How Many Calories Do YOU Need? (TDEE/BMR Explained Easily)

How Many Calories Do YOU Need? (TDEE/BMR Explained Easily)

Previously, I talked about Counting Calories and explained why you would want to do so.

In that post I shared a photo of a calorie calculator that estimated my daily caloric need.

I figure this is the next logical step for anyone wanting to manage their weight.

In this post you’ll learn the following

  • The concept of your “BMR”
  • Your Caloric Intake based on activity (TDEE)
  • Typical “rule of thumb” for weight loss/ weight gain

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): Your Minimum Calories Needed.

Woman eating low calorie salad

Our body NEEDS fuel for it to function.

You CAN use stored fat and muscle as a source of energy for a little while.

HOWEVER; that approach will lead to a LOT of problems overtime.

To prevent any problems from happening, we get our fuel by consuming foods.

We know from my previous post that we use calories to measure energy.

How much energy we need depends on a few factors.

To get a general idea of our minimum amount of calories, we need to calculate our “BMR.”

BMR refers to “Basal Metabolic Rate.”

Which just means how much energy we use in a period of time when we do nothing.

I mean LITERALLY nothing, no shivering, sweating, or digesting food, just existing.

If we are starved of energy for too long, our basic functions will deteriorate.

(Calculating BMR…. which formula to choose from?)

A standard overview of BMR looks at JUST these four.

  1. Body Mass
  2. Height
  3. Age
  4. Sex

This general overview is called the “Harris-Benedict” Equation.

Below is a chart outlining the maths behind it, followed by my “calculated‘ BMR.

(Don’t worry it’s in LBS not KG)

Formula (Men)BMR = 66 + (6.2 × weight in pounds )+ (12.7 × height in inches ) ( 6.76 × age in years )
Formula (Women)BMR = 655 + (4.35 × weight in pounds ) + ( 4.7 × height in inches )( 4.7 × age in years )
Example Formula (For Me)BMR = 66 + (6.2 x 152)+ (12.7 * 66)– (6.76 *24)
My Calculated BMR66+ (942) = 1008.4+ 838.2 = 1846.– 162.24 = 1684
Using PEMDAS, We see that my BMR was calculated to be 1684 Calories

Incase you are wondering “Doesn’t muscle burn more calories than fat? How is weight/mass accurate??”

Great question!

It’s only kind of close to your true BMR!

There are more accurate formulas specifically for BMR based around body fat % (like the Katch-McArdle) but I wanted to outline just ONE to pose the question.

most online calculators are MORE accurate than the above. Further, that is a rough estimate.

If you use your BMR for ANYTHING DIET related, make sure it is only a reference for HOW LOW your restriction of calories should go.

Also, I would say it’s a decent idea to round up to the nearest hundred just to err in the side of caution.

TDEE And Why Your Calories Are Higher than The BMR

Outside of the minimum amount of calories varying per person, people’s CHOICES vary!

With that in mind we need to focus on TDEE.

TDEE stands for “Total Daily Energy Expenditure.”

Pretty much it means how much energy you use in a day.

This means any activity that needs energy like sitting, digesting food, exercising, breathing… everything!

You take the calories from ALL of your daily activities and then add it to your BMR.

Although, that may sound hard to put numbers too. Finding your TDEE is very simple!

Most places will generalize typical day-to day activities and include varying levels of exercise.

Based on your activity level the calories demanded go up or down.

TDEECalculator has a great tool where you just plug in your info and get results FAST.

Calories needed for activity level chart
Here we can see that I only burn another 345 calories if I do nothing all day but go to work.

In Conclusion

Now that we understand each concept we can begin to make INFORMED decisions for weight management.

Counting calories and being in a deficit from your BMR should be AVOIDED as that is TOO LOW.

Being in as slight deficit or surplus of calories from your TDEE will result in loss/gain of weight depending on your goals.

In the coming months, We’ll talk about macronutrients, aka “Macros'” and their role in weight management.

Until Next Time, Toodles!

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