Calorie Calculator to Lose Weight or Maintain Weight

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To lose weight you need to calculate your daily calorie requirements. In other words, you need to know how many calories you require per day to simply maintain your current weight and how many calories you need to lose weight.

The calorie intake calculator below has 3 different calorie intakes, the first for weight maintenance and the other two for weight loss. Aim to use the “weight loss” daily level of calories, which is 20% less calories than maintenance.

The “extreme weight loss” is 40% below maintenance. This level essentially represents the lowest level, i.e. you should not lower your calorie intake below this point. When you hit a weight loss plateau or find you are unsuccessful in losing weight with a 20% calorie reduction, you can reduce your level to 30% below maintenance. However, you should reserve a severe calorie restriction of 40% below maintenance for exceptional circumstances, such as unsuccessful weight loss despite moderate calorie restriction in conjunction with at least 3 exercise sessions a week.

Do not start with a massive drop in calories. Firstly, this sends your body into panic, triggering a starvation response. Secondly, if you hit a weight loss plateau, you have nowhere to go from there, i.e. you can’t lower your calorie intake further without some serious risks to your health. Therefore, you should aim for gradual calorie reduction.

ZIG-ZAGGING/ CALORIE ROTATION

A great method of keeping the weight loss going, especially after you’ve hit a weight loss plateau or are simply struggling to lose weight, is zig-zagging your calorie intake. Zig-zagging (aka calorie cycling) involves having “high” and “low” calorie days, while providing the same amount of calories per week. Calorie cycling can help keep your body from catching on to your weight loss efforts and is a great alternative to further decreasing your total weekly calorie intake. These numbers are only a guideline/ example of calorie cycling.

Calorie Guidelines

A general rule of thumb is that you should not lower your calorie intake below 1200 calories for women and 1800 calories for men. A second tenet is not to decrease your calorie intake by more than 1000 calories below maintenance.

Remember, you want to burn the fat (exercise with moderate calorie restriction), not starve the fat (severe calorie restriction without exercise). These methods yield entirely different results. However, people who are entirely sedentary may have very low calorie requirements just to maintain your current weight. Their calorie requirements will be close to Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) – the level of calorie your body requires while at rest. Therefore, even a reasonable 500-calorie restriction could push them below the 1200-/ 1800-calorie mark.

Calories needed on average
WomenMen
Maintain Weight2000 – 21002700 – 2900
Lose Weight1400 – 18002200 – 2700

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Your site is AMAZING. I’ve been looking for a calculator like this for AGES. You have such great advice. I love it! Thank you 🙂

  2. In order to know how many calories per day one consumes, is it recommended to actually count the calories of each food, or can one just know to eat healthy…watching portion size, making healthy food choices etc.. Can one still be successful by working it this way?

    Yes, I’m in love with you too!! Such a great website, the best on the web. So motivating to get back on track!

    • Hi Kate,

      Thanks so much! Basically the answer is – it depends. If you have a good grasp of portion control already it will probably work. And you’ll know it’s working because you’re losing weight or maintaining your weight (depending on your goal). However, if you don’t have a good understanding of portion control (and a lot of people don’t!), then your best bet it to count calories for a few months until you have a clear understanding of the calorie content of the foods you eat day to day. Remember not to get caught out with liquid calories, they count too, and can add up to quite a bit if you like soda, fruit juice and other sweet drinks. Hope this helps! 🙂

  3. Great calorie calculator,very accurate and the only one i use myself,i also do calorie cycling this site breaks down the weekly numbers so no need to work things out,calorie cycling is one of the best ways to lose fat tricking your body and mixing things up is the magic !!

  4. OMG! I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE YOUR BLOG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I HAVE INSTAGRAM AND I HAVE TOLD ALL OF MY FOLLOWERS TO VISIT YOUR BLOG!!!

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