Weight loss: The Harris Benedict Equation & What it Means for You


How Many Calories Should I Have a Day to Lose Weight?

A good way to get into the science behind your weight loss is to figure out how many calories you need to be  consuming to lose weight. Doing this will give you more accurate expectations and results! Remember that the number one rule with weight loss is you need to be burning more calories than you are taking in. In other words, weight loss requires you to be in a calorie deficit. One pound of weight adds up to about 3,500 calories. This means if you wanted to lose 1lb every week, you would want a calorie deficit of 500 calories a day. Generally a safe range of weight loss is 1-2 lbs a week. This kind of gives you an idea of why weight loss can be so difficult.

To figure out how many calories you should be consuming to lose weight, you first should probably figure out how many you should be consuming to MAINTAIN your weight. As simple as it may seem, the 2,000 calorie diet is a very robust and vague estimate of calories the “average person” should be eating.

To figure out YOUR ideal caloric intake for maintaining your weight,  use the Harris Benedict Equation. First you are going to want to calculate your BMR, or basal metabolic rate. This will require a little math, so pull out your calculator.

Men BMR = 66 + (6.23 x weight in lbs) + (12.7 x height in inches) – ( 6.76 x age)

Women BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in lbs) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age)

For Metric Units:

Men  BMR = 66 + (13.7 x weight in kg) + (5 x height in cm) – (6.76 x age)

Women : BMR = 655 + (9.6 x weight in kg) + (1.8 x height in cm) – ( 4.7 x age)

Of course if you are feeling super lazy, you can use this BMR calculator. http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/
Then you will take your BMR and multiply it by a certain number depending on your activity level.

Sedentary (little to no exercise):  BMR x 1.2
Lightly Active (light exercise 1-3x a week): BMR x 1.375
Moderately Active (moderate exercise 3-5x a week): BMR x 1.55
Very Active(hard exercise 6-7x a week): BMR x 1.725
Extra Active(very hard exercise or twice a day):  BMR x 1.9

This Harris Benedict equation gives you a pretty accurate idea of how many calories you should be consuming daily to maintain your weight. For example, I weigh 183 lbs currently. I am 5’ 9” and am 22 years old. This gives me a BMR of 1677. Since I haven’t been going the gym lately, I would say my caregiving job keeps me lightly active, giving me a daily caloric need of 2305 calories. To lose 1-2 lbs a week, I will need to consume between 1300-1800 calories a day or increase my exercise activity.

A great way to keep track of your activity is to get a fitbit. I personally like the fitbit charge HR.

  • continuous, automatic, wrist-based heart rate and simplified heart rate zones
  • Track workouts, heart rate, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, active minutes and steps
  • Monitor your sleep automatically and wake with a silent alarm

Weight Loss Guidelines to Keep in Mind…

  • Generally,  reducing the caloric intake by 500-1000 calories, is where most people will fall. A deficit bigger than 1,000 calories should be discussed with your doctor.
  •  If you are trying to lose 10lbs or less, a deficit of 1000 calories is generally too much. (500-800 is more reasonable)
  •  American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that calorie levels never drop below 1200 calories a day for women or 1800 calories a day for men.

How did you like this article? Comment below and let me know!

5 Facts About Weight Loss and What Really Works

There are a million different plans out there for weight loss. Learn the scientific facts about weight loss and what really works when trying to drop those pounds.These rules go for pretty much any diet plan, and are cut and dry… For a moment…just put down your diet pills, your Julian Michaels DVD, AND the doughnut…and read for a minute.

1. The number one goal with weight loss is to burn more calories than what you consume. Always remember this! It does not matter what diet plan you are on, or how you rearrange your food pyramid…the basic facts of consuming less than you burn will put you into weight loss mode.


2. Weight loss is 90% what you eat. Yep, you heard me. Just because you are going to the gym for an hour doesn’t necessarily mean you can justify your entire burger. Working out is a great tool to help with weight loss, but changes need to be made to your diet if you really want to see results.


3. Fiber and protein are your friends. These guys help keep you full and help you stay on track. This is why everyone keeps bringing up the whole grain this and whole wheat that! Switching to whole wheat is such a          great weight loss tool because it helps to keep you full! Your fruits and veggies are full of fiber as well!


4. Weight loss doesn’t have to be about will power. If you are serious about losing weight, you have to learn your road blocks and remove them. For example… If I’m hungry on the go…I will stop for fast food. I make sure to always pack healthy snacks in my car for this reason. This can be as simple as throwing a box of fiber one bars in your trunk. Another common road block is late night snacking. If this is your down fall, have something yummy ready for that snack time, and make room for it in your diet.

5. Portion size is HUGE! But it shouldn’t be literally. If you like to eat a lot…load up on the veggies. Adjust your portion size according to what you are eating. If it is not such a healthy meal…make it small and enjoy every bite. No need to deprive yourself…just eat less of it.


Work Smarter, Not harder.


Tapeworms for Weight Loss

Did you know in the 1950s some people would ingest tapeworms for weight loss? What is a tapeworm anyways?

A tapeworm is a parasite that lives in your small intestine and absorbs many of the foods nutrients you digest. The idea was you could eat whatever you wanted, and the tapeworm would absorb most of it, so you could enjoy foods without the weight.  It sounds great on the surface, but don’t get any ideas! These parasites can be scary!

Tapeworms can reproduce asexually (by themselves) or with another tapeworm. They actually are a chain of reproductive units called proglotids. Each little link has  what it takes to reproduce and make another link. The oldest units fall off the tail end of the tapeworm, while the new immature units form by the head. The more nutrients it receives from its host, the faster it will grow. A person can have multiple tapeworms from this process. It boils down to a matter of supply and demand with food. That is where the joke comes from where people who constantly eat being accused of having a tapeworm, because tapeworms take up so much of peoples nutrients, they feel hungry more often. Anyone else starting to see a problem with this? If that doesn’t freak you out,  tapeworms can cause a number of gastrointestinal problems, and many patients have complained of digestional discomfort from actually feeling the tapeworms move around inside them! GROSS!

Photo Courtesy of http://antiparasitictips.com/









The good news here is tapeworms aren’t much of an issue in places where meat is inspected by the USDA. So the United States is in the clear currently. However in other areas, tapeworms are usually ingested in their larval stage by animals such as cows and pigs. When humans consume these animals and do not cook them thouroughally, this is where the risk of tapeworms becomes a problem.

Photo courtesy of Alaska Department of Fish and Game







More good news is  these parasites can be seen by the naked eye in your meat, if you look for them. So as long as you aren’t going around in foreign countries eating well under cooked meat, you will likely be fine, and have to find some other way to lose weight like the rest of us.

Enjoy your next steak and cook it well,