Are you aware of the amount of calories you consume and burn on the daily? Well, if you’re trying to lose weight, you should be. Due to modern technology, you can easily calculate your energy balance and figure out exactly how much you need to eat each day when you know your number. To lose weight efficiently you need to reach a negative energy balance.
That means that to reach a negative energy balance, you need to make sure that you put less energy in your body than your body actually uses. Or in other words – you need to consume fewer calories than you burn each day, but to do that firstly you need to know how many calories you burn.
What accounts for your daily calorie burn?
While evaluating the total number of the calories you burn, researchers refer to that number as your total energy expenditure – TEE or as the total daily energy expenditure – TDEE. TEE or TDEE, is actually a combination comprised of the following different factors:
- RMR also known as your Resting Metabolic Rate: The RMR is actually the amount of energy that your body needs to maintain the basic functions such as breathing, building cells and blood circulation. Factors that affect your resting metabolic rate are age, body size and gender. Lastly, your RMR accounts for about 60% to 75% of the total number of calories that you burn each day.
- NEAT also known as Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis: NEAT is essentially the amount of energy that your body uses to accomplish daily activities such as washing the dishes, tidying up, doing computer work, or even just walking around your workplace. The number of calories that are burnt from NEAT vary a lot based on your level of activity.
- TEF also known as the Thermic Effect of Food: Did you know that your body actually burns calories as you chew, digest and store food? Each type of food – macronutrient contains a different TEF. For example, eating protein burns the most calories, even if it’s by a small margin. This accounts for about 10% of the total number of calories that you burn each day.
- Calories burned during exercise: Depending on the intensity and duration of each workout session that you do, the number of calories that you burn varies. The calories that are burned through exercise and non-exercise related physical activities account for about 15% to 30% of your total energy expenditure.
How to calculate your Total Energy Expenditure?
To calculate the number of calories that you have burned each day, you can use one of these three pre-existing methods. However, there are pros and cons about using each of these methods. To get the best estimate, you can use more than one method and then compare the results.
Most of the equipment required to perform a metabolic testing is quite on the expensive side of things and used to be only available in a hospital or lab setting. Although, various health clubs at present offer metabolic testing at pretty fair prices.
The test results provided by this method can, for some people, help schedule workouts and diet plans more efficiently. However, some critics feel that the test are not very accurate and therefore not worth the expensive cost to do them.
So, if you end up choosing to do metabolic testing at a health club or similar, make sure that your trainer or technician is qualified to perform the test accurately.
Eventually you’ll have to be re-tested to measure the progress between sessions, so it’s recommended that you have the same technician re-do the tests and to use the same equipment as the last time. Additionally, since your body weight can vary by several pounds from morning all the way to evening, it’s best to do your next test at the same time of day as the previous one.
Activity monitors are devices made by brands such as FitBit, Garmin and Polar to name a few, that are widely available in sporting goods stores. These gadgets monitor your daily movements to determine an estimate number of calories that you’ve burned each day.
However, some independent tests have shown results that the devices are not completely accurate at providing a precise number of calories burned, but on the flip side these gadgets are easy to use and actually can provide a general estimate of variations in your daily calorie expenditure!
Lastly, we come to the infamous online calculators. Online calculators can estimate your daily energy expenditure. Obviously, the number they provide is only a guideline, but it’s a good a place as any to start if you want to maintain or lose weight.
If your goal is to lose or even gain weight, then using a weight loss calorie goal calculator to calculate your daily calorie needs is your best bet. Moreover, it’s pretty easy to use and it’s free!
Your Daily Calorie Expenditure
If you want to lose weight successfully and reach your negative energy balance, then try to increase the amount of energy that you use each day. Naturally, there are some parts of your total energy expenditure that are not that easy to change.
Off the bat, it’s pretty difficult to increase your resting metabolic rate, for example, and increasing the amount of calories that you burn while you eat food isn’t quite the effective way to reach your negative energy balance. One thing that you can change though, is your daily physical habits.
One of the most effective ways to increase your total energy expenditure is with exercise and through NEAT. First off, you need to learn how to plan consistent workouts that are intense enough to burn fat but allow your body to have enough time to recover, rebuild and stay relatively healthy as well.
An important thing to note is that you need to stay active between workouts. For example, opt to take the stairs instead of the elevator, spare the gas and walk to the store instead of using your car and most importantly stay active at home to constantly burn calories. That way you will boost your calorie burning potential and you may as well be able to increase some lean muscle mass on your body, which can in turn boost your metabolic rate!
It is very crucial to remember that all types of calorie calculators are just estimate, even the calorie counts on the back of food packaging are estimates! Therefore, if you’re trying to lose some weight, expect that you will definitely need to take some time for trial and error before you find the numbers that are just right for you.
So, use several varying methods to find out how many calories you burn each day, then experiment with your food intake to find the correct balance to meet your goals, and most of all don’t stress it!