T Nation

Calorie Counting?

Ok, so I did a lil google search to figure out how much my daily calorie intake should be, and what I get is 1774 calories to maintain my current weight (120) or 1420 to loose “fat”, as the site puts it.

I go to another page that counts calories burned doing all sorts of activities through the day, and they estimate I burn almost 2291 every day!! what the heck? I’m confused… anyone have reliable calorie counting sources or advice? links below

www.stevenscreek.com/goodies/calories.shtml

www.freedieting.com/tools/calorie_calculator.htm

The most popular formula is probsbly Harris-Benedict. For women it’s:
RMR = 655 + (9.6 * weight in kg) + (1.8 * height in cm) - (4.7 * age in years)

That’s your Resting Metobolic Rate. Multiply that answer by the activity factor:

1.2: sedentary
1.375: lightly active (exercise 1-3 days/wk)
1.55: moderately active (exercise 3-5 days/wk)
1.725: heavy exercise 6-7 days/wk

For a 5’6" woman of 120 lbs at 22 yrs old who exercises 3-5 days/wk (factor of 1.55), I get 1952 kcals/day. Technically, we’re now supposed to add 10% for the TEM (thermic effect of food, or the “cost” of digestion, but I never do).

I almost didn’t reply to this post because the subject has been beaten to death, but hey - its news to you!

  1. No calorie calculator is 100% accurate! (For MANY different reasons)

  2. They only give you a starting point, so you might as well use the simplest formula. (NASA formulas aren’t any better)

  3. Once you have the formula, assuming that you are following the guidelines, monitor your body composition.

  4. Adjust calorie intake accordingly

It is that simple.

PS: That being said, after you’ve counted calories for a little while and you know more or less how much PRO/CHO/FAT/Calories are in what you eat, you could stop counting calories and start making on-the-fly decisions about your daily requirements based on your goals.

I’m assuming those formulas are meant as a starting point?

Try www.fitday.com if you are looking for a way to track and record your intake.

Choose one, start with it, track your progress relative to your goal. Generally (from your low cal feedback on those things I would only make 200 cal changes in the diet) you cut/add some cals, wait 2 weeks and see if any change, if not cut/add more and continue till you see about 1lb change a week.

But everyone is different in how many cals are maintenance you need to play around till you find your level and then adjust relative to where you are.