How much food should you be really eating?

When it comes to food and how much to eat, information overload has become a real concern amongst people with too many opinions been thrown out there.

It is actually pretty simple and when you come back to the basics, apply some common sense you will find the answers are pretty simple.

First off we have calories - This is defined as a unit of measure of energy. 

Inside of calories we have "macro's" or macronutrients - these are carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and alcohol.

After that we have "micro's" - these are vitamins, minerals and all the good stuff inside each of those macros.

Now alot of the general population don't really care about the math behind it and just want the outcome and be told what to do is fine, however this can lead to emotional decision making rather than logical which is what has created the yo yo style dieting and bad relationships with food from lack of understanding.

"Catch a man a fish, he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, he will eat for a life time."


Let's look at the math:


TDEE is calculated by adding four numbers together: basal metabolic rate, thermic effect of feeding, exercise energy expenditure, and non-exercise activity thermogenesis. 



Basal metabolic rate is the number of calories the body needs to stay alive and keep its organs functioning in a resting state. The best way to accurately calculate BMR is through using a machine like an InBody. However, if you do not have access to one you can simply multiply the person’s body weight in kilograms by 20. If you are a coach this information is typically gathered during your assessment process.


176 pounds = 80 kg

80 kg x 20 = 1600

BMR of a 176 pound client = 1600 calories.


When calculating TDEE one has to take into account how much energy is required to digest the food consumed. This is the thermic effect of feeding. To calculate TEF simply multiply the BMR by 0.1.


BMR = 1600 

1600 x 0.1 = 160 calories burned as the thermic effect of feeding.


The third variable in the TDEE calculation is exercise energy expenditure (EEE). This is the amount of energy one expends during exercise. There is no exact calculation for this as EEE is unique to everyone but a rule of thumb is that it can range from 250 calories for light exercise to 500 for intense exercise. 


A beginner client that workouts for an hour = 250 EEE

An advanced client working out for an hour plus = 500 EEE


The fourth and final variable is non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). This accounts for the number of calories a client burns in their everyday life outside of exercise, whether that be from walking their dog, sitting at their desk job all day, or working manual labor. For NEAT there is no exact calculation and again it ranges from 250 calories to 500 calories depending on the activity during the day.


A sedentary desk job employee = 250 NEAT

A delivery driver or construction worker = 500 NEAT


The client weighs 80 kg

BMR = 1600

TEF = 160

EEE = 250

NEAT = 250

TDEE 1600 + 160 + 250 + 250 = 2,260


Although this calculator is a great tool, it's not perfect. Keep in mind this is just an estimate. Furthermore, many of us overestimate, underestimate, or flat-out lie about how much we weigh or exercise. Even if you were honest with the calculator, it doesn't mean the number will be 100 percent accurate. Whatever number the TDEE calculator gave to you is a starting point—not a law for you to abide for the rest of your life.

Your TDEE is how many calories you expend every day. If you want to lose fat, try to eat about 15-20 percent less than you burn.

Once you've established your daily calorie intake, we suggest initially tracking your weight on a weekly basis. This will help determine if you need to adjust your calorie intake to optimize your fat-loss goals.

Now that we have gone through the math, jumping onto stock standard 1200, 1300, 1500 calorie diet programs is not recommended as you will likely be under your BMR and end up slowing everything right down long term.

If you have any question around this, reach out and let discuss.

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