Whether your goal is to lose weight, gain muscle, or stay right where you are, knowing how many calories you need is key. Let me show you how to find your ideal calories.
Most people over-complicate "dieting". From low-carb to blood-type. Intermittent-fasting to paleo. Keto to vegan to carnivore to diet shakes. There appears to be a never-ending river of fad diets. A question you should ask though: if the last trendy diet was so effective, why are people now talking-up a new diet?
The answer is simple: because there's money to be made from vulnerable people that are easily marketed to. Companies, celebrities and influencers are all guilty of profiting from this fact.
The truth is, when it comes to the effectiveness of any diet, there are two indisputable facts:
if is too extreme (such as completely eliminating food groups), it will not work in the long term;
it will only work if the energy-balance is right.
Every diet that has ever worked did so because of point 2. Sadly, most fad diets rely on point 1 because it's easy to communicate. "Stop eating x and lose 25lbs!" they say. Easy right? For a few weeks, maybe. But a successful diet should be a life long marriage, not a one night stand. Fad diets always lead to regret the next morning!
What Is Energy Balance?
Put simply, energy balance is the ratio of calories we consume to the calories we burn. If we eat more calories than we burn, we're said to be in a state of calorie surplus. If we do this over an extended period of time, we'll gain weight.
If we consume fewer calories than we burn, we're in a state of calorie deficit, and over time we will lose weight.
Eat the same number of calories as we burn and we will obviously sit at the same weight.
This leads us to the next question...
How Do I Calculate How Many Calories I Need?
From here, we obviously need to know how many calories, on average, we burn everyday. This is called Total Daily Energy Expenditure, or TDEE for short. Things that determine your TDEE are your activity level, age, gender, weight and height. Body composition also plays a part, but because TDEE is, for the most part, an educated guess, it's not essential that we know this. TDEE changes over time too, as your body composition, activity level and weight changes. And as you get older!
How Do I Work Out My TDEE?
To help you determine your Total Daily Energy Expenditure, I've put together this