# 22 How many calories per day do I need?

Your body needs a certain number of calories per day just to keep you alive
and to maintain yourbodily functions (breathing , digestion, etc.); this
figure is referred toas your Basal Metabolic Rate(BMR). You can estimate
your BMR by multiplying your current weight (inpounds) by 10 for women,11
for men. For example, a woman who weighs 120 pounds would require about1,200
calories perday just to maintain her bodily functions. You'll also need some
percentage of calories above your BMR to provide energy for your daily
activities (using your hands and arms,walking, exercising, etc.); the
percentage will vary widely based on your metabolism and activity level. A
moderately fit and active person might need 30-50% calories above her BMR to
maintain her current weight; our hypothetical 120-pound woman would need
approximately 1,680 calories per day (1,200 + (1,200 * .40) = 1,680)
assuming that she is somewhat active. A person who is very fit and exercises
frequently might burn as much as
100-200% more than his/her BMR. If your goal is to lose weight, you'll need
to take in fewer calories than you use up, or burn off additional calories
through exercise, or both. If you choose to decrease calories, aim for the
amount needed daily to maintain your ideal (not current) weight. Most health
care professionals recommend that women take in at least 1,200 calories per
day (1,400 for adolescent girls, 1,600 for men); at lower calorie levels,
you're likely to be cheating yourself of essential nutrients.

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