The Harris Benedict Equation is believed to be the most accurate way to calculate calories needed per day.
This calculation is extremely useful for people who want to lose fat, or build lean muscle.
How to calculate daily caloric expenditure:
Add together 655 + (your weight in pounds X 4.35) + (your height in inches X 4.7) minus (your age in years X 4.7).
Add together 66 + (your weight in pounds X 6.23) + (your height in inches X 12.7) minus (your age in years X 6.8).
Multiply the figure you got in step 1. by the following number according to your activity level:
- Little or no exercise – 1.2
- Light exercise 1 to 3 times a week – 1.375
- Moderate exercise 3 to 5 times a week – 1.55
- Hard exercise 6 to 7 days a week – 1.7
- Hard daily exercise and physical job – 1.9
To lose weight deduct 500 to finish with your daily calorie limit.
To maintain weight, aim for the number of calories per day without adding or substracting anything.
To add weight, add between 250 and 300 to your number to arrive at your daily calorie target.
How often to eat
Now you know how many calories you should be aiming for, the next thing is to space your meals out throughout the day.
Here is my recommendation:
- Breakfast first thing
- Mid-morning healthy snack
- Lunch mid-day
- Healthy snack in the afternoon
- Dinner in the evening
That way you can have three main meals, and snacks to keep you going between your meals. It is best to have your dinner as the last food of your day, and not keep snacking into the evening if you can avoid it.
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