When it comes to losing body fat, one of the most important things to consider is your caloric intake. Consuming fewer calories than you burn is essential to creating a calorie deficit, which is necessary for fat loss. However, determining your caloric needs can be a bit tricky. In this article, we’ll go over some methods you can use to figure out how many calories you need to promote body fat loss.
Method 1: Calculate Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the number of calories your body burns at rest to maintain vital functions such as breathing, circulation, and cell production. To calculate your BMR, you can use an online calculator or the following formula:
BMR (men) = 88.362 + (13.397 x weight in kg) + (4.799 x height in cm) – (5.677 x age in years) BMR (women) = 447.593 + (9.247 x weight in kg) + (3.098 x height in cm) – (4.330 x age in years)
Once you have calculated your BMR, you can multiply it by an activity factor to determine your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). The activity factor takes into account how much physical activity you do on a daily basis. Here are the activity factors you can use:
- Sedentary (little or no exercise) = BMR x 1.2
- Lightly active (light exercise or sports 1-3 days a week) = BMR x 1.375
- Moderately active (moderate exercise or sports 3-5 days a week) = BMR x 1.55
- Very active (hard exercise or sports 6-7 days a week) = BMR x 1.725
- Extra active (very hard exercise or sports, physical job or training twice a day) = BMR x 1.9
For example, if your BMR is 1500 calories and you are moderately active, your TDEE would be 2325 calories (1500 x 1.55). To promote body fat loss, you would need to consume fewer calories than your TDEE. A safe deficit is usually 500-1000 calories per day.
Method 2: Use a Body Fat Percentage Calculator
Another way to determine your caloric needs is to use a body fat percentage calculator. This method takes into account your body composition, which can affect your metabolic rate. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest.
You can use an online calculator or have your body fat percentage measured by a professional. Once you have your body fat percentage, you can use the following formula to calculate your lean body mass (LBM):
LBM = body weight – (body weight x body fat percentage)
Once you have your LBM, you can multiply it by a factor to determine your daily caloric needs. Here are the factors you can use:
- Sedentary (little or no exercise) = LBM x 14-16 calories
- Lightly active (light exercise or sports 1-3 days a week) = LBM x 16-18 calories
- Moderately active (moderate exercise or sports 3-5 days a week) = LBM x 18-20 calories
- Very active (hard exercise or sports 6-7 days a week) = LBM x 20-22 calories
- Extra active (very hard exercise or sports, physical job or training twice a day) = LBM x 22-24 calories
For example, if you weigh 150 pounds with a body fat percentage of 20%, your LBM would be 120 pounds (150 – (150 x 0.2)). If you are moderately active, your daily caloric needs would be between 2160 and 2400 calories (120 x 18-20). To promote body fat loss, you would need to consume fewer calories than your daily caloric needs.
Determining your caloric needs can be a bit of trial and error, but using one of these methods can help you get a good estimate. Remember that creating a calorie deficit is essential for body fat loss, but be sure to do it in a safe and sustainable way. Consult a healthcare professional if you have any concerns or questions.