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Nutrition

  • Healthy and Light Lebanese Vegetarian Dishes

    Written by guest author Talar Demirdjian  Sometimes being a vegetarian means that you can’t be as diverse in your food choices as other diets, or so you might think… Being Lebanese, and living in the Mediterranean, means that we have access to amaz...
  • Top Five Healthiest Lebanese Dishes

    Written by guest author Talar Demirdjian  We all know that as Lebanese we’re blessed with a great variety of colorful and delicious food. In Lebanon, we have the best of what the Mediterranean can offer, and we take advantage of it at any chance we ...
  • Best Vitamins and Supplements to Take For Mental Focus

    Written by guest author Brenan Quirante Peak nootropics Noopept Nootropic Supplements Some people search for supplements and vitamins to help them improve their memory, cognitive ability and focus. It's not easy focusing on tasks that don't seem i...
  • Does eating late at night cause weight gain?

    Many people have emailed me with the belief that eating late at night is causing them to gain weight. However, this is nothing more than a myth. This old wives' tale propagates that our metabolism slows down at night because we are inactive and there...
  • The Difference Between Water and Sports Beverages

    Written by guest author N.P.Burggraaff Working up a sweat can feel great, especially if you have trained really hard. However, it is also very important to keep hydrated before, during and after your workout. Dehydration during your workout can easi...
  • Ten Reasons to Eat More Avocado

    Written by guest author N.P.Burggraaff Smoothies, salads and dips… you can have it all with avocados. This green fruit's name is derived from the Nahuatl Indian language which ironically means "testicle". Avocado is considered a healthy fat which no...
  • Health Benefits of Salmon

    Written by guest author N.P.Burggraaff Delicious and nutritious Along with being incredibly tasty, salmon offers many health benefits you might not be aware of. Though salmon contains quite a lot of fat, you can indulge without feeling guilty as t...
  • Healthy Eating on a Budget

    Written by guest author N.P.Burggraaff Some readers have emailed the website saying that eating healthy is expensive and this makes it difficult for them to keep up a healthy lifestyle. Even though nutritious food can be very expensive, it is defini...
  • Leptin and How it Facilitates Fat Loss

    Written by guest author N.P.Burggraaff There are countless diets available on the market. A current popular diet is the so called "leptin diet." In this article, I'll explain what leptin is and how you can make leptin work to your advantage. What i...
  • How Healthy is Sushi?

    Written by guest author N.P.Burggraaff Sushi is known to be one of the healthiest meals. Sushi contains some great nutrients like omega 3 from the fatty fish, vitamins from vegetables and minerals from seaweed. Does this mean you can binge on sushi ...
  • 10 Reasons Why You Are Not Losing Weight

    Written by guest author Nynke Burggraaff 1. Olive oil/healthy oils Olive oil is a healthy fat and fits perfectly into a healthy diet. However, although it is a healthy fat, it is also high in calories and can slow down your weight loss if you consu...
  • The Truth About Diet Soda

    Written by guest author Nynke Burggraaff Regular sodas are loaded with sugar Regular sodas are known to contain a LOT of sugar. How much you may ask? Did you know that a can of regular Coke contains 39 grams of sugar? This is equivalent to 3 tables...
  • Glycemic Index Explained

    Written by guest author Nynke Burggraaff I'm sure you've heard a buzz going around about the glycemic index. A lot of people are adjusting their food intake according to low Glycemic Index (GI) values. But what exactly is the glycemic index? Defin...
  • Natural Sugar Alternatives

    Written by guest author Nynke Burggraaff Luckily I am not a sweet tooth, but I know many of you are! The main ingredient to provide sweetness in foods and drinks is of course sugar. There are countless reasons why it would be better to cut out, or a...
  • Is Coconut Oil The New and Improved Olive Oil?

    Written by guest author Nynke Burggraaff For years and years, the media and health gurus have educated us about the countless benefits of olive oil. Olive oil has become a staple in many households and for good reason; it is both healthy and tasty. ...
  • Guilt-free Healthy Snacks

    Snacks help to control our cravings, maintain our blood sugar levels and keep us energized throughout the day. It is recommended that people do not go more than four hours without eating and should always have snacks in-between meals. Many people go...
  • Habits of Successful Dieters

    When it comes to successful fat loss, your hard work will not end once you reach your goal. The next step is to successfully maintain your results with a healthy lifestyle. Here are some tips to help you maintain your weight and avoid relapsing. Lo...
  • How to Read Nutrition Labels

    Deciphering the information found on nutrition labels can be extremely confusing. Here is your quick and easy guide to understanding the basics Serving sizes The serving size always appears at the top of nutrition labels. Serving sizes can be misle...
  • How to suppress your appetite

    One of the hardest things about sticking to a diet is keeping a raging appetite under control. There is nothing more frustrating than being hungry and not being able to eat as much as you’d like. Here are some natural techniques to suppress your appe...
  • Top foods to eat daily

    Many people starting out with a body transformation program might not know the difference between clean food and the junk you should avoid, which means they risk eating food they believe to be healthy when in reality it is causing more harm. Familiar...
  • Low Calorie Diets

    One of the most frustrating aspects of starting a weight loss program is how long it takes to see actual results. Many infomercials try to sell you products and supplements promising fast results, but these are nothing but weight loss scams, or are b...
  • Healthy Fats Explained

    Many people view “fats” as unhealthy and best avoided. They link them to high levels of cholesterol, clogged arteries and major health problems. However, in reality healthy fats are essential for overall health and nutrition, provided you eat the rig...
  • Alcohol & Fat Loss

    One of the hardest things for people to give up during a fat loss program is alcohol. Some people find it impossible to go out and not enjoy a few drinks. The good news is drinking occasionally and in moderation will not likely affect your results; h...
  • How to dine out

    A healthy lifestyle means being healthy no matter where you go. Many people overeat, cheat on their diets or are not aware that they are making poor food choices in restaurants. Many people dine out regularly or eat out often for business meetings an...
  • Eat smarter

    Fat loss expert Tom Venuto proposed a fun and easy method for others to improve their food choices in a free special report he wrote. He suggested categorizing your food choices into grades. If you want to be healthier and leaner, you need to work on...
  • Calculate Calories

    What is a calorie? Calories can be defined as measures of heat energy stored in food. The higher the number of calories in a specific type of food, the more energy will be released to perform biological functions or sustain physical activity. When w...
  • The essentials about protein

    Protein is your body's preferred muscle building fuel and can help you reach super-human levels of leanness.  What is protein and what role does it play in your body? Protein is a combination of essential and nonessential amino acids in the body.  ...
  • Water & Liquid Calories

    Water in our bodies One of most important compounds in our body is water, which constitutes around 60 – 70% of our total bodyweight. Water excretes waste from our cells, aids in digestion and brain functions, transports nutrients around the body and...
  • Carbohydrates

    Carbohydrates are our preferred source of energy and are used most efficiently by the human body. The brain utilizes carbohydrates to perform normal bodily functions, requiring a minimum of 100 grams of carbohydrate per day. Following a severely low ...
  • Repair a Damaged Metabolism

    If you’re someone who has a history of unsuccessful dieting, you may fear that you’ve damaged your metabolism permanently. One example of something that could cause this kind of damage is going on a low-calorie diet for a prolonged period of time, ex...
  • Your basic guide to supplements

    Nowadays we are constantly bombarded by supplements and products purporting to be from the fitness industry and promising quick fat loss and muscle building results. Although many of these products do have some nutritional value it can be hard to tel...
  • Create Your Own Meal Plan

    There’s nothing better than being in control of your diet, customizing it with the foods you like and tailoring it to fit your goals. It only takes one afternoon It might all seem exhausting and confusing at first, but all it really takes is one a...

How to calculate total calories for your goals

What is a calorie?

Calories can be defined as measures of heat energy stored in food. The higher the number of calories in a specific type of food, the more energy will be released to perform biological functions or sustain physical activity. When we utilize fat in our body we are simply burning stored calories, which are released to fuel our energy. Every pound of body fat (or 0.45 kilograms) contains around 3500 calories. If we want to lose two pounds (one kilogram), we would need to burn off 7000 calories of stored energy.

Energy balance

In order to lose weight we need to burn more calories than we eat on a daily basis for a prolonged period of time.

In order to maintain our weight, we need to find an exact balance between calories consumed and calories expended.

In order to gain weight, we need to store excess calories consumed on a daily basis for a prolonged period of time.

It’s important to highlight that a surplus of any type of food, even healthy food, may cause weight gain. Pay attention to portion sizes and caloric intake in order to meet your specific goals.

Influencing factors

There are several different factors that will influence your daily nutritional requirements and how many calories you burn. This includes:

1-  Your age and gender

The older we get, the slower our metabolism becomes. We can reverse this process and actively speed up our metabolism as we age by eating well, exercising and lifting weights. Gender also plays a role, as men generally require more calories than women due to a larger body frame and more muscle mass.

2-  Weight and muscle mass

The heavier you are, the more energy you will require to fuel your body. Muscle is also a metabolically active tissue, which requires more energy than fat. The more muscle mass in your body, the more calories will be required to sustain it and the more you’ll be able to burn at rest without any movement.

3-  Basal metabolic rate (BMR) and activity levels.

Your BMR is the number of calories your body burns on a daily basis (WITHOUT physical movement) for biological functions, such as digestion, blood circulation, respiration, etc. This includes the number of calories you burn on a daily basis without doing any physical activity, even when you’re relaxing on the couch. Your activity levels also influence your caloric requirements - the more active you are the more energy will be required to fuel your workout.

Develop a plan of action

One of the most accurate formulas for estimating your total caloric intake is the Harris-Benedict equation. The first step is to calculate your BMR (as mentioned, your basal metabolic rate is the number of calories utilized to perform biological functions without physical activity). The next step is to calculate your activity levels, in order to determine total caloric requirements. Finally, deduce how many calories you should be eating on a daily basis to meet your goals.  Have a calculator handy! Note: these general guidelines are also practiced by Tom Venuto who has helped millions of people across the world get leaner. 

Determine your BMR

Men:

Your BMR = 66 + (13.7 x weight in kilograms) + (5 x height in centimeters) – (6.8 x your age)

women:

Your BMR = 655 + (9.6 x weight in kilograms) + (1.8 x height in centimeters) – (4.7 x age)

Example: you are a female that weighs 70 kilograms, is 165 cm tall, 35 years old and moderately active.

Your BMR = 66 + (13.7 x 70) + (5 x 165) – (6.8 x 35) = 1612 calories a day

Total daily requirements:

The final step needed in order to calculate your total daily calories is to multiply your BMR by your physical activity level. This will be the total number of calories needed to MAINTAIN your weight.

Sedentary (no exercise) = BMR x 1.2

Lightly active (low intensity exercise 2-4 times a week) = BMR x 1.375

Moderately active (moderate intensity exercise 3-5 days a week) = BMR x 1.55

Very active (high intensity exercise 6-7 days a week) = BMR x 1.725

Extremely active (athletes or exercising up to twice a day) = BMR x 1.9

Following the example of our moderately active female: 1612 (her calculated BMR) x 1.55 (moderately active) = 2498 calories for her total caloric expenditure. This is the total number of calories she can consume on a daily basis to maintain her weight.

Calories required for your specific goals:

Maintenance

For maintenance = BMR x physical activity levels (using the Harris-Benedict equation as illustrated above).

Fat loss

For fat loss, simply eat 15-30% below your maintenance level. Starting out at 15% is a conservative deficit, whereas 30% is more aggressive. For gradual and healthy fat loss, don’t drop your calories below 30% of your maintenance level. Start out with 15% and as you get closer to your goal, you can bump it up to 20%, 25% then 30%. Only decrease your calories further if you feel like your weight loss is starting to slow down. If you are rapidly losing weight following a 15% deficit, there would be no need to cut back further. 

Following the example of our female, she maintains her weight at 2498 calories a day. She would start out with a 15% deficit. This becomes (2498 x 0.15) = 374 calories a day for the deficit. This would mean she needs to eat 2124 calories a day (2498 – 374 = 2124) for fat loss.

If she decides to bump up her deficit to 30%, she would need to eliminate 749 calories (2498 x 0.30 = 749). This would total 1749 calories a day (2498 – 749).

It always pays to start off by eating more calories and gradually eliminate them as your fat loss progresses. This gives you room to explore other options if you hit a plateau. What would you do if you’re on a very low calorie diet and your fat loss stalls? You won’t be able to cut back any further. It makes no sense to start off eating 1200 cals a day if you can lose weight while eating more. I reached the leanest I’ve ever been eating up to 2000 calories a day!

Keep in mind that you might have to recalculate your maintenance level and adjust your calories accordingly as you lose weight. The less you weigh, the less calories will be needed to maintain your weight, meaning a larger deficit will be required for continued fat loss. In the example of our female, if she drops from 70 kilograms to 65, she would have to redo her calculations and will have new caloric requirements to maintain her weight and continue with fat loss.

Muscle building

If your goal is to bulk up and gain muscle, the first step to take is to determine whether or not your body fat is in a healthy zone. If your weight is above average and not in a healthy zone, focus on cutting first and reducing your body fat. If you’re already in good shape, then you can consider bulking up and gaining lean muscle mass.

The safe rule for bulking and minimizing fat gains is to calculate a 20% fat loss deficit (below your maintenance) and eat 1000 calories above that. Here is an example. (See above to learn more about calculations for fat loss).

You maintain your weight at 3500 calories. A 20% deficit is 700 calories (3500 x 0.20). Your total caloric intake for a 20% deficit would total 2800 calories (3500 – 700). In order to gain lean muscle mass; add 1000 calories to your 20% deficit. This would total 3800 calories (3500 + 1000) for bulking and gaining size.

Meal planning

Once you’ve estimated your total caloric needs to meet your specific goals, the final step would be to design your meal plans. Click here to learn more about meal planning. If you find any of the above difficult, have any questions or need help estimating how many calories are required for your goals, drop me an email.

 

 

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