Moderately Active – Waitress – <Your Weight> x 13 = Maintenance calories (rough).
Active – Physical Laborer – <Your Weight> x 14 = maintenance calories (rough).
If you weigh 150 pounds, here’s what that looks like.
Sedentary – <150> x 12 = 1,800 calories
Moderately Active – <150> x 13 = 1,950 calories
Active – <150> x 14 = 2100 calories
It’s roughly accurate – remember. If you want to use a ballpark figure to see if you’re somewhat close to where you should be, this is the formula to use.
But if you’re a math or science nerd, use the formula I gave you above.
Awesome Websites to Help You Plan Meals (Free) Based on Calories
Side note: it’s awful having to eat a certain amount of calories without knowing how certain things break down, or if you like cooking, what you can actually make that’ll add up to a certain number of calories.
(Hey, if that’s proof that food isn’t supposed to be counted, I dunno what is, haha).
Rather than me giving you 5-10, here is one that works phenomenally well, which is called Eat This Much and is currently free.
First, you can specify if you’re on a special diet, like being vegan, vegetarian, paleo, whatever, and how many calories you roughly want to eat:
Next, it’ll pull up sample meals based on how many calories you told it you need to eat:
Don’t like something? Click the regenerate button, and it’ll instantly pop up a different meal:
Then, you can click the meal to pull up all the nutritional facts, including the ingredients and instructions:
Currently, since it’s free that’s the best option I’d recommend.
Later on, these researchers commented that this model of calories in calories out is around 50 years old – and this original statement was based on short term experiments, that were also performed on men on diets of less than 800 calories per day.
So in other words, maybe these results were realistic in the SHORT run, but not in the long run.
Maybe that’s the rate men were losing weight during that short period of being starved to death, but maybe the body compensated for that severe decrease in calories later – and thus slowed the weight loss down (since reality didn’t reflect that this actually works long term).
We’ll come back to this in a second, but this is one of the dangers of counting calories – you assume that you should be losing weight at a predictable rate, and it often does at the start, but once it slows down the only only thing to do with the calorie model is eat less.
And eat less.
And eat less.
Until you feel like crap, stop seeing results, and are wondering whether or not to continue doing what you’re doing.
Then there’s another problem: You may be eating fewer calories, but there are other issues going on preventing you from losing weight.
Uhh… Crap. The Half a Dozen Other Factors Affecting Your Weight (Besides Calories)
Listen, I wish it were as pretty and simple as counting grains of rice, but it isn’t.
There are loads of other factors that may affect what’s going on within your body, ranging from full-blown medical conditions, to other nutritional reasons like eating processed food, to the satiety index and the thermic effect of food.
So if my friend we talked about earlier really was eating fewer calories, but wasn’t losing weight, the calorie model is incomplete.
There are other factors going on here.
A common situation that I see on an almost daily basis is women over 40 (or 50) that are going through menopause or perimenopause and find themselves gaining more weight, or even potentially gaining weight for the first time in their entire lives.
“I have love handles for the first time in a decade, are you freaking kidding me?” one woman said in particular.
Obviously, you can’t wave a magic wand and make these things going away, although there are ways to naturally address hormones too.
I’ve previously talked about the “big 3” hormones out of balance, a big focus of Sara Gottfried’s book The Hormone Cure that I give to virtually every female client of mine over 40.
One study found that during a woman’s menstrual cycle, the hormonal changes affect not only how many calories she eats, but also what kind of calories she eats (proteins, fats, carbs), and even how much energy she expends.
Can you say cravings?
As far as menopause goes, I’ve talked to maybe a hundred women that have gained weight during middle age because of this, and research backs up that many women do gain weight (often not much, around 5 pounds), while a smaller percentage gain waaaaay more.
In another study, they followed women during their premenopausal years and then after the menopausal period.
During a three year menopausal time period, they gained an average of 4.9 pounds to 9.2 pounds.
20% of the women gained over 9.2 pounds, and 3% lost 9.2 pounds or more.