# calculating minimum calories for dieting

#### munchausen

##### Distinguished Member
One of my friends was recently telling me that I am not getting enough calories and that I would lose more weight if I ate more. Does anyone know if this is junk science or if it has any basis in reality? Is there any reliable way to calculate your calories needed based on weight, excercise level, etc?

#### Cary Grant

##### Distinguished Member
Your friend's general point is correct (again, generally speaking). If you under-eat severely enough/long enough, your metabolism gears down and down to compensate. Holding onto some fat is nature's safety blanket. Body says: &quot;hey, I'm starving&quot; so it tries to compensate by turning down the burners and holding fat in reserve.

It's worth running a couple of the different formulas to see if you are at least in the ball park of what you need.

#### Cary Grant

##### Distinguished Member
Here's another method of calculating (this is one of the methods used by a few friends who are competitive BB'ers.)

First, multiply your weight by 13.8. Secondly, multiply your height (in inches) by 5. Next, multiply your age by 6.8 then subtract that figure from 67. Add these three totals together.

Here is an example of a 180 pound, 5'9", 23 year-old man:
180 pounds x 13.8 = 2,484.0
69 inches (5'9") x 5 = 345.0
23 years-old x 6.8 = 156.40
67 - 156.4 = - 89.4
-------------------------------------------------------------
Total Calories Needed 2,739.6

This comes pretty close when I run my numbers.

#### SField

##### Distinguished Member
I know someone that did Lyle Mcdonald's &quot;Rapid fat loss&quot; which has you on extremely low calories with high protein... and they lost a **** ton of weight extremely fast. I don't know if that can be safe though.

#### munchausen

##### Distinguished Member
Ok thanks. For clarification, is that number the minimum I should be getting for weight loss or for maintenance?

#### rjmaiorano

##### Distinguished Member
I personally find a lot of those calculations to be pretty high. The link listed says my daily maintenance should be 4200.

#### munchausen

##### Distinguished Member
Yeah that's the thing, all of these things are giving me pretty high numbers, most around 3000. And their recommendations are that I eat 2200 calories, which is significantly more than I am getting now.

I have been feeling the need to include "cheat days" lately because I find myself getting tired, especially after several days of exercise in a row (I work out 6 days a week typically) but even on those days I'm not anywhere near 3000 calories.

#### uNiCoRnPriNcEsSx

##### Senior Member
FWIW, I'm 23, 5'11", 31W, and my maintenance is 2400/day. I would say weigh yourself now, use caloriecount.com and make sure you hit/stay below depending on your goals. after a week, weigh yourself around the same time, and adjust accordingly. getting a food scale also really helps. going through the entire thread just reading Charly, Kunk, and a few other people's posts will get you verr far. http://www.superfuture.com/supertalk...ad.php?t=54436

#### munchausen

##### Distinguished Member
Well, my weight usually does not change much because my training involves a good amount of strength training. I have already lost a significant amount of fat. Based on the mirror test and having had my body fat measured before, I'm guessing I'm at 12-13% body fat right now. Top 2 sets of abs are showing somewhat but I've still got some of the spare tire around the waist. I know this fat takes the longest to go away so I'm guessing I should probably keep doing what I'm doing and be patient. I'm not losing any muscle as far as I can tell, although my strength gains have more or less flattened out.

#### rjmaiorano

##### Distinguished Member
If what you are doing now is working and you feel your maintaining most muscle mass, then just keep doing it. Just don't fall off the wagon.

#### Cary Grant

##### Distinguished Member
Originally Posted by rjmaiorano
I personally find a lot of those calculations to be pretty high. The link listed says my daily maintenance should be 4200.

How big are you? I'm 6'2" and 195... the formula I posted puts me at 2700-2800.

#### Cary Grant

##### Distinguished Member
Originally Posted by munchausen
Ok thanks. For clarification, is that number the minimum I should be getting for weight loss or for maintenance?

That's maintenance, at least the formula I posted.

One thing some do is to use their LEAN MASS not their total bodyweight to create an initial target for weight loss.

#### munchausen

##### Distinguished Member
Originally Posted by Cary Grant
That's maintenance, at least the formula I posted.

In that case, the result of that formula makes a lot more sense to me than most of what I'm getting on the net. Thanks for that.

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