Do You Know Your Calorie Needs?

Whether your goals are weight loss, weight gain or weight maintenance; the first step in developing a meal plan is to determine the number of calories necessary for you to maintain your present body weight. Eating fewer calories than this will cause WEIGHT LOSS.  Eating more calories than this will cause WEIGHT GAIN.  Eating this amount will lead to WEIGHT MAINTAINENCE. 

The Mifflin-St. Jeor Equation is believed to be the most accurate equation available for estimating your resting energy expenditure.  This can give you an approximate guide for how many calories you burn at rest, and then you can factor in your daily activities to determine your daily needs.

Step 1: Determine your Resting Energy Expenditure (REE), or how many calories you burn at rest, by using the Mifflin-St. Jeor equation:

  • Women = 10 X Wt (kg) + 6.2 x Ht (cm) – 5 X age (years) -161
  • Men = 10 X Wt (kg) + 6.2 x Ht (cm) – 5 X age (years) + 5

Wt in kg = Wt in pounds / 2.2               Ht in cm = Ht in inches X 2.54

Step 2: Factor in your activity throughout the day to determine your Total Energy Expenditure (TEE).  Choose which of the following most closely describes your activity level and use the activity factor that is listed next to it:

Activity Factors:

-Sedentary (no planned exercise, does not move a lot) = 1.2

-Lightly Active (light exercise/ sports 1-3 days/week) = 1.4

-Moderately Active (mod exercise/sports 3-5days/week) = 1.6

-Very Active (hard exercise/ sports 6-7 days/ week) = 1.7

-Extremely Active (hard exercise/sports 2x a day) = 1.9

Total Energy Expenditure  = REE x Activity Factor