How to Lose Weight, Mathematically

The amount of energy expended by animals at rest, including humans, is known as the basal metabolic rate, or BMR. Think of it as the amount of fuel burned every 24 hours to keep your body at 37°C degrees as you sleep. We can estimate the rate for each individual by using the so-called Harris–Benedict equation (Mifflin and St. Jeor, 1990):

Determining the basal metabolic rate (BMR) is useful because, combined with an estimation for your physical activity level (PAL), it can be used to determine your total energy expenditure (TEE) also known as the amount of calories you need to consume daily in order to maintain your body weight over time. Subtract a certain percentage from that daily, and your body weight over time begins behaving like a mortgage — slowly but surely it gets paid off as both the principle (your body weight) and the payments (your necessary daily calorie deficit) decrease over time. Continue reading