How to Determine Your Calorie Needs

KristineBlog, News, Facts, Fitness6 Comments

Happy Monday! Hope you all enjoyed your weekend.  How’s your summer been going so far in terms of your diet/exercise plans?  Are you happy with how things are going, or are you wanting to clean things up but not sure where to start?

A Note On Calories

When it comes to calorie counting, I know it can be a real pain in the butt.  Its inconvenient.  But, lets be honest, the only true way you can control the outcome of your goals is to be more conscious of what’s going into your body and what nutrition is in the food you’re eating.

Not only do calories matter, but the QUALITY & QUANTITY of food you’re putting in your body has a huge impact as well.  If you’re eating all your calories in processed carbs and fruits, you will not have the same body composition if you ate your calories in lean protein and vegetables. Trust me, I know this first hand.

Grams vs. Calories

Once you’re in the groove of knowing what your regular food and meals are calorie-wise and nutrition-wise in terms of grams of protein, you don’t need to be as stringent with counting calories.  For myself, I eventually started being more conscious of how many grams of protein & carbs I was taking in per meal, versus actual calories.

For example, I found an effective strategy for me was to take in 30 grams of protein per meal, 30 grams of carbs for 4-5 meals & approx 7-10 grams of fat.  I’d eat 5-6 meals and I wouldn’t include low-starch vegetables like greens in my carb count. Just starchy carbs like oatmeal etc. So it made it easy to keep track.

As long as you’re choosing the right foods (see my Healthy Food Grocery Shopping List and eat off that in addition to my Recipes), you should be well on your way to reaching your goals (along with an exercise program of course).

How To Calculate What You Need

There are so many online calculators out there, but I’ve always gone back to the same one.  This calculator from is great.  But you’ll need to know a few things before you determine your needs. Keep in mind, its still somewhat a guess at best since everyone’s metabolism is different.

– Once you enter all your height/weight/activity information and get your daily calorie goal, GO TO THIS PAGE to break it down into protein, carbs, fats per meal.  A good place to start ratio wise is 40% protein, 30% carbs, 30% fat. Its a great and balanced place to start and you should feel satisfied.  You can always tweak it later.

– Choose how many meals you’ll eat per day.  I’d recommend at least 4 meals per day.

Never use the “extreme fat loss” number to base your calorie/macronutrient ratio on.  You’ll put your body into starvation mode and you’ll be very likely to binge eat…not what you want!

– If on your new eating plan you’re ever feeling starved, add more food. You may not be getting enough.  Usually some more vegetables will do the trick as they can be filling.  Also, add more water.  You may even be thirsty, not hungry.

** Any questions? Leave them in the comments and I’ll answer them.

QUESTION: Have you ever used a calculator like this before? Were you surprised with the numbers that came up?

p.s.  Don’t forget to enter the Zevia soda giveaway, it ends tomorrow (July 10, 2012)