Calculating Metabolism and Weight Loss

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Metabolism can be measured in a variety of ways, as can the amount of calories we eat, which can make losing weight somewhat simpler. In fact, the amount of calories that should be consumed can be very accurately predicted and applied to anyone’s weight loss strategy. In addition, when it comes to losing weight, there are a variety of helpful tools that can make the difference.

For metabolic rate, the best predictive equation is called the Mifflin St. Jeor and it’s the most accurate and practical way to determine how many calories are necessary for people to eat each day to perform basic functions.

Knowing Your Metabolic Rate Can Help You Determine:

  •   How many calories you need to maintain your weight
  •   How many calories you need to burn each day to lose weight
  •   How many calories you should eat each day to lose weight

Lets do the numbers.

  • Use the calculator below to work out your Base Metabolic Rate and check out the projections report to see how long it will take to lose the weight you want.
Calculate Base Metabolic Rate (BMR)

Once you've worked out your BMR it's easy to set targets and goals around how many calories you need to consume less of each day and or how many calories you need to expend more of each day to achieve your desired weight. You can use the chart below to do the numbers and run some projections on how long it will take based on a percentage of your daily calorie maintenance needs.

Estimated Weight Loss Projections Based on Calorie Deficit Achieved Per Day

For example, the number of calories required to lose 1kg is roughly 7000 calories. Given a BMR of 1800 you could reduce your calorie intake by 250 calories per day and aim to expend an additional 250 calories per day through physical activity and exercise - which would give you a net loss of just over 1kg in two weeks. For a more aggressive weight loss plan and fitness strategy be sure to check out the article on how to expend the most calories in a day .

It's important to note that any weight loss plan should be sustainable over the long term rather than just a quick fix so be sure to check out the best exercise strategies for weight loss and losing weight and keeping it off articles. Looking at the chart above you should aim to reduce your calories by 15-20% below your daily calorie maintenance needs to ensure you're taking a healthy approach to weight loss.

Measuring Body Fat

Body fat too can also be accurately measured through simple means. Since most of us carry our weight in the waist and thigh area, a good way to determine if body fat is being lost is to periodically measure the circumference of the waist and/or thighs. Furthermore, this often may change before a person’s weight changes. If you want to know the exact % of body fat that your body holds, this can be determined through simple handheld devices or through using skin fold calipers. Skin fold calipers measure the density of skin in 3-5 areas to estimate body fat levels and can vary depending on the type of calipers. Some other methods to determine body fat % is by using underwater weighing scales or by using a BodPod device. These may be expensive, but are the most accurate methods available today.

Macronutrient Calculator

Another important calculator for helping with weight loss is a macronutrient calculator. This will help you identify how much fat, carbohydrate and protein should make up each of your meals. Keep in mind that the amount of calories each macronutrient provides will vary. The following table can be used as a reference and guide, to find out the nutritional value and number of calories based on servings. It's especially useful to be aware of these conversions when looking at product packaging and labels.

Calories Per Gram Based On Macronutrient Type

  •   Carbohydrates

    1 gram of carbohydrates is equivalent to 4 calories
  •   Protein

    1 gram of protein is equivalent to 4 calories
  •   Fat

    1 gram of fat is equivalent to 9 calories

As an example a typical soft drink might contain 31 grams of carbohydrates and when we multiply this by 4 calories it gives us around 124 calories. Being aware of these conversions will help you think twice about consuming an item that may be packed with too much fat and or carbohydrates as well as help you become more conscious about your daily eating habits.

Ideal Body Weight

In addition, working out your ideal body weight can help you identify a healthy weight for your height. This can definitely vary person to person by about 10% since some people naturally tend to be slightly heavier or lighter than others. Refer to the tables below to find your ideal body weight range:

Ideal Body Weight for Males
Feet Inches Centimeters Kg - 10% + 10%
Ideal Body Weight for Females
Feet Inches Centimeters Kg - 10% + 10%

Other Ways To Track Calories

Other useful tools are those that show how many calories are expended through exercise. It's important to note that the numbers shown on exercise equipment are sometimes overestimated.

  • In general, each person expends about 100 calories per every mile walked or ran.

Also, most other forms of exercise (yoga, weight training, bike riding, etc.) can also be classified into different areas of light, moderate and intense, helping you estimate how many calories are expended.

Weight loss is not just simply calories in vs. calories out, but it’s still important to look at the numbers side of things. Applying personal data to useful equations like this can illustrate many aspects of weight loss you may not have known before.

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