Calorie counting is one of the best ways to lose weight, reduce the risk of heart disease, reduce the risk of stroke, control hypertension, and control diabetes mellitus. But, how many calories should you eat?
Quick answer: number of calories needed for you are calculated using your healthy body weight, sex, genetics, age and your daily activity. Of course, it is not 1200 calories daily for everyone. Let us make sense of this premise by understanding a few concepts and then calculating your actual daily caloric need.
Concept one: number of calories needed are the calories required to maintain your healthy body weight, i.e., your healthy self. You are not supposed to care and feed for the extra tissue you have gained. We want to eliminate this extra tissue by starving the cells and the accumulated material in in these cells that make up this extra tissue.
Concept two: composition of your body tissues, age, gender, genetics, and your daily activity further refines your daily caloric need. For example, a muscular person will need more calories compared to a less muscular person. Even when they have the same height and body weight. Similarly, an active person will need more calories compared to a sedentary person even when they both have equal height and weight.
Concept three: diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, heart disease, hypertension, etc., can dictate the composition of the food you take. This article assumes a healthy person. (Let me know in the comments if you will like to read about the diets in these situations.)
Got it, how do I calculate my calories now?
Let’s get to it. First, we need your ideal body weight for your height. Find your healthy body weight from one of the charts below:
Healthy Body Weight Chart for Women
Healthy Body Weight Chart for Men
Now calculate your daily caloric need using the table below.
This table provides formula to calculate your caloric need based on the activity type.
Number of Calories from Food Classes
Note: yes I know alcohol is not exactly a food class. However, it is important to understand the number of calories from alcohol too.
Note: depending upon your health you may not be able to eat from all food classes. This article is not to encourage you to use one or the other type of food. Here I am providing information to calculate your daily caloric need.