A weight loss calculator is a great tool to help you lose weight. This type of specialized calculator gathers basic information about your height, weight, age, gender, and activity level on a daily basis.
Then, taking into account the amount of weight you want to lose and how much time you have, it will lay out what your basic caloric needs are and how many calories you need to cut out daily in order for you to reach your goal. This single tool will allow you to establish your starting point, set specific weight loss goals, and monitor your progress as you progress.
You may be quite familiar with using a BMI calculator already but read on to learn how to effectively use a weight loss calculator to monitor your BMR, and create a nutrition and exercise plan that will help you succeed.
Weight Loss and Basal Metabolic Rate
One of the reasons for using the weight loss calculator is to determine your basal metabolic rate, or BMR. Your basal metabolic rate is defined as the minimum amount of calories that your body needs to function at a basic level. In other words it is the amount of calories your body needs for repairing cells, maintaining internal temperature, pumping blood, breathing, etc.
Once your BMR is established, it is a lot easier to determine what your other caloric needs are on a daily basis. What and how much you eat, as well as your exercise level and frequency, are extremely important when your goal is weight loss. However, if you don’t have a good idea what your basal metabolic rate is, the path to weight loss may be very frustrating.
A variety of things can affect the basal metabolic rate:
- Muscle: One is the amount of muscle that you have. Muscle burns more calories than fat, even at rest, so the more muscle one has the higher the basal metabolic rate.
- Body Temperature and Injury: A higher internal body temperature and fighting off an injury raise the BMR; although they are not positive ways to increase weight loss.
- Dietary Intake: Medications, refined sugars, and foods high in saturated fat decrease your BMR.
Weight Loss and Food Intake
Once your BMR is established, you can begin to work on determining daily caloric intake. The general idea is that if you eat more calories than you burn off, you will gain weight. Conversely, if you take in fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight.
This is where knowing your basal metabolic rate comes in handy. The more you are aware of how many calories you burn in a day, the more you will be able to tailor your eating habits. Knowing your BMR will give you a basis of your minimal calorie needs. Once you factor in your daily activity level, you will have a much better idea about how many calories you burn and how many you should take in.
It is not only important to consider how much you eat but also what you eat when hoping to lose weight. If, in order to lose weight you need to eat less, the key is to eat high quality, high nutritional food so that every calorie is used beneficially by the body.
This means lean, quality protein, complex carbohydrates, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats. As stated before, foods that are high in refined sugars decrease your BMR so you are halting your progress with that type of food. Saturated fats also decrease your BMR, but food that contains healthy fats, such as essential fatty acids (EFA’s), are needed for essential functions in the body and to help keep a positive BMR.
When you eat is also important. Your metabolism stays at a higher level, which means you burn more calories, when you eat smaller meals more frequently. You are better off having 5-6 smaller meals/snacks every 3 hours or so than to have 3 big meals.
It is ideal if you can avoid eating for 2 to 3 hours before going to bed. Also, eating within 30 minutes of waking up will jumpstart your metabolism right away, keep it at a higher level throughout the day, and keep you satisfied so you don’t overeat later in the day.
Weight Loss and Activity Level
It is not news to anyone that exercise is good for losing weight. For some people when they hear that they think of running a marathon, going on a six hour hike, or spending hours in a gym lifting weights next to a huge body builder. This does not have to be the case. There are many different types of exercises to choose from to stay healthy and fit.
Part of the reason for using a weight loss calculator is to determine your activity level. Those who are active have higher BMR’s than those who are not. Again, this doesn’t have to mean exercising at the gym for hours a day. Someone who works 8 hours at a desk or computer will more than likely have a lower BMR than a construction worker or a server who is on their feet and moving all day.
Once the weight loss calculator determines your results, you can choose to incorporate daily activity however you choose. Obviously if you increase your physical activity, whether it is through walking, working in the garden, running, playing volleyball, taking a bike ride, or taking the stairs rather than the elevator, you will burn more calories.
Along with increasing the amount of cardio you do you may also consider weight training. As stated before the more muscle you have the more calories you burn, even at rest. Lifting weights will increase your muscle mass and will help you burn calories even when you are not at the gym. Ultimately the perfect combination for activity is a mix of cardio and strength training.
Weight Loss Calculator Benefits
There are multiple benefits to using the weight loss calculator. If you don’t know where you are starting from it is difficult to move one way or the other. The weight loss calculator helps you figure out where you are starting from. Once you see how many calories you are burning at rest, and then factor in calories you burn from your normal activity level, you can go from there.
Once you know your baseline, you can choose to change your eating habits by what you eat and when you eat. You can also choose instead to increase your activity level, whether through cardio, weights, or both. Ultimately, the things that will achieve the best results and will last the longest are combining both healthy eating habits with a fun and regular exercise program. This will result in the most weight loss.
Get started using the free online weight loss calculator above right now!