Caloric intake refers to the number of calories you consumer per day. A calorie is a measure of heat energy. One calorie is the energy required to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius. The metric equivalent of the calorie is the joule, and there are 4.2 joules in 1 calorie. One calorie is a tiny amount of energy, so the calories referred to on food packaging are in fact kilocalories (also referred to as Calories with a capital "C"). With metric measurements, kilojoules (kJ) are always used.

Calculate Your BMR
By calculating your caloric intake, you will discover the number of calories you need to consume in order to maintain your current weight. By using a simple formula called the Harris-Benedict principle, you can assess your basal metabolic rate (BMR).

Your BMR is the amount of energy your body needs to function. We use about 60% of the calories we consume each day for basic bodily functions such as breathing. Other factors that influence your BMR include your height, weight, age, sex and physical activity level. Effectively calculating your BMR is a two step process:

Step One
Calculate your BMR using one of the following two formulae (only applies to adults):

Women: 65 + (4.3 * weight in pounds) + (4.7 * height in inches) - (4.7 * age in years)

Men: 66 + (6.3 * weight in pounds) + (12.9 * height in inches) - (6.8 * age in years)

Step Two
In order to incorporate your activity level, do one of the following calculations:

Sedentary: BMR * 20 percent

Lightly Active: BMR * 30 percent

Moderately Active (exercise most days/week): BMR * 40 percent

Very Active (exercise intensely on a daily basis or for prolonged periods): BMR * 50 percent

Extra Active (you do hard labor or are in athletic training): BMR * 60 percent

Add this number to your BMR.

The result of this formula will be the number of calories you can eat every day and maintain your current weight. In order to lose weight, you'll need to take in fewer calories than this result. This will cause your body to burn fat to provide extra energy. If you eat more calories than you need, your body stores the extra energy as fat.

Here is chart that details required caloric intake for men:Here is chart that details required caloric intake for women:
The chart below brings to life the kind of energy found in the calories you eat:

Click on the link below to download a chart detailing the amount of calories burned per minute during different types of exercises.


How to Calculate Your Caloric Needs and Lose Weight, Jennifer R. Scott
What is a Calorie?, Ali Hale

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