This algorithm will tell you exactly how much you should consume a day – and it’s probably more than you realise.
If you’re trying to lose weight the chances are you are closely watching your calorie intake.
But do you really know how many calories you should be eating each day, or are you just guessing?
Generally speaking, it’s recommended that a woman eats no more than 2,000 calories a day and a man should eat no more than 2,500.
But those are based on averages and the real amount you should be eating should actually be based on a number of factors including age and exercise levels.
Have you tried every diet and exercise trick on the planet and nothing’s worked? Maybe you’ve been missing the secret ingredient: psychology. Next time you consider a weight loss program make sure your brain doesn’t hold you back.
That’s where your basal metabolic rate (BMR) comes in.
Your BMR is the number of calories your body needs to survive each day – it is essentially what you would burn if you did nothing but rest for 24 hours.
In a nutshell, your body needs calories to function properly and cutting out calories unnecessarily is not healthy for your body and won’t help you maintain weight loss in the long term.
Not to mention, you are missing out on more food.
Nutritionist and dietitian Helen Bond said: “That [the NHS recommendations] is just a gauge and how many calories your body needs very much depends on your age, how much exercise you are doing, how big and how tall you are.
“Whatever your calorie intake for the day it is very much best to spread it throughout the day, you should have 400 for breakfast, 600 for lunch and 600 for your evening meal [if you are eating 2,000 a day].
“Your BMR is the amount of calories your body needs at rest to keep you alive, to keep your heart beating, to keep your lungs functioning and to keep everything working.
“So you shouldn’t restrict yourself very severely over a long period of time because your body needs calories to be able to function well both mentally and physically.
“If you want sustainable weight loss you shouldn’t be losing anymore than one to two pounds a week.
“Anything that is too restrictive, or has too few calories, then hunger will take over and you will just go back to the eating patterns that made you put on weight in the first place.”
Helen recommends cutting about 500 calories per day out of your diet if you are trying to lose weight – but you shouldn’t maintain that forever.
It is also important to make sure you are eating healthy calories, that means wholegrain foods, fruits and vegetables over junk food.
So, how can you calculate your BMR to work out how many calories you need to eat?
Using the Schofield equation, it is quite simple.
You first need to pick your age bracket for your sex, then work out your weight in kilos.
Each age bracket and sex is allocated a number with the calculator.
Then you follow this formula:
BMR: 13.4 x weight + 692
BMR: 14.8 x weight + 487
BMR: 8.3 x weight + 846
So if you are a 26-year-old woman who weighs 63kgs your BMR is 1,419.4 calories per day.
BMR: 17.7 x weight + 657
BMR: 15.1 x weight + 692
BMR: 11.5 x weight + 873
So if you are a 26-year-old man who weighs 83kgs your BMR is 1,945.3 calories per day.
You then need to take into account your physical activity, because if you are very active you can eat more.
To do that you just need to time your result by 1.4 if you are inactive, 1.6 if you are a moderately active woman and 1.7 if you are a moderately active man.
If you are someone that does intense exercise for an hour or more a day you need to time your result by more – 1.8 if you’re a woman and 1.9 if you’re a man.