While there are many reasons for the gaining and the apparent gaining of weight that could include medical conditions, for most of us gaining weight can be attributed to eating more calories than the body can burn. The resultant difference in calories ends up being stored in our bodies as excess fat.
Our bodies burn a certain amount of calories per day, even when at rest. This is the base number of calories or amount of energy that is required to keep our bodies functioning, also known as Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR. This number varies from individual to individual and depends on a number of variables, such as age, gender, weight and height. Even so, two people of the same age and weight, who may come up with an identical BMR mathematically, are likely to have different BMRs in reality due to the difference in the conditions and activity levels of their bodies.
Nonetheless, a calculated BMR is a good place to start your efforts from. To conclude, let’s take an example. A 33 year old woman who weighs 60 kilos and is 5 feet 4 inches (162.5 cm) tall would have a calculated BMR of 1290. This means she needs to ingest at least 1290 calories each day to keep her body functional at its current weight. In theory, if she eats more than 1290 calories per day, the difference will add to her body fat. If she eats less than that number, the difference will be deducted from her body fat.
For your reference, the formula to calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR is as follows:
- [men] 66.47 + (13.7 * weight [kg]) + (5 * size [cm]) − (6.8 * age [years])
- [women] 655.1 + (9.6 * weight [kg]) + (1.8 * size [cm]) − (4.7 * age [years])
- How can I speed up my metabolism?