There are a lot of ways to calculate your daily calories, most people overthink this and they get paralyzed. If you want to know how to calculate you calories in a simple way, stick to this post.
What are calories?
Calories are how we measure the amount of energy we eat. It is weird to say it
like it is but this is true! Some foods have higher caloric content than others
and certain macro nutrients have more calories per gram than others. There is a lot of controversy on how to calculate your calories, and this can lead to confusion or overthinking about calculating your calories.
Why you should know how many calories you are eating?
This is to achieve your fitness goals, if you want to keep a certain way you have to know how many calories you are eating, this may seem complicated at the beginning, but you will know how much you eat and you can adjust your caloric intake depending on your goals.
Knowing how many calories you eat will make your diet a lot easier and it will help you to estimate calories eventually. Of course there is a learning process involved. You need to know how to read nutrition labels which is really not that complicated. You will also learn in the process that certain foods like oils have a lot more calories that you’d think.
If you know how many calories you are eating when the time comes that you need to make modifications to your diet you will know for sure what to modify. This is a lot more measurable than just eating less or eating less carbs or fats. When you can measure things, you can modify them accurately.
The truth about calorie calculators
Calorie calculators are all over the internet. Some calorie calculators are not really accurate, and there is no perfect calorie calculator, each method has its accuracy and its flaws. You want to make sure that you utilize a formula that is accurate and takes individual factors into consideration.
If you want to get an accurate calculation you can try the Mifflin-St Jeor Equation. This equation takes a lot of different things into consideration like your gender, height and age. I would post that formula here, but i know that is easier for you to just search Mifflin St Jeor Formula Online and put in your stats. So this is a simple way of calculating calories, lets get to the other way of calculating calories that is fairly simple.
A simple way to calculate your calories
If you are all about simplicity and you are willing to make any modifications to your diet you can simply multiply your weight in pounds times 15 and that will likely be a very accurate number for your maintenance caloric intake.
That is if you workout about 3-5 days per week. For example, if you are 160 pounds, multiply that times 15 and you will get 2400 calories which looks very accurate. If you know your weight in kilos, do a simple google conversion and multiply your weight in pounds. This simple formula is very accurate for people that go to the gym, and weight is the main variable when it comes to calculating calories.
How to know if those calories are accurate?
This will depend on your current situation. Do not get confused. You will need to make sure that you are actually consuming the calories that you think, this will include a very accurate estimation and for that you want to download an app like MyFitnessPal where you can track everything you eat you will also need a food scale to measure your food.
Learning to track calories will take some time but you will get there. If that is on check, if you are maintaining your weight ( it can fluctuate a little bit) then those are your maintenance calories. You will need to adjust that with your goals. I have posts on how to lose fat and how to build muscle, those posts include everything about your caloric intake and also training.
Check out this post if you are trying to lose fat: How to lose weight and maintain it
Check out this post if you are trying to build muscle: How to gain muscle and weight
Do not obsess with caloric intake (Unless you compete)
Eating disorders are a common thing nowadays, make sure that you use your knowledge to eat a well balanced diet the majority of the time and not to restrict your caloric intake to a point that it may be unhealthy. Use the knowledge to get to a healthy weight and a healthy body fat percentage.
Of course we all want to look better, but you also want to be able to go out to dinner one day a week without counting calories. Of course you need to eat in moderation if you are trying to achieve your goals, but the solution is not to obsess and make this an unhealthy habit.
If you are getting to a really low body fat to compete, then yes a more strict approach will be necessary, but this is only temporary. Once the competition is over, you should focus on eating a well balanced healthy diet and gaining a little bit of body fat to make sure your health is optimal again, not to mention you get to eat like a normal person again.
Macro nutrients matter (but its common sense)
Eating enough protein and getting a balanced amount of carbs and fats is important, do not get too locked in into getting the exact 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight in a day, if you are off by a little amount that’s ok! Do not stress over little things and do not be meticulous about every single aspect of working out, after all this is a lifestyle and you want this to be as easy to follow in the long term, you also want to be able to enjoy food and life with moderation.
Those are simple and accurate ways to calculate your caloric intake! Do you have any comments or questions? please let me know!