How to Determine Caloric Intake

Snacks tack on a lot of calories.
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You're sitting on the couch, munching on chocolate chip cookies, blissfully unaware of what you are actually eating. Had you looked at the label on the back of the cookie package, you'd know that you've eaten 600 calories in one sitting. Ouch. When it comes to weight loss, knowledge is power. Calculate your appropriate caloric intake based on your weight, height, age and activity level, and be sure not to consume excess calories. Monitoring your calorie intake will enable you to see exactly where the calories are coming from and what you can cut out to lose weight.

Determining Calorie Intake

Step 1

Make note of your height in inches and your weight in pounds. If you haven't weighed yourself in a while, hop on the scale to get an up-to-date reading.

Step 2

Put your weight in pounds and your height in inches into the Harris-Benedict equation to determine your basal metabolic rate: For females, BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight) + (4.7 x height) - (4.7 x age in years) For males, BMR = 66 + (6.23 x weight) + (12.7 x height) - (6.8 x age in years) Basal metabolic rate tells you how many calories you would need to consume to support basic physiological processes if you slept 24 hours a day.

Step 3

Assess your current activity level. Are you mostly sedentary or extremely active? Multiply your BMR by the appropriate activity factor. For instance, if you don't exercise, your activity factor is 1.2. If you exercise lightly one to three days per week, your activity factor is 1.375. For moderate exercise three to five days a week, multiply by 1.55. If you exercise every day of the week, multiply by 1.725 and if you have a physically strenuous job to boot, multiply by 1.9. Multiplying BMR times your activity factor will tell you how many calories you need to maintain your current weight.

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