Beki's Blog

My life and the journey to self-awareness

Can’t it just not be so complicated?

Holy diet book hell!

I really want to know and understand how many calories each day I should be eating.  Have you ever tried to find that information on the Internet?  There are millions of sites, and they all have different information.   So, today, out of sheer frustration, I decided to go to a book store and look for a nutritional book.  What I found was completely overwhelming.  There was one book I would consider under the nutritional category.  It was an Idiots book and it seemed to be too much like a college textbook than what I was looking for. 

Other than that, it was diet book after diet book after diet book.  There’s what to eat and not to eat, an abs diet, a flat belly diet, a clean diet, there are factors and zones, and zones with color, there are diets that are “recharged”, diets according to your “type”, numerous celebrities’ diets, bitches and bastards that are skinny who apparently don’t eat salad…  I could go on and on and on!  (It might not surprise you that I was in a very small bookstore – the list would undoubtedly be much bigger if I was in a Barnes & Nobles or Borders!

I didn’t want a diet book.  I wanted a book that would give me the information I needed to figure out how many calories I need to be eating.  What should be my target percentages of fat, protein and carbs?  What are the daily sugar limits?  How many grams of fiber should I be eating each day?  How does training for a triathlon affect my nutritional needs?  Why isn’t there a book that can give me this information?  If there is, I sure as heck haven’t found it!

Where do I even start?  ~x(

I guess I could start with, how many calories does my body burn just by being alive?  One would think that might be simple to answer, but one would be wrong!  Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the amount of calories your body burns just being alive.  There are different ways to calculate this, but the most popular method I found in my search seems to be the Harris-Benedict Formula.

The Harris-Benedict Formula is an equation that is used to determine BMR.  The formula is different for men and women and is based on your weight, height and age. (You should have no problem finding the actual formula, or a calculator on the Internet.)  The result for me is 1396. 

There is a multiplier for activity, based on if you are sedentary, moderately active, etc.  I want to make this as accurate and customized for me as possible, so I used my average my calories burned (I calculate my calories burned using an app on my iPhone, called My Fitness Pal  Over the last 4 weeks my average weekly calories burned has been 4202 per week.  I divided this number by 7 and got 600.  In order to maintain my weight I need to eat 1996 calories per day.  If I wanted to lose a pound a week, I would subtract 500 calories from this number, with a total of 1496 calories per day needed. 

BMR                            1396

Activity                     +   600

Weight Loss              –    500

Total Net Calories        1496

(Net Calories = Calories Eaten – Calories Burned)

I’m not completely convinced that I figured this out.  But if I am correct, I should be netting 1496 calories per day if I’m meeting my calories burned target.  I’ve also seen that people should never go under 1200 calories a day.  So, if I’ve been eating an average of between 1250 and 1300 daily net calories, why haven’t I more consistently lost weight? 

I’ve been told that perhaps one of the reasons that my body is holding on to the weight, is because I’m not eating enough.  I’ve decided that I’m going to try this new net calorie target and nutrient percentages this week.  Hopefully at the end of the week, I will see a lower number on the scale.  If I don’t then I guess some further research will be required.

I found some guidelines for the following nutrients:

  • 45%-65% of daily calories as carbohydrates (4 cals per gram)
  • 10-35% as proteins (4 cals per gram)
  • 20-35% as fat (9 cals per gram)
  • Women need 25 grams of fiber per day. 


I chose the following percentages:

  • Carbohydrates = 45%
  • Proteins = 25%
  • Fat = 30%


If someone has better information they can share with me and my readers, please post it here!  Links to reputable websites, books, anything.  Let’s sort this out!  Can’t it just not be so complicated?

(And yes I meant to include a double negative in the title and last question!)


March 25, 2010 - Posted by | Me, Weight Loss | , , , ,

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