How to eat a balanced diet

Eating a balanced diet can be complicated for some, here’s some tips and advice for you!

How many calories do I need?

A calorie is a unit of energy. We get our energy from food aka macronutritents (carbohydrates, fat and protein). Everybody is different, so we all have different calorie needs. To figure this out we use something called the BMR formula (Basal Metabolic Rate). BMR is an estimate of the calories you need in 24 hours if you were to do nothing! Just laying in bed not moving still burns calories to keep your body functioning such as breathing, repairing cells, digesting food, keeping your heart beating etc. Calculate your BMR by using the equation below:

Female’s BMR equation:

655 + ( 4.35 x weight in pounds ) + ( 4.7 x height in inches ) – ( 4.7 x age in years )

Male’s BMR equation:

66 + ( 6.23 x weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) – ( 6.8 x age in year )

Now we multiply your BMR with your activity level:

If you are sedentary (little or no exercise) =BMR x 1.2

 If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week) =BMR x 1.375

If you are moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) =BMR x 1.55

If you are very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week) =BMR x 1.725

If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training) =BMR x 1.9

For example: a 30 year old female weighing 11 stone, with a height of 5 foot 5 inches and who is lightly active will need:

655 + (6.699) + (305.5) – (141)= 826 (BMR) x 1.375 = 1,135 Calories daily

If the female example given above eats 1,135 calories a day she will maintain her weight. If she ate calories above this amount she would gain weight but below it she would lose weight. This is like an energy balance act (see below)!

 

energy balance

 

 

Now I know how many calories I need, how do I split that in carbohydrates, fat and protein?

We are recommended to eat 45-55% carbohydrates, 15-30% protein and 15-20% fat of your daily calorie intake. The lower percentages are used if you are less active and the higher ends are for those who train a lot and are training to gain muscle mass. To figure this out see below:

(Daily calories x Recommendation) ÷ Number of cals per g =Equals
Carbs 1,135 x 0.45 ÷ 1g of carb is 4 calories 127g carbs a day
Fat 1,135 x 0.15 ÷ 1g of fat is 9 calories 19g fat a day
Protein 1,135 x 0.20 ÷ 1g protein is 4 calories 56g protein a day

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