Need to lose some body fat? Here’s how to get started:
Step 1: Calculate Your RMR
Start with an equation to “ballpark” the number of calories you should be consuming daily. These equations aren’t 100 percent accurate, but they’re a good starting point.
The Mifflin-St Jeor equation to calculate resting metabolic rate (RMR) has been reported to be more accurate and is newer than some of the other ones out there. Here it is:
- Men: (10 × weight in kg) + (6.25 × height in cm) – (5 × age in years) + 5
- Women: (10 × weight in kg) + (6.25 × height in cm) – (5 × age in years) – 161
If you don’t want to do the math, there are plenty of online calculators that’ll do it for you.
Step 2: Factor in Your Activity
Once you have your RMR you need to multiply your result by an activity factor to get a rough idea of how many calories you burn in a day. Here are the defined activity factors for the Mifflin-St Jeor equation:
|x 1.2||Sedentary||Little to no exercise|
|x 1.375||Light Activity||Light exercise/sports 1-3 days per week|
|x 1.55||Moderate Activity||Moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days per week|
|x 1.725||Very Active||Hard exercise/sports 6-7 days per week|
|x 1.9||Extra Active||Very hard exercise/sports and physical job|
Step 3: Subtract Just the Right Number of Calories
After you have an idea of your maintenance calories, calculating your calories for fat loss can be as simple as subtracting 250 for a theoretical half pound of fat loss per week, or subtracting 500 for a theoretical loss of one pound per week.
I say “theoretical” because this equation isn’t exact. And as TC Luoma points out, calorie counts on food labels can also be BS. Still, it’s a decent place to start.