would I (or you) decrease my Calorie input (since my output is already high)? Controlling portion size is a HUGE factor. Especially when eating out portion sizes are, in most cases, far too large. To get an idea of per serving sizes you can start to measure your food. Whole foods, unprocessed, natural foods have far less Calories, but no food label! How do you find out how many Calories are in fruits and veggies? To find that answer I love the site it’s totally FREE. You can look up nearly any food you want based on amount, size really they give you a lot of options on how to judge your portion size.

Now, it’s  a bonus if you’re not currently active (well, you know what I mean) YOU get the benefit of being able to increase your physical output (jumping up a level on the H-B chart) and at the same time decreasing your calorie intake allowing the process to seemingly happen faster!

As I tell my clients, it’s really all about food. The amount of calories you can take in in one meal FAR surpass the amount of calories you can burn in a workout. Being mindful of what you’re eating, focusing on your goals and creating healthful habits like staying hydrated (for sure an upcoming blog topic), make a BIG difference. Now you know your number you can set realistic goals for yourself.

You go withcha bad self! Set those goals realistically so you can be your proudest and FIERCEST self yet this 2012!




7 thoughts on “It Really IS a Numbers Game…Here Are the Rules!

  1. Quite often I hear that it is possible to increase one’s metabolism or that one’s metabolism slows down. I was wondering if you might be able to explain what that means (i.e. to increase or decrease your metabolism), and what are some ways of increasing one’s metabolism (such as eating less but more frequently)?

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    • Thanks for the post – it was extremely informative and helpful. Sometimes things are easier said than done, but I hope to implement a few of the suggestions you listed on the post. It seems like the daily dosage of water is something that should be like number one on my priority list. I also like the suggestion of adding some spicy elements to foods and definitely getting more sleep. Thanks for the quick response,

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