Do the Math & Lose the Weight

Using simple formulas, a calculator and helpful websites, you can determine how much to eat and exercise.

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To lose weight, calculate the calories you need to consume based on your age and gender — then factor in how many you actually burn.

It isn’t difficult, requiring little more than a calculator. The equations produce numbers that fit the population average, so consider them only a starting point.

The simplest way to calculate calorie needs is to multiply current weight by 11 through 15, which gives a range of calories needed to maintain that weight.

So a 150-pound woman who wants to stay at that weight would need to eat 1,650 to 2,250 calories. Why the difference? If her activity level is high (exercising vigorously every day), she can eat more because she’s burning more. If she wants to lose weight, she’s going to have to cut calories.

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Because a pound of fat equals about 3,500 calories, cutting 500 calories a day will mean one pound lost in a week, a reasonable amount. But eating less isn’t the only way to slim down. To cut 500 calories a day, you can also cut calories by 250 and do a workout that burns 250 calories.

A more accurate calorie assessment can be done using the Harris Benedict Equation, developed in 1919, which starts with basal metabolic rate to calculate calories needed to maintain weight.

What the equation doesn’t take into consideration is lean muscle mass. Someone with a lot of muscle and little body fat will need more calories, and those with higher body fat will need less. As fitness levels increase, so does BMR.

Kara Mohr, co-owner of a Louisville, Ky.-based nutrition and fitness facility, says that since these numbers are based on averages, some calorie tweaking may be necessary to find the right formula. If weight doesn’t drop after a few weeks, cut the calories, increase the exercise, or both. Always hungry? Add calories or back off on the workouts.

Calorie counts for various foods can be found online at sites such as CalorieKing.com and TheCalorieCounter.com, and calories burned via various activities can be found at CaloriesPerHour.com and NutriStrategy.com

Click to see:->Counting calories is a tough math problem

Sources Los Angrles Times

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