How to Calculate Calories Per Day

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When you calculate your resting energy expenditure, you find out how many calories your body uses per day in its metabolic functions. Learn how to determine this number in this free video on nutritional calculations.

Part of the Video Series: Nutritional Calculations
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Charlotte Lawson, a registered and licensed dietitian, and I'm here to help you calculate the amount of calories you need per day. Now, keep in mind, the amount of calories you need per day, may not be actually what you consume. But today, we're really going to cover our Resting Energy Expenditure. Meaning, what your body requires to function daily, as far as beating our heart, our lungs, even blinking our eyes. But not necessarily incorporating other daily physical activity. And there's a small conversion back to that, we'll go over. First, obviously, you need a pen and paper, probably a calculator. As this is pretty, kind of, a difficult equation. And then, as far as the equation, make sure that you're looking up in an accredited source. This could be Mifflin-St Jeor , which we're using today or the very common Harris Benedict. Now, I have an example here, what I'm going to use myself. And We'll plug this right into this calculation. If you see here, this Mifflin-St Jeor equation, again, for Resting Energy Expenditure. Now, I'm going to use my information here for the women, I'm going to slide my paper up, okay. So, now here we have weight in kilograms. I know, that I weigh about a 140 pounds. So, 140 divided by 2.2, equals 63.6 kilograms of body weight. We're going to multiply that by 10. Then, I need to go here and look at my height. Now, height is in centimeters, I know that I'm five foot, four, so that's 64 inches. Divided by 2.54, that's the conversion factor. And I am, oh, excuse me, multiply, 64 times 2.54, is 162, 162.5, give myself the benefit of the doubt, centimeters. And multiply that by 6.25. Now, we're going to subtract five multiplied by my age, I'm 25 years years old, so put this in here, 25. And again, because we're female, we have a 161, because I'm female. So, let's plug in this big equation here. I have 63.6, multiplied by 10, which is the easy 636, plus 6.25 times 162.5, which is my height in centimeters. This is the bigger number here, 1015.6 minus five times 25, 125, minus the 161. So, let's plug this all in to my calculator, here. 636 plus 1015.6 minus 125 minus 161, equals about 1300 calories. I came up with 1365.6. Now, again, this number here is my Resting Energy Expenditure. Meaning, if I was bed-ridden or not really incorporating any sort of other exercise or even daily movement. My body would require almost 1400 calories to maintain the current weight that I'm at. Now, I am physically active, so on top of this, we can incorporate a certain physical activity level. Now, there's different ranges, depending on how active you are. Here are some of the basic ones. Now again, like I mentioned, Comatose is absolutely nothing, but this even has some small activity factor, if you will. I'm going to use 1400 calories, which is like, kind of, rounded up. And I'm going to multiply it by my normal ADLs, which is 1.5, I get about 2100 calories. This is when my body has been utilizing on a day-to-day basis, with Average Daily Living Needs, which is your ADLs. So, again, our Resting Energy Expenditure is a little bit different than our daily activity needs. And my body, to maintain my weight, is using about 2000 calories. Now, again, very different for each person, depending on your height, your weight, your age and your sex. As you can see, all those were incorporated into that equation, in the very beginning. Now, I used Mifflin-St Jeor, here. But you can also use the Harris Benedict or sometimes go on-line to an accredited source. That maybe, has the Resting Energy Expenditure calculator for you. This was just a little bit of information on how you calculate your daily calorie needs. I'm Charlotte and eat happy.

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