How Many Calories a Day to Lose Weight

Do you ever wonder how many calories you should eat each day in order to lose weight? The first step is to figure out how many calories you burn daily. The article below will teach you how to figure this out and provide some tips if your goal is to lose weight to help you avoid hitting that weight loss plateau that many experience while

To figure out the amount of calories you naturally burn each day, you need to calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). BMR is an estimate of the number of calories your body burns each day to just function without doing anything. It doesn’t include the calories you burn from working out, playing sports or doing daily activities.

BMR takes into account your height, weight, age and gender. As you get older, your metabolism tends to naturally decrease.

Once you have your BMR, you then need to take into account your activity level (sedentary/lightly active/moderately active/very active/extra active) and multiply it by the associated activity level number. The answer you get is an approximate number of calories your body burns as you go about your business each day.

If you want a shortcut to figure out your BMR, then you can enter your details into a BMR calculator which will do all the math for you. But if you want to know how to figure it out yourself, then grab a calculator and lets walk through your calculation now with your gender specific formula listed below.

BMR Formula for Women:

655 + (4.35 x weight in lbs) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in yrs)

BMR Formula for Men:

66 + (6.23 x weight in lbs) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in yrs)

After you get your BMR, then you need to take into account your activity level to determine your total daily calorie needs. Each is defined for you here to let you make your final calculation. Remember, this is just an estimate.

If your workouts vary each day and you know how many calories you are burning, you may want to just use your BMR and calculate how many calories you burn each day. This takes more work but if you are using cardio equipment which gives you the calories burned from the workout, you can do it this longer way too.

For those who want a more general number to use and not have to figure it out every day, then you want to multiply your BMR by the appropriate activity factor, as follows:

Sedentary (little or no exercise ):  BMR x 1.2
Lightly active
(light exercise/sports 1-3 days/wk):  BMR x 1.375
Moderately active
(moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/wk):  BMR x 1.55
Very active
(hard exercise/sports 6-7 days/wk):  BMR x 1.725
Extra active
(very hard exercise/sports/physical job or 2x training):  BMR x 1.9

Now you have  your daily calorie intake which is the number of calories you burn each day and is based on your individual factors and activity level.

How to Use Daily Calorie Intake Lose Weight

To lose weight, you want to eat less than your daily calorie intake number, HOWEVER, one tip for you — it is best to vary your calories each day so your body doesn’t get used to the same amount everyday, even if you go over that number on some days. Here’s an example of this.

If your Daily Calorie Intake = 1500, you could alternate between 1000-1900 something like this:
Day 1 eat 1200 calories
Day 2 eat 1700 calories
Day 3 eat 1000 calories
Day 4 eat 1900 calories
Day 5 eat 1100 calories 

Psst…Weight Loss Strategy Secret – Why the Range Works


Try to stay in a range, but make a point of not doing too many low days in row because your body goes into storage mode – it thinks it is not going to get enough calories, this in turn lowers your metabolism, so you burn less fat.

By mixing it up, and even having a high day thrown in here and there, you are keeping your body guessing so it does not get accustomed to the same exact amount each day.

If you are trying to lose weight by drastically cutting calories, your body will be working against you as it stores calories thinking it is not getting enough food. It may sound weird, but eating more can actually help you lose weight in some instances.

Weight Loss & Weight Gain Examples Using BMR

So how many calories do you need to reduce each day so you can lose weight? Well, 1 pound = 3600 calories so every time you have a 3600 calorie deficit, you lose a pound.

If you take your BMR, then add any workout calories burned and subtract your food intake, you are left with either the excess calories you burned, the amount you went over, or if you get zero, then you burned exactly what you ate for the day.

Weight loss example:
BMR + Workout calories burned – Food intake

2000(BMR) + 300(Workout) – 1900(Food) = 400 calorie deficit

Weight gain example:
BMR + Workout calories burned – Food intake

2000(BMR) + 200(Workout) – 2500(Food) = 300 calorie overage

Maintained weight example:
BMR + Workout calories burned – Food intake

1800(BMR) + 300(Workout) – 2100(Food) = 0 calories

Every time you reach a 3600 calorie deficit, you have lost 1 pound. Now keep in mind, some days you may be under and others you may be over, so how long it takes and how many calories you burn each day will vary based on what you eat and what you do.


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