Posted by: Octavia | 2009-08-13


Hello, I just want to know if my calculations are correct. I' ve been keeping a food and activity journal and I am eating between 1500 and 2000 calories a day. My activites (calorie burning) range between 800 and 1300 a day. According to the BMR calculater on this site, my BMR is 1510. Now I know these aren' t all accurate and I over estimate food and keep my activites as accurate as possible. Would I be correct in saying that I should be losing weight and not gaining weight (as I am currently doing?). I am a 22 year old female and I have gained about 2kgs since last year this time.

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Our expert says:
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Hi Octavia

If the figures are correct, then yes, you'd be burning more than you take in and you'd be losing weight. The problem is accuracy - let's say your estimates for calorie burning per day are 10 to 15% too high - that means you are actually only burning 700 a day. Then, assume the BMR is 10% lower than calculated - it falls to 1300, and the total is 2000Cal.

Now, if your estimate of energy intake is too high, by a tiny amount of 5%, you gain weight. So these kinds of calculations are impossible to make. This is why calorie counting doesn't work - if your estimate is wrong by 5 jelly babies a day, you can gain 5kg in a year. That's the margin for error...

So the point is, don't get too stuck on the numbers. I think you need to make some discerning choices regarding food intake, and look at when you eat, how much you eat, and then balance that against exercise. But I wouldn't try to count calories - it's not an exact science.


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