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How a Restrictive Diet Actually Might Not Help Lose Weight - Part II

How a Restrictive Diet Actually Might Not Help Lose Weight - Part II

In my first article of this series, Iexplained step-by-step how to estimate the number of calories we need daily in order to keep our vital functions (Basal Metabolic Rate – BMR). Also, I mentioned that eating too little calories on a daily basis has its dangers.

In this article, I will explain the second step to correct nutritional imbalances: how to determine our daily caloric index. The number of calories that our body needs daily to maintain optimal energy levels and vitality.

As we saw in the last article, our basal metabolic rate (BMR) represents the calories needed to keep our vital functions. And, in reality, we don’t spend our days inactive, immobile or sleeping, right? Consequently, our body uses energy or, calories to perform simple tasks such as walking, moving, talking, digesting our food, running, working, etc. And means that our lifestyle aspects interfere with the number of calories we daily need.

In fact, in addition to the calories from our basal metabolic rate (BMR), we need some extra calories to provide us with energy that will keep us physically and psychologically active.

The basal metabolic rate (BMR) represents an estimate of around 60-75 percent of our total daily calorie expenditure. And,depending on each individual necessity and goals, based on their lifestyle aspects, it is essential to add extra calories to their BMR.

To estimate our total caloric intake, we must consider our individual lifestyle, needs and goals. For example, we should take into consideration the aspects listed below, as they consume calories from our body:

  1. Level of physical activity during the day

  2. Exercise routine

  3. Sex

  4. The goals of each person (lose, maintain or gain weight)

  5. Stress level, from 1-10

  6. Sleep quality, 7-9 hours of quality sleep

  7. The individual state of health

  8. The climate where we leave

And the total daily caloric index of each individual is the addition of:

Their Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) + the Number of Extra Calories Needed According to Each Individual Lifestyle

The daily caloric index represents the number of calories each individual should eat to maintain vital functions, good energy levels and keep their metabolism working at full potential.

How to calculate our daily caloric intake?

Depending on your individual goals and lifestyle, add to your basal metabolic rate the number of calories below:

  1. 100 calories for every 45 minutes of moderate exercise routine or moderate physical activity

  2. 100 calories for a stressful day

  3. 100 calories for days we don’t sleep well

  4. Sometimes adding some extra calories to help recover faster from a flu or a health issue

  5. More calories depending on the month of pregnancy (increasing the number of calories from the third month), etc.

For example: Using the case of Ana Carolina(from the previous article)

170 cm, 60 kilos and 55 years (click here to calculate your basal metabolic rate)

TMB = 1,230 (and we add to this number)

+ 300/400 calories: 1 hour 30 minutes of an intense workout + rest of the day with intense activities

+ 100 calories: stress level 5 (from 1 to 10)

+ 100 calories: sleeping less than 7 hours the night before

The formula is:

Basal metabolic rate (BMR) + extra calories = Daily Caloric Index.

The Total Daily Caloric Index or the total number of calories that Ana Carolina needs to be active and energetic is = 1,730 / 1,830 calories

Observe that Ana Carolina calories requirement change every day. And in the example above we estimate Ana Carolinas’ total caloric index in a day that she had an intense 1hour 30 minutes workout, was stressed (5), and slept less than she needs. But on the days that she doesn’t exercise and that she sleeps well, she shouldn’t add the calories related to physical activity and sleep in her BMR.

It is important to keep in mind that the daily caloric index or the number of calories we need varies daily and according to the way we live our lives. And at this point perhaps you are thinking how to apply all this information in my life, right?

So, below there are the main points you need to consider:

1- Follow all the steps in the last article and estimate your basal metabolic rate (BMR);

2- Follow all the steps in this article and estimate your daily caloric index. Memorize this number;

3- Consume every day at least the number of calories from your daily caloric index according to your personal needs, without restricting any calorie;

4- If you estimate your daily caloric index and realize that you are restricting your calories by eating less calories than you need, increase little by little the calories missing in your diet, until you consume the number of your calories according to your daily caloric index. Remember that you can put some weight on (2-3 pounds) in the first week. But as soon as you activate your metabolism by consuming the appropriate number of calories your body needs, the extra weight will shed little by little;

5- Think that when it comes to maintain good health or shed excess weight, neither a little more nor a little less calorie can be a great idea (1)

6- Adjust your daily caloric requirement according to your lifestyle. For example, on the days that you exercise, add 100 calories for every 45 minutes of moderate exercise. And on your rest days, don’t add extra calories to your BMR (as you can see in the example above);

7- Don’t be afraid of food. It can happen when a healthy eating becomes a dangerous obsession of food. Remember that we need all the calories from our daily calorie index in order to function with energy and vitality;

So, regardless of your personal goals: losing, maintaining or gaining weight, always chose a nutrient-dense diet, rich in nutrients (vitamins, minerals, etc.). And also, consume your daily caloric index according to your goals and lifestyle.

Keep in mind that each of us have an individual nutritional need, and diets that are not nutrient-sufficient have in the long run capacity to harm us. As example, an extremely low carb diet can lead to weight loss but also can change the composition of our gut flora (microbiome) in unfavorable ways inducing to a wacky hormone dysregulation, weight gain and many health issues.

By considering our nutritional needs and by feeding our body with the right number of calories, our metabolism will work in our favor and at its full capacity.

Then, comes the third step to correct nutrient imbalances:

How to distribute our calories during the day? And what is the right proportion of macronutrients in our specific case? I will be answering these questions and more in my next article.

Please leave your comment or question below.

Be Happy and Healthy

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