Counting calories

3 Feb

Technically, when dieting down you are supposed to calculate the amount of calories you burn on a daily basis (i.e., caloric expenditure) and come up with a daily caloric requirement. This helps you set a baseline in the beginning and develop your program for maximum results. Here’s the formula:

BMR requirement + Physical activity requirement  = Total daily caloric requirement.

If you want to get really fancy, you can add in your SDE, or specific dynamic effect, which is the engery produced by your body to digest, aborb and metabolize food. SDE = (BMR requirement + Physical activity requirment)* body fat %. SDE is said to increase your caloric expenditure by about 10%, on average.

BMR requirement is equal to 100 calories x lean body mass (LBM= your total weight less your% of body fat). Physical activity requirement is easier to calculate. It is hours in physical activity x calories burned per hour. High intensity training consumes about 600 calories per hour.

If you don’t know what your lean body mass is (or, conversely your body fat percentage so you can calculate your LBM), its difficult to calculate caloric expenditure. I have no idea what my body fat was or is, and although I’ve thought about it, I probably won’t buy a body fat caliper. If I were trying to get on stage, I absolutely would be much more scientific about this process and use these formulas, but since I’m doing this for myself, I consider ignorance to be bliss! (As a side note, body fat % is much more important than total weight and I’m not discounting it at all. I just choose to focus on doing things I know reduce total body fat instead of focusing on the actual number.)

I also do not think it is necessary to calculate caloric intake. We’ve all heard that 3,500 = 1b., so to lose 2 lb/week, you technically need to cut 7,000 calories out of your net caloric intake (caloric intake (from food) – caloric expenditure (using the calculation above)). 7,000 is a daunting number, so forget it. Think about metabolism instead.

The more quickly you metabolize food, the more quickly you are burning calories. So if the goal is to burn more calories, then why count calories? My focus is on kicking up my metabolism, which I do by eating every 2-3 hours, eating a high protein diet, doing cardio and building muscle. I’ve even read that good fats (like olive oil and Omega-3s) help to increase metabolism, increasing your fat burning potential.

In my view, calorie counting is a losing game and not a long-term solution. If you eat good carbs, good fats, lean proteins, and veggies and keep portion sizes inline, there is no reason for it. I think at the end of this process, I will have shown that you can successfully diet without stressing yourself out over BMR requirements, body fat %, and calories.

Til next time…


Watch me do it!

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