If you are trying to watch your body weight a little and stop it creeping up (especially now Christmas is almost here!), keeping track of your total calorie intake and expenditure is very important.

You all know that if an individual eats more calories than he or she burns each day, weight gain will happen.  If more calories are burned than consumed daily, weight loss is achieved.  So knowing how many calories your body needs each day is the first step to managing your weight in a healthy, achievable way.

Your daily caloric requirement is based on:

Your resting metabolic rate (RMR)
Your daily physical activity
Thermogensis (calories required for heat production)

RMR is the total amount of energy expended (measured in calories) by the body during quiet rest.  This makes up between 60-80% of the total calories used daily.  Physical activity is the second largest factor of daily calorie requirements.  This is very variable though as it depends on the frequency, intensity and duration of your workouts.  Thermogenesis, also known as the thermic effect of food, is the smallest component.  This refers to the amount of calories needed to digest and absorb the food we consume.  While some diets claim to enhance this component (like food combining) there is no evidence to suggest this is the case.

By estimating your RMR and physical activity levels you can work out how many calories you need each day to manage your weight.  The BMR calculator on the Fit 4 Mum website will give you a general caloric goal that, if you consistently achieve, will help prevent weight gain.

If you want to take it a step further and achieve weight loss, you must increase your exercise levels and therefore your calorie expenditure.

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