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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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How Much Do You Burn?

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The million dollar question that I often get asked: how many calories do I need to lose or gain weight? You would think that as a dietitian this is a logical and easy question for me to answer. However, it is not that simple. It is really a "guess-timate" for us to figure out calorie needs.

We can measure metabolism using various devices that measure oxygen input and carbon dioxide output. These tend to be fairly accurate for metabolism but then we have to estimate how many calories we are burning through daily activity and exercise. This is where it gets tricky and it can be off by a lot. Even a little bit can make a big difference when monitoring your weight. Remember, just an extra 100 calories per day can lead to 10 pounds of weight gain over a calendar year.

If you can't get your metabolism measured by a dietitian or other health professional, check out www.nutritiondata.com to estimate your calories using calculations.

Do you watch The Biggest Loser? Have you see their arm bands? It is called the bodybugg and they are fairly accurate for telling how many calories a person is burning all day long. The down side is wearing it on your arm without drawing attention to it. I used one of these years ago and was devastated when I realized that I was only burning about 65 calories for each mile I was running instead of the 100 calories per mile that I thought I was burning!

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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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