I am asked often by friends and co-workers about what are some healthy food choices they can make. First let me say I am no expert and if you really want to get some professional opinion seek out a certified nutritionist. The reality about food choices is that we all know what we should be eating, we just choose to made poor decisions. Here are a couple of easy guidelines to follow: eat natural not processed, (fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, good fats, lean meats) and at each meal try to make a 1% change for the better.

The other question that often is raised is how much should I eat. The answer that depends on your lifestyle and activity level. This would be based on your Basic Metabolic Rate (BMR); the amount of calories that your body would burn at complete rest.

There are a couple of ways you can determine this number of calories; the best being a specific test performed by a doctor or technician. Another less accurate way is by buying a scale that uses a very small electrical impulse to measure body fat and therefore it can estimate you BMR. Still another way to estimate you BMR is by working a formula using your height weight and age.

In Friday’s edition of our local newspaper, The Tennessean, a brief article was posted in the health section about Basic Metabolic Rate (BMR). In the article the formula was published. The formula is different for men and women. Once the basic formula is worked then you take it one step further by figuring in your activity level. Here are the formulas:

BMR for Women

655 (plus) (4.35 x weight in pounds) (plus) (4.7 x height in inches) (minus) (4.7 x age.)

BMR for Men

66 (plus) (6.23 x weight in pounds) (plus) (12.7 x height in inches) (minus) (6.8 x age.)

Sedentary – BMR x 1.2

Lightly Active – BMR x 1.375 (light exercise 1 to 3 days a week.)

Moderately Active – BMR x 1.55 (moderate exercise 3 to 5 days a week)

Very Active – BMR x 1.75 (vigorous exercise 6 to 7 days a week)

Extremely active – BMR x 1.9 (intense exercise or sports training 6 to 7 days a week.)

Here is how it works out for me:

66 + (6.23 x 155) + (12.7 x 67) – (6.8 x 49) = 1549.35

I consider myself somewhere between moderately active and very active so for the purposes of this formula I will use moderately active.

1549.35 x 1.55 = 2401.5

According to these calculations I can eat 2401 calories a day.

Take a few minutes and calculate your BMR with the formula above and it will give you a good estimate of how much you should eat everyday. But remember it is important to eat good foods. And if you need to make changes to your eating habits, make small changes that you can live with.