How many calories should I eat a day to lose weight

calories in foodIf you are one of the millions of people that ask themselves 'how many calories should I eat a day?' then you have come to the right place. This page will provide you with the simple information that you require in order to work out the answer to the following questions, 'how many calories should I eat to lose weight' and 'how many calories should I eat to maintain weight?'. Once you know how to control your weight by counting the calories that you eat you will be surprised at just how easy it is to lose any extra pounds that you don't want or need! Checking out our how many calories should I eat to lose weight calculator could be one of the best decisions that you ever make as this simple calculation will be able to tell you almost exactly the amount of calories that you as an individual should be consuming on a daily basis just to maintain your current weight.

How many calories do I need a day

The amount of calories that are needed per day vary from person to person and in order to work out this information you are going to need to know various pieces of information about yourself that are going to help you make your calculation. Below in our how many calories should I eat a day to lose weight calculator section we are going to provide you with a simple explanation as to how you can make your own calculation to figure out how many calories you need a day.

By answering the question 'how many calories do I need a day?' then you are simply finding out the number of calories that your body requires to work normally, for all of the processes that take place in your body throughout the day to take place efficiently. The number that you get from this calculation will see you maintain the same weight if you consume that exact amount of calories each day, if you eat more than that you will gain weight and if you eat less than that then you will lose weight. Obviously weight does not really fluctuate day by day so you have to think that consistently eating over this amount will see you put weight on and consistently eating below the amount will see you lose weight over time.

This is all very straight forward and it really does work if you are able make sure that you count the calories that you consume and do not cheat because remember you are only cheating yourself! So if you want to know the answer to the burning question 'how many calories should I eat a day' then please check out our next section.

How many calories should I eat a day to lose weight calculator

Most people will ask themselves 'how many calories should I eat a day?' but will be put off as soon as they find out that they need to make some sort of calculation, trust me this is not difficult and this really is the best way to find out the calories needed to lose weight, maintain weight or even gain weight if you wanted to. There is no better way to take a hold of your calorie intake than this method and we have even explained in very simple terms what you need to do to make it as easy as possible. The number that you are looking for out of this calorie calculator is what is referred to as your 'basal metabolic rate' or 'BMR'.

Make sure you check out our examples of how many calories to eat in a day as these simplify the calorie calculation even further!

In order to make this calculation you are going to need a pen, paper and a calculator, if you do not have a calculator don't worry you can still work out how many calories are needed in a day by using an online calculator, just open a new window and search for one on a search engine.

You also need to know:

  • Your weight
  • Your age
  • Your height

The Basal Metabolic Rate formula that we have highlighted below is used by the World Health Organization and can be used as a basic guideline for you in order to calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate from the comfort of your own home. As we have already stated the point of the Basal Metabolic Rate calculator is to determine how many calories an individual needs to burn at a minimum, as this works out the calories required for a body that is resting for the day and not physically exerting itself. The figure you will get from the Basal Metabolic Rate calculator is your daily calorific need.

  • Basal Metabolic Rate formula for women - [ 655+(9.6 x weight kg) + (1.7 x height cm) - (4.7 x age) ]
  • Basal Metabolic Rate formula for men - [ 66+(13.7 x weight kg) + (5 x height cm) - (6.8 x age) ]

The above equation does not take into consideration the composition of your body, which is a measurement of the percentages of both muscle and fat that your individual body is made up of. Therefore it is less accurate if you have a non-typical amount of muscle because muscle burns calories, whereas fat does not.

A person who has an above average amount of muscle will have a higher Basal Metabolic Rate or Resting Metabolic Rate than calculated; a person with a below average amount of muscle will have a lower Basal Metabolic Rate or Resting Metabolic Rate than calculated.

If your goal is to reduce your weight by burning off excess body fat, try to eat 500 less calories each day than your daily calorific needs, and also maintain or increase your exercise activity.

As your Resting Metabolic Rate only represents resting energy expenditure, an adjustment needs to be made to reflect your level of activity. You can do this by multiplying your RMR or BMR by an activity factor (this factor was put forward by McArdle et al 1996).

Activity Factor

  • 1.2 - Sedentary - Little to no exercise each day
  • 1.375 - Lightly Active - Light exercise or sports 1-3 days each week
  • 1.55 - Moderately Active - Light exercise or sports 3-5 days a week
  • 1.725 - Very Active - Hard Exercise or sports 6-7 days a week
  • 1.9 Extremely Active - Hard daily exercise or sports plus a physical occupation

Examples to help you answer the question 'how many calories should I eat a day?':

  • A woman who is 30 years old, 5ft 5 inches (165.1cm) tall and weighs 140 pounds (63.6kg)
  • [ 655 + 610.56(9.6 x 63.6) + 280.67(1.7 x 15.1) - 141(4.7 x 30) ] = 1405.23 calories per day
  • You will then need to multiply 1405.23 by the activity factor that applies to you.

If you deem yourself as sedentary then this is then 1405.23 x 1.2 = 1.686.27

A man who is 35 years old, 6 ft 3 inches (190.5cm) tall and weighs 196 pounds (89.1kg)

[ 66 + 1220.67(13.7 x 89.1) + 952.5(5 x 190.5) - 238 (6.8 x 35)] = 2001.17 calories per day

You will then need to multiply 1405.23 by the activity factor that applies to you.

Please note that the above calorie calculations are approximations.

The above calorie calculator works out how many calories that you need a day but if you want to be able to lose weight then you should be eating less than this consistently. Obviously by this we do not mean starving yourself and eating 200 calories a day but by reducing your total by 300 to 500 calories is a good start as well as getting more exercise.

We hope that our how many calories should I eat a day to lose weight calculator has been useful to you and that it is simple for you to work out for yourself.

How many calories to maintain weight

Now that you have gained the knowledge to work out how many calories you should be eating a day with our how many calories should I eat a day to lose weight calculator you are in a prime position to be able to decide how many calories are needed to maintain weight and also how many calories are needed to lose weight.

The key is to be able to calorie count every day and not to miss things out. Everything that you eat and drink has a calorific value and this is displayed on the nutritional information on the label. Once you get into a routine of noting down the amount of calories that you are consuming a day it will be easy but obviously by doing this you can easily make sure that you are eating the right amount of calories. If you want to lose weight then make sure the daily amount of calories that you consume does not exceed the number you have obtained from the above calorie calculation.

When we say note down your calorie intake it is as simple as carrying around a notebook or keeping a note on your cell phone of the calories that are included in everything that you are eating and drinking. Add these up at the end of the day so that you have a daily total and keep a record of these over the week and month. Adjust your calorie intake by deciding what you can take out of your daily eating habits to get your calorific intake to your own magic number.

Because everyone's age, height and weight are different you must make sure that you do this calculation yourself and not just take a guess or try and eat the same amount of calories as somebody else that is around about the same as you in these details.

More than how many calories do I need to lose weight

As we have made clear, if you want to know the answer to 'how many calories do I need to lose weight?' then you are simply using the above calculation and then setting yourself a lower benchmark of calories per day that you must not exceed. If you want to find out further information on the calories found in many common foods and liquids then please take a look around the other pages on our site.

Remember that our how many calories should I eat a day to lose weight calculator is the best way to work out the amount of calories that you should be consuming and as long as you have a few exact details on yourself and a calculator then you are going to have no problems in maintaining your weight or losing weight in the future just by adjusting the calories that you eat.

We can also provide you with further information on your resting metabolic rate and basal metabolic rate as well as how to increase your metabolism please check out our site on metabolism boosting foods.


Disclaimer: The text on calories in foods.com is for your information only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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