How are BMR and weight loss related? Can learning how to calculate your BMR lead to better weight loss results? This post is all about learning how to calculate your BMR to improve your chances of weight loss success.
You’ve made the decision to lose weight. And you’re ready to do the work. You’ve visited the grocery store.
Filled your fridge with healthy food options, signed up for a gym membership, or decided to work out from home. You’re ready to go!
You have a specific goal in mind and want to ensure you achieve it. But you know weight loss can be difficult, so how do you increase your chances of weight loss success?
Learning how to calculate your calories for weight loss can be extremely helpful. It is a tool many use to help fine-tune their weight loss plan.
I also use my BMR to calculate my daily calorie needs when trying to lose weight, which has been extremely helpful. It can really take the guesswork out of how much you should eat, which will help you lose weight much faster.
This post is all about BMR and weight loss and how knowing this number can help you accelerate your weight loss results.
BMR And Weight Loss: What is BMR?
So let’s get a few things out of the way. What is BMR? Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the number of calories (energy) required for normal functioning at rest.
It is essentially the number of calories your body burns to perform the most basic functions. Because when you are doing absolutely nothing, your body is still burning calories.
Why is this?
We all require a specific number of calories daily for our bodies to function correctly and maintain life even at rest. Energy is still needed for vital organs to function or, more specifically, for homeostasis.
Homeostasis is the many processes living organisms use to maintain stable internal conditions necessary for survival.
Simply put, homeostasis ensures that, internally, everything is running as it should to keep us alive.
Some of these vital functions include breathing, heartbeat, blood circulation, digestion, cell production, and maintaining normal body temperature.
So how does knowing our daily calorie needs help with weight loss? Well, it all starts with the following equation.
The weight loss equation
The basic weight loss equation states that you create a calorie deficit when you burn more calories than you consume. And when that deficit equals 3500, you burn a pound of fat. Because one pound of fat is equal to roughly 3500 calories.
So every time this happens, you will lose a pound of fat. To lose weight, you must burn more calories than you take in—period!
BMR And Weight loss
How does BMR affect weight loss?
Knowing your BMR is helpful because it gives you a better understanding of your body and what calories are needed for it to function at the most basic level. So, it’s a starting point and a very important one.
Figuring out your BMR is essential to calculating the calories needed for weight loss. It’s one piece of the puzzle.
Next, we discuss the other puzzle pieces necessary to obtain the calories needed to lose weight.
By now, you might be wondering what is my BMR? And how do I calculate it? So without further ado, let’s get to calculating!
BMR calculator to lose weight
There are numerous options for calculating BMR, but two of the most popular ones are the Harris-Benedict Equation and the Mifflin St Jeor equation. Either will work, but many experts often view the Mifflin St Jeor equation as the most accurate, so we will use this one.
One important thing to note is that these equations provide a reasonable estimate of your BMR—keyword estimate.
Testing would need to occur at a testing facility in a controlled environment for more accurate results. But with that said, this equation is all you need to get started on the right track, as it provides a good estimate.
BMR And Weight Loss: Using The Mifflin-St Jeor Equation
FIRST: The following equation is in kilograms and centimeters, so you will need to do the conversions. You will need to convert your weight into kilograms and your height into centimeters.
For your height: First, convert feet to inches by multiplying your height in feet by 12. Then add any additional inches. For example, if you are 5ft 3 inches, you would multiply 5 (ft.) X 12 + 3 (inches) = 63 inches.
To convert inches into centimeters, multiply by 2.54. Using the above example,
63 (inches) x 2.54 = 160.02 (centimeters)
For your weight: To convert your weight in pounds to kg, you can divide your weight by 2.204622622 or multiply your weight by 0.45359237.
NEXT: There are 2 equations below, one for women and the other for men. Enter your weight, height, and age in the appropriate formula below to calculate your BMR.
For women: (10 × weight in kilograms) + (6.25 × height in centimeters) – (5 × age in years) – 161
Let’s look at this example, say you are a 38-year-old 5ft 3, 120-pound woman; your BMR would be (10 x 54.4311) + (6.25 x 160.02) – (5 x 38) – 161 = 1193 cal
For men: (10 × weight in kilograms) + (6.25 × height in centimeters) – (5 × age in years) + 5
So once you get your BMR, you may ask, should I eat less than my BMR to lose weight? The answer is absolutely not!
Remember, your BMR reflects only the calories you need for basic survival, like breathing, digestion, and other functions required to stay alive. These are the minimum calories you need just for basic survival.
It does not consider your activity level, the additional calories you need to do everyday things, like walking to your car, brushing your teeth, etc. But don’t worry; we will discuss the other part of the equation next.
NEXT: Calculate Daily Expenditure
The next step to figuring out your daily calorie needs is calculating your daily expenditure which is how many calories you burn each day on top of your BMR.
Calculating your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) considers your activity level. To calculate your daily expenditure, use the equation below.
TDEE = BMR x Activity level
BMR and Weight loss: Assessing your activity level
Use the numbers below to figure out your activity level
1.2 – sedentary (little to no exercise)
1.375 – light exercise (1-3 days per week)
1.55 – moderate exercise (3-5 days per week)
1.725- strenuous exercise (6-7 days per week)
Please note that exercise can include what you do for a living. If you have a very physically demanding job, that too can count as exercise.
Multiply your BMR with one of the above numbers for your activity level to get your daily calorie needs to maintain your current weight.
For example, if you are a woman with a BMR of 1400 that exercises two days per week (light), you would multiply 1400 by 1.375 to get 1925.
In this example, your daily caloric needs to maintain your current weight based on your activity level would be 1925.
This is called your Total Daily Energy Expenditure, or TDEE for short, which is the total amount of calories burned each day when we consider exercise.
FINALLY: Now that you have this number, you are ready to start calculating your calorie intake for weight loss and your calorie deficit.
To lose weight, start with a deficit between 10 and 20%. A calorie deficit is a shortage of calories you consume relative to the number of calories you need to maintain your current weight.
You can create a deficit by consuming fewer calories or burning more via exercise.
BMR and Weight loss: Calculating a 10 to 20% calorie deficit
Multiply your daily energy expenditure (TDEE) by your desired percentage. For example, say you want to reduce your daily calorie intake by 15%, and your TDEE (Total daily energy expenditure) is 1700.
You would multiply the total daily expenditure, in this case, 1700, by 0.15. Then subtract that amount from your daily calorie expenditure.
The equation, in this case, would be as follows; 1700 – (1700 x .15) = 1445.
You can increase your percentage if you want to lose weight more rapidly.
But keep the percentage under 30%, as experts only recommend reducing your calorie consumption by 30% long-term.
Also, reducing your calorie consumption too drastically can affect your metabolism negatively.
BMR and Weight Loss: A Simpler Solution
Another option, if you find the above calculations a bit tedious and want to take a more straightforward but generic route, you can to reduce calorie intake by 500 daily.
But with this approach, you still need to know how many calories you currently consume. You could write down everything you eat in a food journal for 3-5 days to get an idea of how much you eat presently.
Cutting 500 calories per day leads to a total of 3500 for the week, and as mentioned, a pound of fat equals about 3500 calories. You can do this by reducing all 500 calories from your diet alone.
Or you can also achieve this calorie deficit with a combination of diet and exercise. For example, reduce your daily calorie intake by 250. And then also try to burn an additional 250 calories daily through exercise.
Many find combining both a better option, mainly because they don’t have to reduce their calorie intake by such a large amount. If your goal was to lose 2 pounds per week, you would cut calories by 1000 daily.
But, depending on your current calorie amount for maintaining your weight, it may not be feasible to cut calories by 1000.
Let’s take a look at an example.
When cutting 1000 calories is not feasible
Important note: The following example is just for illustration purposes only. I refer to what is considered overweight per BMI standards, currently used to determine obesity.
This is strictly about what is deemed overweight in the medical community; only you and your physician can determine what weight is right for you.
Now on to the example; say you are a very petite woman, weigh 130 pounds, and are 5 ft tall and 0 inches tall.
One hundred thirty pounds may not seem like a lot. Still, if you are only 5 ft tall, that may be considered slightly overweight as that person’s BMI (Body mass index) would be 25.39. And anything 25 and over is deemed to be overweight.
Cutting 1000 calories per day in this scenario
If this person decided to cut 1000 calories per day to aim for a 2-pound weight loss per week, that person would undoubtedly be taking the unhealthy route.
This is because the more body mass, the more calories are needed to sustain life at rest. And the less body mass a person has, the fewer calories are required to sustain life.
So, this person will need way fewer calories to maintain their weight than a larger person and therefore have less room to cut calories.
For example, if this person needs 1450 calories to maintain their current weight based on their current activity level, cutting 1000 would put them at 450 calories daily to lose 2 pounds of fat per week.
You don’t have to be an expert to see that consuming 450 calories per day constitutes rather unhealthy.
You should never attempt this dangerously low-calorie intake, especially without medical supervision.
Even if this person decided to cut just the 500 calories per day, that would still put them under 1000 calories per day at 950, which is still considered by many standards to be unhealthy.
Consuming less than 1200 calories per day
Eating less than 1200 calories per day for women and 1500 for men is often not recommended. If you do not have much to lose, your TDEE may already be close to 1200.
Cutting it by 1000 or even 500 is not a good idea.
If you do your calculations and come up with a number less than 1200 due to your current weight and size, use 1200 if you are a woman and 1500 if you are a man.
Also, you must know the closer you are to your goal weight, the slower the weight will come off. This is because your body needs fewer calories/energy to survive.
And, therefore, fewer calories to maintain your current weight and, thus, fewer calories you can cut safely. But you can always add exercise to help with your deficit.
This Post Was All About BMR And Weight Loss
When it comes to weight loss, utilizing the right tools can make all the difference. Knowing your BMR and then calculating your TDEE can help you fine-tune your weight loss plan and lose more weight.
Did you calculate your BMR and TDEE yet? If you did, are you surprised by how high or low your TDEE is? Let me know down below in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!
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