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Losing weight confusion via calculator

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Old 07-01-2009, 04:59 AM   #1
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Default Losing weight confusion via calculator

I got a question regarding caloric intake & exercising (cardio & weight lifting) after seeing the thread about "eating enough" & BMR just now.

I'm not really familiar with the BMR so this is new to me. I know what BMI is about. BMR, no.

I calculated my own BMR. My resting caloric intake says I need roughly about 1,573 calories to maintain my current weight of 170.2 lbs.

* I do about 55 minutes of cardio on the Stair Master six days a week at the gym

(The Stair Master "says" I burn an average of 600+ calories. I'm guessing I actually burn half of what it says like 300+ calories. In general, I do keep up a decent sweat and keep my heart rate up).

* I also do total body weight lifting for the arms/legs/core for an hour three days a week in addition to my cardio routine.

(How much I burn from weight lifting, I'm clueless. I've only been lifting weights since mid-march).


After I get my resting caloric intake, it says I'm supposed to look at the The Harris Benedict Formula in order to
determine my total daily calorie needs & maintain my current weight, I'm supposed to multiply my BMR by the "appropriate activity factor," as follows:


Harris Benedict Formula

1. If you are sedentary (little or no exercise) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.2
2. If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.375
3. If you are moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.55
4. If you are very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.725


So, based on number 3. ("moderate activity"), I calculated after exercise I'd need 2,438.3 calories to maintain my weight.

I also tried 1. ("sedentary" activity) and it came to: 1,887.72 calories to maintain my weight.

My question is this:

1. I don't know what my activity level would be according to the Harris Benedict formula since I"m not very active during the day (save exercising at the gym).

2. And after that, how many calories do I cut out in order to lose weight without my body thinking its starving itself? The usual 500 calories? Or more to try to lose 2 lbs a week?

I'm sorry for the rambling since I feel like such a moron with this BMR thing that I'm not familiar with here.

It makes me wonder if I'm doing something wrong by possibly not eating enough since I've only lost 0.6 of a pound in five weeks. I'm not sure what is enough to eat to make sure my body doesn't freak out and think it's famine time? I gain weight very easily too, hence my surprise about eating possibly more than 2,000 calories just to maintain my weight.

~ tea
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Old 07-01-2009, 07:03 AM   #2
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Hey there! I started the thread about eating enough so maybe I can help out a bit. Calculating your BMR is a good tool because it lets you know the amount of calories your body needs AT REST just to stay alive and healthy.

First of all, you are doing a pretty good amount of exercise per week. You're doing an hour of cardio on almost every day, plus the weight lifting. So you would probably fall under #4, the very active category. I wouldn't worry TOO much about exactly where you fall into. The Harris formula that you mentioned is definitely a rough estimate based on a certain amount of physical activity per week. I have found that once you figure out the amount of calories that you need to MAINTAIN your current weight (as you did), if you reduce that amount by about 1000 calories you will see the amount that is needed to lose around 2 pounds a week. Furthermore, that amount is usually somewhat close to what your BMR is.

Using too many calculators can be confusing... so that's why I like being aware of my BMR. If a person goes BELOW their BMR, their body is simply not getting enough calories to function in the right way. That was the main point of my thread (that if you keep your calories to AT LEAST what your BMR is, you will stay healthy and likely be able to drop weight each week).

Your BMR is 1,573, correct? That means that if you didn't lift a finger all day, this is the amount of calories your body still requires to function. However, you are very active person so your calorie deficit is much larger than a person who never lifts a finger! BECAUSE you are so active, you should consume more calories than your BMR. I think that 1,650 - 1,700 calories would be a good amount for you to shoot for. In a nutshell, it would be very bad for any (average) person to exercise almost every day yet only consume maybe 1,200 calories... so avoid that.
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Old 07-01-2009, 08:27 AM   #3
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Tea, how many calories are you currently eating?
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Old 07-01-2009, 03:51 PM   #4
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at the moment, I'm eating 1,500 calories on average (give or take a minus or plus 75 calories)... that was before I found out about the BMR calculator last night. Now, I'm thinking of bringing up my caloric intake to about 1,800 calories.
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