What is BMR, DCI, and DCO?: Why You Need to Burn More Calories Than You Put Into Your Body to Lose Weight


There are so many sites and people out there telling you to use your BMR, DCO and DCI. Awesome right? WRONG!!!

How exactly are you suppose to use something that you know absolutely nothing about. Plus, how does it relate to the whole burn more calories thing?

I’m going to help you with that confusion and overwhelm that you are feeling right about now. I will walk you through what these acronyms actually mean and how you can apply them to you daily life.

Take a deep breath…let it out…relax

It is extremely important to know and understand your numbers. Since everyone’s body is different, our daily calorie needs are different. The numbers that you need to know are your BMR, DCI, and DCO. (I will explain all of these.) There are several ways to determine each of these numbers for uniquely you:


(Basal Metabolic Rate) The amount of calories your body burns, while at rest, each day:

The most accurate way to learn this number is a with a “dunk test” (hydrostatic body-fat testing). This is where they submerge you in water and record your weight. Many universities offer this, as well as some mobile units. You can learn more about the mobile units at www.bodyfattest.com and www.getdunked.com. These sites will provide you with information and locations where you can have the testing done.

You could also use a Bodybugg or Fitbit gadget that record accurate, daily calorie expenditures (or DCO). They run between $100 and $300, but are well worth the investment.

A third option you have for calculating your own numbers are to use math and solve equations. These are great equations, but keep in mind that they are estimates.

Women BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)

Example using my numbers

age = 29 height = 69 inches weight = 163.6 pounds

655 + (4.35 x 163.6) + (4.7 x 69) – (4.7 x 29)

655 + (711.66) + (304.3) – (136.3)

BMR = 1534.66 calories that my body burns per day just by sitting around.

Men BMR = 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years)

The final way to determine your BMR is with a free website. These sites use formulas similar to the one above, so keep in mind that they are just estimates as well rather than 100% accurate. A couple sites are:

Discovery Health: health.discovery.com/centers/heart/basal/basal.html
SparkPeole: www.sparkpeople.com

lawrence simon


(Daily Calorie Intake) The amount of calories you consume each day.

This number is determined by tracking everything you put into your mouth. Again, there are a few ways that you can do this on your own:

You can use the serving sized of what ever item you are eating and look up the calories for each, then at them all up.

Who has time for that?

There are also several apps and websites that allow you to do this for free. My favorite is Sparkpeople. I will write everything down (food & quantities) in a journal throughout the day, then track it online later when I have some free time.


(Daily Calorie Output) For my purpose this is the amount of extra calories you burn through exercise.

This can be tracked using a Bodybugg/Fitbit device, or by inserting the activity into a calorie calculator app or online. I use Sparkpeople for this, for me it is the easiest and most user friendly site I have found. Also, I journal my exercise as soon as I complete it. I write what I did, how long, and how it makes me and my body feel.

Keeping in mind that burning 3500 calories a week is equal to losing one pound a week, you can plan how much you are going to lose. Use this equation DCI – (BMR + DCO).

Let’s say I eat 1500 calories today and burn 700 through exercise, here is how I would figure out what I am going to lose this week.

1500 – (1534.66 + 700)

1500 – (2234.66) = -734.66 calories per day

-734.66 x 7 = -5142.62 calories per week

= approximately 1.47 pounds lost per week

This all seemed a bit confusing to me when I first began, as well.  Ask any questions that may have below, or schedule your free Get Me Started call to begin figuring out your numbers.

What are your thoughts? Share them below, I love your feedback.

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