``What you burn'' is the number of calories your body uses to provide the energy for everything you do, from heartbeats and breathing to running a marathon. The daily calorie requirement varies quite a bit from person to person depending on size, shape, basic metabolic rate, and degree of physical activity. A rough estimate of calories per day can be obtained by multiplying the ideal weight for your height and body type by a number based on your level of physical activity, ranging from 11 for a pure couch potato to 17 for a person engaged in heavy physical labour or strenuous exercise on a daily basis.
The following tables give estimates of the calories burned per day for men and women at their ideal weight, based on height and body type. The lower number is based on a level of activity characteristic of an office worker who does not exercise, and the high number assumes a moderate degree of physical activity, either as part of your work or through an exercise program. No table like this can be precise--use these numbers only as general guidelines. As you gain control over your weight, you'll determine precisely how many calories you burn every day.
Height in these tables is your barefoot height. ``Frame'' is a measure of the robustness of your skeleton; people vary in this regard from the extremes of ``fragile wisp'' to ``hulkin' bruiser.'' If you aren't sure where you fall on that scale, don't sweat it. As you can see from the table, the variation based on your level of activity and other factors accounts for almost as much as your frame size.
The odds are the number of calories you burn every day will fall within the range given in these tables based on your sex, height, and build. This number is of surpassing importance to anybody interested in controlling his or her weight, yet few people are aware of how many calories they burn every day.
By John Walker