Calories And Losing Weight

A very common practice for losing weight is counting calories.  Calories or specifically kilocalories = 1000 calories (small c) = 1 large Calorie (capital C), represent the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 kilo of water by 1 degree Celsius.  All food is energy and how many calories per gram, is calculated for each macronutrient.  

  • Carbohydrates = 4 calories per gram
  • Protein = 4 calories per gram
  • Fat = 9 calories per gram 
  • Alcohol = 7 calories per gram

But it is important to know the type of calories consumed, high or low glycemic foods, good vs bad fats, fiber amount, when to eat certain foods….  But how foods affect you whether is types or timing of food and how they respond in your body is another Corner’s topic.  This week is about calories and it takes 3500 calories to gain or lose a pound.  If you burn more calories than you eat, technically you should lose weight.  The first thing you need to do is find your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), which is the energy it takes your body to function day to day (sleeping, heart beating, eyes blinking, breathing, eating drinking, talking….)  After you figure out your BMR you need to next find AMR (Active Metabolic Rate)

You can google BMR calculation and you will find it quite easily along with AMR.  Below are the manual calculations:

BMR calculations:


(10x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) – (5x age in years) + 5.  


(4.536 x weight in lbs) + (15.88 x height in inches) – (5x age in years) + 5. 

The next calculation is your activity level AMR – pick your activity level x BMR to know your daily caloric expenditure:

  1. Sedentary – any desk job, and only light activity as making dinner, washing dishes… BMR X 1.2
  2. Daily workout (exercise 1-3 days/wk) BMR x 1.375  
  3. Standing job moving around all day (exercise 3-5 days/wk) BMR x 1.55  
  4. Warehouse shipper receiver, fitness/personal trainers (exercise 6-7 days/wk), x 1.725
  5. Construction worker, hard physical labour (exercise vigorously 6-7 days/wk) BMR x 1.9

Once all calculated you will have your daily caloric expenditure.  When cutting calories women shouldn’t go below 1200 calories, because it interrupts important body functions which involve hormones and even delay or stop menstrual cycles.  Men for other hormonal processes should not go below 1600 calories a day.  

So for example, if you were a women and you found your daily caloric expenditure to be 1400 calories and you cut 500 calories a day to = 3500 calories in 7 days, you technically should lose 1lb a week.  However, there are 3 problems right away:

  1. Calories are now too low at 900 calories
  2. You will reset your metabolic rate as your body adapts finding its new normal at a lower caloric burn, so cutting more calories becomes unrealistic.  Also throw in one salty meal and you retain water stand on scale and see you have gained weight – which in reality, you haven’t but you get discouraged and quit.
  3. You will find that you are really hungry and unfocused

The answers: 

  1. Nutritional dense foods = satiety 
  2. Timing of food keeps blood sugars level – helps with cravings and crashes throughout day 
  3. Exercise burns extra calories 
  4. Exercise helps suppress appetite

The beauty of the correct foods and exercise is that you don’t need to necessarily cut calories.  Just by changing the types of foods you eat, when you eat and adding exercise will burn extra calories and help suppresses appetite.  This will allow your body to burn at a higher metabolic rate and lose weight comfortably. 

 Mikkie Nettles, Certified Personal
Trainer/Holistic & Sports Nutritionist

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