When you start your ketogenic lifestyle you usually follow personal macros at a moderate deficit on your TDEE. You will also hear the advice to never eat below your BMR. Are you a bit confused about the difference between the two? Then read on.
What is BMR?
Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the amount of calories your body burns at rest. They are the calories you would burn if you did absolutely nothing but lie down for 24 hours. These calories are used to breathe, keep your heart beating, make your blood circulate, digest your food, and for delivering their nutrients to cells. Your BMR is calculated through a proper keto macro calculator. It uses a formula consisting of your height, weight, bodyfat%, age, and gender.
If you look at the image below of my own maintenance macros, you can see my BMR (red arrowed) is 1234 calories. As you can imagine, eating below my BMR can not be good for my health. Not being able to support my body’s basic functions will eventually lead to my whole sytem to fall apart.
What is TDEE?
Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) consists of your BMR PLUS the calories your body burns daily while working, playing and exercising. You can again find this number by using the same macro calculator and then have the calculator add an activity level factor to it. The levels of activity range from sedentary, lightly active, moderately active to very active. Always make sure the calculator you use includes your activity level. This helps you to compare your TDEE to your BMR.
If you look again at the image below you can see my TDEE (green arrowed). This calculator calls it, ‘calories to consume’, and it is 1628 calories. Those are the calories I need to eat to sustain my body’s basic functions AND to give me the energy to go about my daily business.
So what do I pay attention to?
When you have your TDEE number, you have all the information you need to set your weight goals. Generally speaking:
- to gain weight you will need to eat above TDEE
- to maintain weight you will need to eat at TDEE
- to lose weight you will need to eat below TDEE
A proper calculator will show the exact surplus (for weight gain) or deficit (for weight loss). For a healthy weight loss I always advise to choose a small to moderate deficit on your TDEE at most.
Keep in mind though these are just general guidelines. For someone who has a prior history of crash dieting and chronic caloric restriction I usually advise at first to eat at TDEE or even above. A damaged metabolism always needs to be repaired before healthy weight loss can be considered.
Do you have any questions about this? Feel free to contact me: