Understanding the number of calories you need to consume to maintain your weight, can be a good first step towards creating your weight loss plan. The number of calories required to maintain your weight depends on a variety of factors including your age, your height, your current weight, and your daily activity levels.
Here are the steps to calculate the number of calories you need to maintain your weight.
Steps to Calculate the Number of Calories to Maintain Weight
Calculate Your Basal Metabolic Rate
The basal metabolic rate is the amount of energy consumed by a human being if he does not perform any conscious activity throughout the day. Essentially, this is the amount of energy your body needs to function – even when you are at rest. Your basal metabolic rate depends on your weight, height, age and sex.
The basal metabolic rate for a man is 10*a + 6.25*b – 5*c + 5. The basal metabolic rate for a woman is 10*a + 6.25*b – 5*c – 161.
Here, a, b and c represent weight, height and age respectively. The weight should be mentioned in kilograms, the height in centimeters and the age in years. The basal metabolic rate obtained is in kilo calories or Calories (the ‘c’ is capitalized to indicate that kilo calories are being talked about).
A Sample BMR Calculation
To consider an example, let us calculate the basal metabolic rate (BMR) of a 50 year old woman who has a height of 160 centimeters and a weight of 60 kg. In the above formula, ‘a’ should be 60, ‘b’ should be 160 and ‘c’ should be 50. The BMR value comes out to be 1189 kilo calories.
We can consider another example of a 25 year old man who has a height of 175 centimeters and a weight of 80 kg. In the above formula, ‘a’ should be 80, ‘b’ should 175 and ‘c’ should be 25. The BMR value comes out to be 1773.75 kilo calories. What these calculations mean is that if the woman mentioned above and the man mentioned above are at rest throughout the day, then the values obtained represent the kilo calories they will require every day to maintain their body weight.
Calculate Your Activity Factor
The next step in calculating the number of calories required to maintain your body weight is to calculate a special value called the ‘activity factor’. The activity factor gives you an idea of how much energy you generally spend during your day, over and above your basal metabolic rate. It basically stands for your current daily activity level. If you enjoy a very sedentary lifestyle and hardly move around during the day, count your activity factor as 1.2.
If on the other hand, you do move around quite a bit during your day but do not exercise much (or exercise only once a week), then your activity factor should be 1.3. If you move around and exercise lightly everyday of the week (or almost everyday), your activity factor should be 1.4. If you exercise intensely on a daily basis, then count your activity factor as 1.5. If you are an athlete who is training extremely hard for a sports event, then your activity factor should be 1.6.
Multiply Your BMR With Your Activity Factor
Based on your weight, height, sex, age and activity level, you can thus, figure out your basal metabolic rate and your activity factor. Multiply these two values to obtain the number of kilo calories you need to consume everyday to maintain your current weight.
Let us consider the examples of the 60 kg woman and the 80 kg man we talked about above, once again. We found out that the basal metabolic rate of the 25 year old man who had a height of 175 centimeters and a weight of 80 kg was 1773.75 kilo calories. Let us say this man plays tennis everyday for around half an hour. We can consider his activity factor to be 1.4. Multiplying the two values, we get the value 2483.25. This is the number of kilo calories the man needs to consume everyday to maintain his body weight.
Let us perform the same calculations for the 50 year old woman now. The basal metabolic rate of the woman was 1189 kilo calories. Let us say this woman has a sedentary lifestyle, but she goes for a walk everyday for around 20-30 minutes. We can approximate this woman’s activity factor as 1.3. Multiplying the two values, we get 1545.7 kilo calories. This is the number of kilo calories this woman needs to consume daily to maintain her weight.
Calculate Your Own Calorie Requirement
As you can see, calculating the number of kilo calories you need to consume to maintain your weight is very easy. You just need to put in specific values for your weight, height, age etc, to obtain the number of kilo calories required.
An important advantage of calculating the number of kilo calories required to maintain your weight, is that you can then know how many calories you need to consume to start losing weight, and how many you need to consume to start gaining weight. You can also track your current calorie consumption to see whether you are moving towards a higher or lower weight.
All the best towards your weight losing efforts!