A common question I get asked a lot is, “how many calories should I eat daily?.” This is a very good question because, as I’ve said over and over again, the basic principle of weight loss is calories in, calories out. If you violate this rule, you will have a difficult time seeing weight loss. I guarantee it.
I’ve given you a resource for calculating calorie deficit before and you can instantly download this tool from this article: “How to Calculate Your Calorie Deficit”. This tool will give you a good estimate of how many calories you should consume daily but I’ve found that, sometimes, the numbers can be way too high for people outside of the average population which most of these calculations are based on. If you are within the average population, your actual number may vary by a difference of 100-200 calories a day. In reality, this is only a rough starting point. But, after reading a recent e-book from Brad Pilon, I happened upon a better way to calculate your daily calorie intake.
You will most likely remember Brad Pilon as the author of Eat Stop Eat but recently, he came out with a joint project called, Venus Index. Pilon wrote the nutrition manual for Venus Index (VI) while his partner in crime, John Barban, created the amazing workouts. While I’m not ready to fully review the Venus Index yet, I’d like to talk about what I learned from Brad on the nutrition standpoint so far.
The nutrition manual for VI is entitled, “Body Centric Eating Manual.” Brad defines body centric eating as (his own words exactly): With Body-Centric Eating, the ‘end goal’ is a specific body weight and shape. We simply eat to obtain then maintain this shape and weight. With Calorie-Centric Eating, the ‘end goal’ is to eat a mathematically pre-determined amount of calories with hopes that this number will lead to weight loss. Brad also goes on to say that your calorie needs are largely determined by your height and your activity level. We’d like to think that having more muscle or eating more protein will help increase our metabolism which they do, but the increase in metabolism is not significant enough to make a difference in our weight loss efforts. But, I digress…
Brad then gave an ideal weight range for men and women based on their height and the minimum calorie intake we should be eating during extended periods of weight loss. For instance, for me (a female) with a height of 5’4″, my ideal weight range is 108 to 139 lbs. Based on my height, my minimum calorie intake is 1,250 calories a day. This number is lower than what I previously calculated since it does not take into account my activity level because this is a body centric equation. But what this number will do though is it will help me move towards my ideal body shape no matter what my activity level is. With the Venus Index, they suggest you do not go over 50% of your height. In my case, my waist should ideally be 40% of my height which is 25.5 inches.
Keep in mind that I don’t intend to eat 1,250 calories a day. I love food so much that eating as little as this is simply not sustainable. I would go off track on my 3rd day most likely…lol. It’s a great thing I use Eat Stop Eat. Brad suggests to treat 1,250 calories as a rolling average. This means I can have a 24 hour fast eating no calories at all so I can eat a lot more than 1,250 during the days I do eat. If I have confused you already, here is how my daily calorie intake looks like:
- Monday – Start Fast after lunch, eat only 850 calories
- Tuesday – end fast at lunch, eat only 850 calories
- Wednesday – full day of eating, eat 1,750 calories
Since I ate 400 calories less than what I’m supposed to 2 days in a row, I can eat an extra 800 calories on the days I do eat. What I tend to do is save these extra calories over the weekend when my husband and I go out to a nice restaurant or go to a social gathering of some sort. If I add in another 24-hour fast to my week, that is a whopping 1,600 calories extra I can eat over the weekend or on days I’d like to eat more. Now, you can see how I can maintain this “rolling average” of 1,250 calories a day even when I eat more on certain days. To make this simpler, if I multiplied 1,250 by 7 days, I have 8,750 calories to play with during the week and distribute it however I want. So, maybe the right question is “how many calories should I eat in a week?” instead of “how many calories should I eat daily?”.
What Brad has created here is a beautiful thing. Trying to lose weight or “dieting” no longer means canceling all your social functions or dinner with friends because “you can’t eat that stuff.” Really, this is as flexible as you can get. I wish I can post the actual table that Pilon used in the manual but I feel that I will be giving away too much information which he many not appreciate 🙂
But, if you are fully invested in getting results, I suggest you get the manual right now while it is still 40% off. You can get it here: Venus Index Systems. This is hands down, a great investment which will change the way you eat and the way you workout.
This is also one of the best programs developed for women and women only which means that you are not doing some workout designed for a dude. I don’t want to say too much about the workout yet because I am still reviewing it at this moment (i.e. actually doing the workouts in the real world which is my lab…haha) but if you just get this because you are interested in the “Body Centric Eating Manual,” you would have gotten your money’s worth already. All I can say about the workouts is I’m having fun with them.