How Many Calories Should I Eat To Lose Weight?

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Reaching your target weight and rocking your ultimate, healthy body is not magic. There are no secret tricks, puffs of smoke and voila the beautiful assistant appears! No. It’s science.   And quite simple science at that. If we burn more calories than we consume… guess what? We lose weight!!! No way? YES WAY!

So rather than wasting our time with pointless and often counteractive diet fads, or popping over-advertised weight-loss pills, and eventually losing motivation altogether, let’s take a step back and do some maths…



So, how many calories do you need to eat per day to lose weight?

Calculating your ideal caloric intake for weight loss is a relatively simple, three-step process. Once you have figured this out it becomes very easy to stay in control of your body, and it’s not a quick-fix solution, this knowledge will be with you for life… I want to introduce you to the Harris-Benedict equation (for women).

BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)


You just need to plug in your age, height, and weight. The number you get is the total number of calories you need each day to exist (also known as your basal metabolic rate, BMR). For example, a 50-year-woman who is 5′ 7″ and weighs 160 pounds has a basal metabolic rate of 1441 calories.
Since you don’t lie in bed all day , you’ll burn more calories than this. To estimate how many calories you burn during your daily activities, we’ll use the activity factors listed below.

  • Sedentary: Minimal movement, lots of TV watching, reading, etc. Activity factor = 1.4
  • Light activity: Office work, 1 hour of moderate exercise/activity during the day. Activity factor = 1.5
  • Moderate activity: Light physical/manual labor during the day, plus more active lifestyle. Activity factor = 1.6
  • Very Active: Active military, full time athlete, hard physical/manual labor job. Activity factor = 1.9

Next, multiply your activity factor by your BMR. For the example we’re using, we’ll choose an activity factor of 1.5 (common for most people) and multiply that by 1441 calories, giving us 2161 calories. This number is your total caloric needs, or roughly the amount of calories that you need to eat each day to maintain your weight.

Download my printable workout sheet Download my 7 Day Diet Book for iPad

To lose weight, you need to eat LESS than this. How much less? That’s the next step.

Determining how many calories to cut each day is where weight loss becomes more of an art than a science, as there are many variables that can impact the calories in < calories out equation, including:

1.How you exercise- Resistance and interval training will burn more calories after you stop exercising compared to traditional aerobic training.

2. What you eat- High-protein diets burn more calories, as protein takes more effort for your body to digest and metabolize.

3. Your metabolism- The Harris-Benedict equation or any equation that estimates your calorie needs is just that, an ESTIMATE. These equations are based on averages, and you are probably not average. So please don’t take the numbers you generate after reading this article as gospel, but use them as a starting point, put them to the test, and adjust from there.

Traditionally, recommendations are made for individuals to subtract 500 calories from their total calorie needs in order to lose 1-2 pounds per week. This is because a 500-calorie daily deficit yields a 3500-calorie weekly deficit—which is the number of calories you need to burn to lose one pound of fat per week. 

However, if you find  that these reductions are too aggressive feel free to start with a 250 calorie deficit which means you’ll see result you’re happy with but can still eat more and it will set you up for long-term weight loss success. You can always increase your exercise to burn calories rather than cutting out food.

Remember, it’s not going to happen overnight, but if you stay focussed and stick to your plan, IT WILL HAPPEN! 

Download my printable workout sheet Download my 7 Day Diet Book for iPad

Also, it doesn’t have to be the same every day, once you start to know what your calorie intake should look like, you can alternate between having higher calorie days and lower calories days- just make sure at the end of the week, you’re within your right amount.

I am not a doctor so please check with your doc before you take any of my advice.








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