I'm trying to figure out how many calories my body uses in a day so that I can reduce my caloric intake to lose weight. It’s all very confusing with BMR and RMR ect. I am 36 years old, female, 5'10" and 256 pounds. Can you help me figure out how many calories I use or direct me to a reasonably accurate calculator?

Weight loss terminology can be tough. I am frequently asked what many of the abbreviated weight/physiology terms mean. The BMR formula uses the variables of height, weight, age and gender to calculate the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). “BMR measurements are typically taken in a darkened room upon waking after 8 hours of sleep; 12 hours of fasting to ensure that the digestive system is inactive; and with the subject resting in a reclining position.” It is the minimum amount of calories that are needed to sustain life. Similarly, RMR (resting metabolic rate) measures the amount of calories burned at rest, but the conditions for measuring RMR are less restrictive than BMR.

The BMR and RMR can simply give you an idea of how many calories you are burning at rest. Using your height and weight, your BMR is approximately 1920 calories. When trying to lose weight, how many calories burned during exercise or day-to- day activities will need to be factored in as well. The Healthy Balance website has several nutrition calculators that can help you to calculate your needs (use the “Nutritional Needs Calculator” ). First let’s determine your ideal body weight. For a woman, use 100# for five feet of height and an additional 5# for every inch over 5 feet. So, your ideal body weight would be 150#. If you are over 120% your ideal body weight (and Jenny your percent ideal body weight is 171%), I am going to use your adjusted body weight (taken by subtracting your ideal body weight of 150# from your actual weight of 256 = 106 # x .25 = 26.5# and adding this number to your ideal body weight = 176.5#). Now I will take your adjusted body weight and plug it into the nutritional needs calculator with a “weight goal” of weight loss and I find that you would need approximately 1450 calories per day for weight loss. Now, this does not take into account physical activity. If you are moderately physically active, I would shoot for a range between 1600-1700 calories per day.

A common mistake that some people make when trying to lose weight is that they consume far few calories to support weight loss. One needs enough calories to provide “fuel” for their bodies and to support can active metabolism. If someone is not taking in enough calories, her metabolism may automatically slow down and weight loss can be hindered.

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