First, it’s important to say that calorie calculations are always estimates and there is a lot of trial and error required to fine-tune the numbers in practice. However, running through the calculation below can provide you with a good starting point.
Your own … Even of you could be precise, the calories printed on food labels can be out by 20-30%…
- Calorie counts are imprecise;
- We don’t absorb all of the calories we consume;
- How you prepare food changes its calorie load;
- Individuals absorb calories uniquely and variably;
- People aren’t great at eyeballing portion sizes.
- Calorie burn estimates are imprecise;
- Individuals burn calories uniquely and variably;
- What and how much you eat influences the calories you’ll burn;
- Your weight history influences how many calories you’ll burn.
So, there’s no point trying to pretend there’s a degree of accuracy where none exists.
It’s much more sensible to estimate…
Calculate Your Calorie Requirements
Find where you fit in the table below and multiply your bodyweight in pounds by the figure provided. I generally start with the higher number and adjust downwards if not losing weight.
|Activity Level||Lose Weight||Maintain Weight||Gain Weight|
|Sedentary||Weight (lb) x 10-12||Weight (lb) x 12-14||Weight (lb) x 16-18|
|Moderately Active||Weight (lb) x 12-14||Weight (lb) x 14-16||Weight (lb) x 18-20|
|Very Active||Weight (lb) x 14-16||Weight (lb) x 16-18||Weight (lb) x 20-22|
For example, if you’re a moderately active person who weighs 10 stones (140lb), the calculation is simply:
140 x 16 = 2240 kcal
Calculate Your Protein Requirements
Research has shown that protein is the most important macronutrient to get right, so the next thing we do is work out your protein requirement.
This figure varies… I actually tend towards a higher figure, but let’s start with 0.75g protein per lb bodyweight.
Using the same example as above, a 140lb person would need:
140 x 0.75 = 105g protein
Calculate Your Carbohydrate And Fat Requirements
Translate Into Hand Portions
You can stop here if you want to count calories.
However, I would suggest using hand portions is a much more practical solution.
You’ll see from the image above…
It’s easy… Always have your hands with you…
Let’s take the figures calculated above for our person weighing 140lb and let’s assume each portion is 100 calories.
We also need to know that the macronutrients have different … calories per gram, with fat the most calorie-dense.
Protein contains 4 kcal per gram
Carbohydrate contains 4 kcal per gram
Fat contains 9 kcal per gram
Protein – 105g x 4 kcal/g = Y calories / 100 = palms protein
Fat – Xg x 9 kcal/g = / 100 = thumbs fat
Carbohydrate – Xg x 4 kcal/g = / 100 = handfuls carbohydrate
So, our 140lb person would aim to eat 5 palms of protein, 5 thumbs of fat, and 5 cupped handfuls of carbohydrate per day.
Alcohol … 7 kcal per gram…
We’ll explore these numbers further in the later lessons.