Counting calories is critical to managing weight. But how does a person know how many calories per day are sufficient to remain healthy and how many are excessive?
It comes down to body composition and physical activity, according to authorities at the Center for Human Nutrition in Omaha, Neb., who have devised this method to estimate how many calories a person burns in a day.
Multiply your weight by the figure below that best describes your activity level for most of your waking hours:
Sitting, standing and driving are very light activities. Walking, bowling and golfing are light. Cycling, dancing and jogging are moderate. Rock climbing, basketball and soccer are heavy.
Thus, a 130-pound woman who spends much of her day at a keyboard and doesn't exercise likely would need no more than 1,755 calories a day if she wants to avoid gaining weight.
There's another way to calculate your calorie needs: Weigh yourself. Changes in your weight over several weeks will tell you whether you are consuming too many or too few calories.
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