Use this easy formula, a favorite of cardiologist Thomas Lee, editor in chief of the Harvard Heart Letter.
First, find your activity level below in “And Your Number Is…” Multiply your weight by the number indicated. (You may fall between two categories. If that’s the case, adjust the number by adding a point or so.) The result is the number of calories you need to maintain your weight. Let’s say you weigh 135 pounds and do light exercise one to three days a week. Multiply 135 by 13.5 to get, approximately, 1,800 calories. If you want to drop some pounds, try cutting out 250 calories a day, says Lee. In a year, if you make no other changes, you could be 26 pounds lighter. Exercise more and you could lose more, too.
And Your Number Is…
You exercise: Almost never
Multiply your current weight by: 12
You exercise: Lightly, one to three days a week
Multiply your current weight by: 13.5
You exercise: Moderately, three to five days a week
Multiply your current weight by: 15.5
You exercise: Vigorously, six to seven days a week
Multiply your current weight by: 17
You exercise: Vigorously, daily, and you have a physical job
Multiply your current weight by: 19
What I like about this is that you can get an idea quickly of how many calories your “should” be consuming in a day. A lot of times we have NO idea, and we just eat and eat until we are full. FYI we aren’t supposed to eat until we feel full (more on that another day). We need to eat what our bodies need (not what we want). What we need doesn’t have to be nasty either. I really enjoy my food. You should too. If weight loss is your goal though, you need to consume less calories than you burn. If you would like to gain weight you need to consume more than you burn. Remember this neat trick to figure out your magic number to weight loss or gain.
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