How many calories do you need? According to WikiHow
Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.
This is both scary and an indication that we need to watch what we eat.While the quality of your food is a huge component of weight gain, the bottom line is that if you eat more calories than you need you will gain weight.
So how do you determine how many calories is enough? It's not complicated but it may surprise you. There is a simple formula that gives you a good baseline.
Step 1 - Take your current weight and multiply it by 10. For example, a 130 pound woman will multiply 130 X 10 = 1300. This is your baseline calorie requirement. A man who weighs 180 will multiply that number by 10 X 180 = 1800. This is his basic requirement.
The basic requirement only gives us a guideline as to what our body needs to maintain itself when it is entirely inactive. This inactivity would describe someone lying in bed or sitting on the couch watching television all day. How do we add activity levels from this basic calculation?
Step 2 - If you do nothing but walk to and from your car, sit at your computer, then head home to watch television you can still add 10% to the calculation. Our woman gets an extra 130 calories and the man gets 180 bringing their totals to 1430 and 1980.
This is not a lot of calories and can be consumed in one meal if you're not careful. One jumbo cheeseburger with fries and a shake comes close to 1300 calories! And that cheeseburger and fries offers the kind of calories that tend to leave you feeling hungry within an hour or two. WHOA!
Step 3 - Finally, and we'll talk about this in detail in another article; you can adjust the number of calories by another 10% or higher as you add activity. Even walking for 2 miles a day can add up to 10% more calories for our man and woman described above.
What do you do with this information? Please understand it is very general. Younger people, who are still growing, will use more calories. The older we get, the less energy our bodies need to maintain us so someone at age 70 will require less calories than someone at age 40, assuming an equal level of activity and overall health.
Each of us is unique so we certainly can't gauge an exact caloric need by the formula described. It is a starting point and a guide line.
It is also a reminder that you are what you eat. Try this general guideline and see how it works for you. Tweak it to your needs.
Remember also that 1430 calories or 1980 calories of junk food will give your body an immediate sense of satisfaction but will not last and will not provide the nutrition you need to stay healthy. More vegetables seems to be a common item missing from many meals. Now there is even evidence that healthy fat is an essential part of our nutrition.
Eat your calories in a variety of food types - protein, vegetables, fruits, grains, and yes, fat for optimal health.
Food for thought.
Stephanie Atwood, M.A. is the Bay Area Women's Fitness Writer and founder of Go WOW Team - Fit Women of the World. She is a certified coach, trainer, and sports nutrition consultant.
Good nutrition and activity are essential parts of a healthy lifestyle and Coach Stephanie specializes in combining nutrition with exercise to educate women in both areas. Calories in and calories out does not tell the entire story. Good nutrition requires good, healthy food and quality in the calories we consume.
Coach Stephanie Atwood and Go WOW Team can be found on Facebook at http://facebook.com/gowowteam and through the group website at http://gowowteam.com. Go WOW Team is also on twitter @gowowteam. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org