Ever wonder how many calories you need a day for weight loss? We all know that eating too many will cause us to gain weight, but did you know that not eating enough can also cause you to store fat and slow your metabolism so you burn less fat?
Yes, it’s true! Learn more about it in this video:
Now the numbers I gave you in this video are rough estimates.Everyone is different, so just keep that in mind.
Most women to lose weight need between 1400 and 1800 calories, Men it’s a little higher at 2100 to 2500 calories. Obviously, going too high over this can cause you to gain weight, but going too low can be problematic, so I always discourage very low calorie diets.
Now, if you want something a little more specific to your own weight, age, and gender I suggest using the Harris-Benedict Formula. It’s a great way to estimate your caloric needs.
The Harris-Benedict Formula
This formula is used to estimate your maintenance level using your body weight and activity level. For fat loss, create a 20-30% deficit below maintenance.
First, determine your BMR or basal metabolic rate, which is the amount of energy you require for normal body functions at rest (does not include activity). You NEVER want to go below this number. You will essentially be starving yourself.
Men: BMR = 66 + (13.7 X wt in kg) + (5 X ht in cm) – (6.8 X age in years)
Women: BMR = 655 + (9.6 X wt in kg) + (1.8 X ht in cm) – (4.7 X age in years)
Conversions – 1 inch = 2.54 cm., 1 kilogram = 2.2 lbs.
Next, multiple your BMR by the amount of activity you perform on a daily basis to determine your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) or amount of calories you would need to maintain your weight:
Sedentary = BMR X 1.2 (little or no exercise, desk job)
Lightly active = BMR X 1.375 (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/wk)
Mod. active = BMR X 1.55 (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/wk)
Very active = BMR X 1.725 (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days/wk)
Extr. active = BMR X 1.9 (hard daily exercise/sports & physical job
Or 2X day training, i.e marathon, competition etc.)
And if you are trying to lose weight the final step is calculating a 15-20% deficit from your TDEE level and that gives you an idea of how many calories you should eat a day! So take the number calculated above for your TDEE and multiply by .85 and .80 to get a range for your recommended caloric intake to lose weight. Woila!
Ok, I now that’s a lot of math, and can be a bit confusing, so let me give you an example:
For example, the BMR and maintenance level, or TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) for a 150 lb (68.18 kgs), 29 year old female, that is 5’9” (175.26 cm) would be:
BMR = 655 + (9.6 x 68.18) + (1.8 x 175.26) – (4.7 x 29) = 655 + 654.53 + 315.47 – 136.3 = 1488 cals
TDEE or maintenance level = 1488 x 1.55 ( moderate activity level) = 2306 cals
Caloric intake for weight loss = 2306 x .70 = 1614 cals or 2306 x .20 = 1844 cals
So this female would want to eat between 1614 and 1844 calories per day to lose weight.
So now it’s your turn. How many calories a day should you be eating for your goals?