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How to accurately calculate appropriate # of calories, % of macros, etc. for healthy weight loss?

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Updated February 18, 2014 at 1:08 PM
Created February 18, 2014 at 3:46 AM

I am really stumped on the best method for figuring out how much I should eat for safe weight loss as well as the best ratios for protein/fat/carbs. Some paleo advice veers toward "don't worry, eat all the meat!" and other is more like, "but not that much!" There are a number of on-line calculators out there, but every one I try gives me different numbers. Or partial answers...or no decent choices for activity levels (what the heck does "fairly active" actually mean???)...or the old saw of 500 calories less per day...or.... Well, you get my drift. Does anyone have a formula/site/advice that they have successfully used as a guideline?

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41312 · February 18, 2014 at 1:08 PM

Don't get hung up on exact numbers. There are numerous models out there to that estimate your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), which is the number of calories you burn daily through normal activity and to maintain bodyweight. This is different than you BMR which is the calories you burn to maintain your body before taking into account activity. They're all within a couple hundred calories of each other. Subtract 500 calories (applicable to 90+% of dieters) and go to town. Use an online calculator to figure it all out, there are a number of them out there, many with smartphone apps that make things even easier.

Macros? There's no one correct macro ratio. Generally once you cut out grains and dairy, your macros will tend towards lower carbohydrate (maybe 30%). Cutting fruit and starchy veggies can push you below 20% carbohydrate. Food choices are more important than macronutrient ratios, in my opinion. Just eat real food, and not too much.

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255 · February 18, 2014 at 4:58 AM

Easiest way would be to just plug what you eat and your weight/height gender/paleo into cronometer.com; This one seems pretty accurate, atleast for me.

Macros are almost 100% subjective, you can lose weight eating anything if you restrict your calories enough. Paleo tend to favor higher fats then protein and carbs customized to your activity level. This isn't rocket science, you don't need to be 100% accurate, just don't eat sugar and stay atleast 200 calories below whatever estimate they give you and do some working out for good measure.

...don't eat more than 35~% of your calories from protein or more than 1.5g/lb lean weight.

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