We know very well that we need to reduce our calorie intake in order to lose weight. But by how much should we reduce it? As a matter of fact, our body has a daily calorie requirement, which is nothing but the minimum amount of calories it needs to perform its day to day functions, such as digesting foods, maintaining the normal heart rate and blood pressure, controlling and maintaining your breathing, etc.
If you consume more than this minimum calorie requirement, you gain weight, but if you provide your body fewer calories than what it needs, your body would refuse to burn fat. In order to know how many calories are enough for your body, you need to know your Basal Metabolic Rate, or BMR as it is called.
Once you know your Basal Metabolic Rate, it won’t be hard for you to determine your body’s minimum calorie requirements. After that, you would simply consume the required number of calories and leave the rest to your body.
What affects Base Metabolic Rate
Keep in mind though that there are a number of factors which may affect your BMR. Some of these factors can be controlled by you, while others are bitter realities of life that have to be accepted since they can neither be controlled nor influenced by you. In this article, I will discuss the ‘controllable’ factors.
1. Your daily activity level: Your body’s minimum daily calorie requirement depends on how much energy it needs to perform its daily activity, and this in turn depends in a big way on your current activity level. For example, if you are sitting on your couch or near your computer desk the entire day, your calorie requirements would be less than that of a person who is always active and moving.
The more you move, the more energy your body needs. You can do two things about it: you can either increase your activity level in order to match your current calorie intake, or reduce your calorie intake to match your sedentary life. I would recommend the former approach anyway.
2. Your body weight: An underweight person would have different calorie requirements than one who is either overweight or of normal body weight. Bear in mind that the metabolic rate of an overweight person is not higher than that of a normal individual. However, since the overweight individual has a bigger body, the heart needs to work very hard in order to circulate blood to the entire body; in fact, the more overweight you are, the harder your heart has to work.
BMR will help you understand weight loss
And the harder your heart works, the more energy your body needs in the form of calories. So in a way, your minimum calorie requirement is also influenced by your bodyweight. The obvious remedy to this problem is weight loss.
There are some other factors which influence your BMR as well, such as your gender, age, height, etc., but since you have no control over these factors, it would be pointless to discuss them here.
However, you can certainly influence the two factors I mentioned above, by boosting your metabolic rate as well as increasing your activity level. You can do that either by working out in the gym or indulging yourself in outdoor sports.
Click the link at the top of this page or just here to go to my BMR Calculator