Uncomplicated Calories

Hate dieting? Then don't do it.

The term 'diet' is so restricting, or at least that's what we've made it to be. Then there's the rules and the complex terminology...

Points, Macro's, Flexible dieting, Paleo, Low Carb, the list goes on. Such a wealth of information can be daunting to say the least. 

My advice, start simple

So, what does 'starting simple' mean? 

Well, for the majority of people, weight loss, weight gain, maintaining your weight can be simplified to consuming less energy (food) than you use in a day (resulting in weight loss) or consuming more energy (resulting in weight gain).

Simple right? I'm anticipating a question or two at this stage...

  1. How do I know how much energy I need in a day?  
  2. How do I know if I've eaten more or less energy than I've used?

Fortunately, there's a simple answer. Let's start with working how much energy you need in a day...

To figure this out, you need to calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), this calculation will tell you exactly the number of calories you need per day, if you were to do nothing other than remain still and allow your body to perform its vital functions (breathing, heart pumping etc).

Warning! Maths ahead.

There's a little bit of maths involved, so we'll go slow! If you're really not keen on the math's stuff, jump to the link below.

To work out your BMR is simple, just use the below equation. You'll find there's numerous different calculations available, however this is the one I suggest.  


Women: BMR = 655 + ( 4.35 x weight in pounds ) + ( 4.7 x height in inches ) - ( 4.7 x age in years )
Men: BMR = 66 + ( 6.23 x weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) - ( 6.8 x age in year )

My Example  

First enter your weight, height and age inside the respective brackets... 

BMR = 66 + ( 6.23 x 140 ) + ( 12.7 x 68) - ( 6.8 x 30 ) = 

Now, remember to multiply the contents of your brackets first! 

BMR = 66 + ( 872.2 ) + ( 863.6) - ( 204) =  2005.8 calories

Phew! Hard part over. Next we need to factor in how active my lifestyle is, which you can do using the below formula. 

  • Little to no exercise = BMR x 1.2
  • Light exercise (1–3 days per week) = BMR x 1.375
  • Moderate exercise (3–5 days per week) = BMR x 1.55
  • Heavy exercise (6–7 days per week) = BMR x 1.725
  • Very heavy exercise (twice per day, extra heavy workouts) = BMR x 1.9

Example = 2005.8 x 1.55 = 3,108.99 calories

If you're still following, you'll now know roughly how many calories you need per day.

The link (for math's adverse readers)

Flexible Diet calculator (click the calculator in the top right and follow the instructions) 

Online calculations may vary slightly. 

Use your knowledge wisely

Now if you want to lose weight, remove 500 calories per day, which equates to roughly 1lb of fat loss per week (or 3,500 calories). Alternatively, if you're looking to add the 1lb of weight, add 500 calories.

Now, it's important to remember we are all unique, and this figure is a guideline that comes with a couple of suggestions:

1. For the first week, don't change your diet, track your calories and see how you compare to your suggested calorie intake. I'd advise tracking your calorie intake (as below) and weighing weekly. Amend your calories gradually by roughly 100 calories per week until you get the desired result, for example if you had 1,800 calories each day last week, have 1,900 calories each day the next week.

Remember eating less, and exercising more will both use more energy. Where sensible, exercising more is usually the preferred method. 

2. If you are below your suggested calorie intake and not losing weight. It may mean that you've been under eating for a while and your metabolism has adjusted to accommodate. Cutting more calories won't achieve weight loss in a healthy way.  Drop me an email and we can look at healthy ways to achieve your goals.

3. If you are way above your suggested calorie intake and not gaining weight. It may mean that your body has adjusted your metabolism upwards or that you are more active than you have let on. In this case, weight loss can be achieved as suggested in step one. Preferably through exercise, nobody wants to give up food unless they have to, right?

Healthy changes in weight and physique take time, enjoy your journey!

Tracking calories

Surprisingly, this is the really easy bit. Using your smart phone, download the MyFitnessPal app. 

Under the my food tab, click the goals link, here you can enter your calories per day and then use the app to track how you're eating. 

Have a go, and let me know how you get on....

Next we'll be looking at macronutrients or macros, which is simply how to break your daily calories down into Carbohydrates, Fats and Proteins.