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How Many Calories To Eat To Lose Weight

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If you are planning to lose weight reducing Calories intake is an effective way to do so. While it might be obvious to think that if Calories are the reason for weight gain, cutting them down drastically would be a sensible thing to do so. But is it that simple? In this article let us uncover more details on the Calorie intake and understand how many calories per day you should eat to lose weight!

Understanding Calories

A calorie is a unit that measures energy. In scientific terms one calorie is the amount of energy it takes to increase the temperature of 1g water by 1 degree Celsius. It is used to estimate how much energy is stored in the chemical bonds within food we eat and in turn the energy our bodies have to run on. The amount of energy in an item of food or drink is therefore measured in calories.

When we eat and drink we are putting energy into our bodies and our bodies use this energy for every function such as movement, breathing, running etc.

If we understand above then it should be quite easy to understand that –

  • To maintain weight your need to eat as much calories as your body burns each day
  • To lose weight you need to eat fewer calories than your body burns each day and
  • To gain weight you need to eat more calories than your body burns each day

While the above concept on calorie intake and out might seem simple there are many factors that contribute to weight loss such as age, genetics and hormonal changes. Certain medical conditions may as well make it difficult to manage a healthy weight.

Developing a healthy lifestyle and having a balanced healthy diet is a sure shot method to lose weight and manage it on a longer run. The reason is that you may want to lose weight today but it is equally important to not lose on nutritions essential for your body and also maintain healthy weight life long.

It must be remembered that one diet plan that works for you today may need some adjustments later as your calorie consumptions will vary as you age.

How many calories should you eat to reduce weight?

To determine how many calories you should eat to lose weight, you need to consider several factors, including your basal metabolic rate (BMR), activity level, and weight loss goals. Here’s a step-by-step guide to find out how many calories to eat to lose weight:

1. Calculate Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

Your BMR is the number of calories your body needs at rest to maintain basic bodily functions. You can use the Harris-Benedict equation to estimate your BMR. The formula is as follows –


To calculate BMR for men you can use following formula –

BMR=88.362+(13.397 × weight in kg)+(4.799×height in cm)−(5.677×age in years)


To calculate BMR for women you can use following formula –

BMR=447.593+(9.247×weight in kg)+(3.098×height in cm)−(4.330×age in years)

2. Calculate Your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE)

Your TDEE (Total daily energy expenditure) is an estimate of how many calories you burn per day, considering your activity level. To calculate your TDEE you need to multiply your BMR number by an activity factor. Check out how to calculate this based on whether you are sedentary, moderate or super active.

  • Sedentary (little or no exercise): BMR x 1.2
  • Lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week): BMR x 1.375
  • Moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week): BMR x 1.55
  • Very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week): BMR x 1.725
  • Super active (very hard exercise/physical job & exercise 2x/day): BMR x 1.9

3. Determine Your Caloric Intake for Weight Loss

To lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit. A common recommendation is to reduce your caloric intake by 500 to 1000 calories per day to lose about 0.5 to 1 kg (1 to 2 pounds) per week. Therefore if you have to lose weight you can determine how many calories to eat to lose your weight by following method –

Calories for Weight Loss= TDEE − (500 to 1000)


Let us understand above calculations with the help of an example. Let us consider that Monica is a 30 years female and her activity level is moderate. Then in such case if she would like to know how many calories to eat to lose weight then she can perform following steps –

Key parameters for calculation would be –

  • Gender: Female
  • Age: 30 years
  • Weight: 70 kg
  • Height: 165 cm
  • Activity Level: Moderately active

Step 1: Calculate BMR

As first step she need to know about her height, weight and age to calculate her BMR value via the formula –

BMR=447.593+(9.247×weight in kg)+(3.098×height in cm)−(4.330×age in years)


BMR = 447.593 + (9.247 x 70) + (3.098 x 165) – (4.330 x 30)
BMR = 447.593 + 647.29 + 511.17 – 129.9
BMR = 1476.153

Step 2: Calculate TDEE

Now once we have calculated the BMR value we need to calculate the TDEE for her. For this she need to know how active she is. As per the initial parameters for this example we know that she is moderate active, therefore by using the relevant TDEE formula we can calculate the TDEE value.

TDEE = BMR x 1.55
TDEE = 1476.153 x 1.55
TDEE = 2287.038

Step 3: Calculate Caloric Intake for Weight Loss

Once we have calculated the TDEE value for her we can now calculate how many calories she need to eat to lose weight.

Calories for Weight Loss = 2287.038 – 500 to 1000
Calories for Weight Loss = 1287.038 to 1787.038

As per above example, if Monica need to lose weight, she should aim to consume between 1287 and 1787 calories per day, depending on her weight loss goals.

We do not recommend very aggressive method to lose weight since it is very difficult for many people to continue and follow for long period of time.

Important Considerations

Here are few important considerations before you start planning out your weight loss journey using the above method.

  • Individual Variation: These calculations are mere estimates and can vary since each individual metabolism can vary. Therefore, each person can see varied results.
  • Nutritional Balance: Ensure your diet remains nutritionally balanced even when cutting calories. Basically we would like to avoid junk and focus on healthy meals.
  • Professional Guidance: In case you are a bit unsure or may need additional support and guidance consider consulting a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian for personalised advice. Healthcare providers and nutritionists are well equipped to help prepare a custom diet plan for you.

Bottom Line

As discussed in this article before boarding on your journey to weight loss it is a good idea to know more about calories and how to manage them. To lose weight one of the key aspects would be to create enough calorie deficit that you can easily maintain. To compute how many calories to eat to lose weight we understood how to calculate BMR and Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE).

Above values are highly dependent on how much active lifestyle you follow. Also, we need to understand that each human body functions quite differently and everybody has their own metabolism rate. Due to may such factors these numbers best serve as a guide which can be used in your weight loss journey.

We recommend that to enable better results you should exercise at-least 3 to 4 days a week and include healthy meals in your daily lifestyle.