We count, burn, eat, and fear them… yet we need them! But what are they? We hear so many different things about how many calories to eat per day. But you are unique, therefore the amount of calories you need per day will be different from the next person.
Let’s start off with what a calorie is.
In simple terms, a calorie is a unit of heat energy that helps to fuel our body. The key word here is energy… Calories = Energy! The human body needs calories (a.k.a. energy) to survive. Without this energy we wouldn’t be able to move, our lungs wouldn’t work, and our heart wouldn’t beat. However, not all calories are the same. To ensure long lasting energy, we need calories from whole grains, healthy fats, and protein. Empty calories from soda, candy, processed foods, and other unhealthy foods will leave us feeling tired and even hungrier.
How many calories do you need per day?
In order to find that out you need to know your BMR, which stands for Basal metabolic rate BMR tells us the amount of energy we use daily. (Remember that a calorie is basically just energy!) To put it simply, if you were sitting down all day, not moving you still are using energy to provide for your organs, and your BMR will tell you the minimal amount of calories you need each day. Or simply follow the link to have a computer do it for you! http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/
BMR for Women =
655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + ( 4.7 x height in inches ) – ( 4.7 x age in years )
BMR for Men =
66 + (6.23 x weight pounds) + (12.7 x height inches) – (6.8 x age in years)
For example, if you weigh 120 pounds and are 21 year-old female who is 5’8” (68 inches) you need 1,513 calories per day just to provide proper nutrients to your organs.
When calculating this equation, remember the importance of parentheses or else you may get a different number!
“Do not eat less, eat better” is something many people have heard before. You do not need to skip out on meals in order to loose weight. You need to eat the right types of food, exercise moderately, and the weight will take care of itself. Remember to be getting the correct type of calories! When you stay hydrated with water and eat whole foods such as eggs, lean proteins, healthy fats, fruits & vegetables, and whole grains you will have lasting energy through the day, which will decrease your hunger. When you sip on soda and sugary drinks while eating processes food that contains bad oils and fats, too much sodium, and a bit too many calories you will tend to snack more throughout the day.
Tip: If you are smart phone savy there are many apps that help you keep track of the right type of calories. First:
– Fooducate (free) – you can scan any food’s barcode, or just simply type in the food you want to look up. Each product is automatically graded (A-, B+, C, etc…) by a scientific algorithm based on its nutrition facts and ingredient list. Fooducate recommends minimally processed, real foods, that are naturally rich in nutrients and antioxidants.
– Livestrong Calorie Counter (free)- Experience the power of MyPlate and Livestrong. Access the largest food and fitness database and achieve your goals. Keep track of your calories, protein, water and fat intake, chart your weight, keep track of your workouts and calories burned, and so much more!