Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Daily Caloric Intake and Breakdown for Weight-Loss

                If you’re in to fitness and nutrition for weight-loss (and let’s face it, most of us are) it can be hard to figure out the right balance of exercising and nutritional proportions. By nutritional proportions I mean how much of carbs, protein, and fats should make up your diet. We know that with exercise it’s a basic calories in verses calories out concept. Burn more calories than you eat during the day and you see weight-loss. But sometimes it’s hard to get the right amount of calories and you end up eating too much. There’s a simple formula that customizes your calories and breaks them down into calories from carbs, protein, and fats.
                Each day, you should break down your calories into the three categories I’ve just mentioned; carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Don’t freak out at the words carbs and fats. They’re good for you in the right amounts. Carbohydrates (CHO) should be 60% of your daily calories. I’m not talking cakes and cookies; I’m talking whole-grain breads, pastas, and cereals. You need carbs to give your body energy. As long as you are eating the right types, carbohydrates are good for you and very necessary. 25% of your calories need to come from fats. This seems like a lot but once you get eating it’s tricky to keep it down to 25%. Remember that high fat foods are not necessarily bad if the fat is unsaturated. It’s saturated fats you need to cut back on. Never eat anything with trans fats if you can help it. These fats are unnatural and are worse for you than saturated fats. Check back for an article on trans fats later. The last 15% of your daily caloric intake should come from proteins. Proteins are important for giving you more lasting energy and for help in building muscle which helps us burn fat.
                To maintain your body weight you need to consume 15 calories (kcals) per pound. Let’s say I’m a 150lb. female and I want to maintain my body weight. My calculations would be as follows:

150lbs. x 15 kcals = 2250 kcals per day

                Again this is to maintain body weight and is not formulated for weight-loss yet. From here we need to divide those calories up into 60% carbs, 25% fats, and 15% proteins.

2250 kcals x .6 (for 60%) = 1350 kcals
2250 kcals x .25 = 562.5 kcals
2250 kcals x .15 = 337.5 kcals

Check your math by adding them all back up to get to 2250 kcals. 1350+562.5+337.5=2250

                As a 150lb. female I would need to consume a total of 2250 calories per day to maintain my current body weight, 1350 from carbohydrates, 562.5 from fats, and 337.5 from proteins.
                Now if I wanted to lose weight, I would run these same calculations but with less total calories. To safely lose weight we can’t cut back on large amounts of calories. At this point it would be safest to cut back to 2000 calories or maybe even 1750. Remember that you have a resting metabolic rate which is the amount of energy you use at rest. This burns a huge number of calories at rest. You need calories to keep your body functioning so cutting back on too many calories can hurt your resting metabolic rate. A lot of people disagree on how low in your calories you should go, but I think just to be safe you should never go below 1500 calories per day to avoid causing any harm to your body.

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