How Many Calories Should You Eat a Day to Lose Weight?

You can either calculate your daily calorie requirements by using the equations below or using the calorie calculator.

Once you have determined the number of calories you need per day to maintain your current weight (total daily energy expenditure or TDEE), you can also calculate the number of calories you need to lose weight.

Remember that there are 3500 calories in 1lbs. (0.45kg) of fat. Thus, you need to burn 500/ 1000 calories more than you consume each day to lose 1/ 2lbs. of fat per week.

Calories needed on average by men and women:

Average Calories to:WomenMen
Maintain Weight2000 – 21002700 – 2900
Lose Weight1400 – 18002200 – 2700

To determine caloric requirements to maintain current weight (TDEE), follow step 1. and then step 2. to calculate you TDEE.


1. Calculate BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate)

Women BMR = 655 + (9.6 X weight in kg) + (1.8 x height in cm) – (4.7 x age in yrs)
Men BMR = 66 + (13.7 X weight in kg) + (5 x height in cm) – (6.8 x age in yrs)

Note: Multiply the number in brackets first, then you can add and subtract.

For example:

  1. Female
  2. Age: 27 years
  3. Height: 178 cm (5’10’’)
  4. Weight: 69kg  (151lbs.)

Therefore,

BMR   = 665 + (9.6 X 69) + (1.8 x 178) – (4.7 x 27)
1520.9 calories/ day

2.  Calculate Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE)

TDEE = BMR x Activity Factor

Determine your activity factor from the table below and multiply this number by the BMR you just calculated above, to determine your TDEE.

Activity Factor Table
Amount of Exercise/ActivityDescriptionTDEE/ Maintenance
SedentaryLittle or no Exercise/ desk jobTDEE = 1.2 x BMR
Lightly activeLight exercise/ sports 1 – 3 days/ weekTDEE = 1.375 x BMR
Moderately activeModerate Exercise, sports 3 – 5 days/ weekTDEE = 1.55 x BMR
Very activeHeavy Exercise/ sports 6 – 7 days/ weekTDEE = 1.725 x BMR
Extremely activeVery heavy exercise/ physical job/ training 2 x/ dayTDEE = 1.9 x BMR

Therefore,

TDEE = BMR x Activity Factor
TDEE = 1520.9 x 1.375
2091

This 27 year old woman needs 2091 calories per day to maintain her current weight.

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