How Many Calories Do I Need To Lose Weight
Most people need to eat about 1500 calories per day to lose weight. This is because most people eat at least 2000 calories per day and if you want to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you eat. The calculator on this page shows you how many calories you burn each day, so aim to eat less than this to lose weight.
Is It Healthy To Eat 1200 Calories A Day
1,200 calories per day are approximately the cutoff for healthy eating. I know that when I eat 1,200 daily calories or less, I end the day pretty hungry. If you work out consistently, I would not recommend eating just 1200 calories per day. But if you are not very active or you are small, this may be an appropriate amount for you.
Factors That Impact Your Caloric Intake
A calorie is a measure of the energy in food.
To maintain your weight, energy in must equal energy out .
Eat fewer calories than you burn, and youll lose weight.
But if you consume more calories than you need, your body stores that energy for later .
Everybodys daily calorie needs are different, which can make it hard to figure out the magic number. In general, men need more calories than women. Active people need more than those who have desk jobs. And younger people need more than older people, whose metabolisms slow down as they age.
These factors can impact your caloric intake:
Read Also: How Many Carb In Cabbage
Make Breakfast A Priority
Whoever coined the phrase, breakfast is the most important meal of the day was on to something. Anecdotally, people who eat breakfast are more likely to make better food choices throughout the day. They started out on the right foot, so they often want to continue that way all day, says Gans.
Choose a meal that contains protein and fiber, which will keep you full until lunch. Some good options are eggs with whole-grain toast, oatmeal, yogurt, or a high-fiber, low-sugar cereal. If youre a coffee person, be mindful of your add-ins by limiting sugar and/or sweeteners and fatty cream. Instead, choose low-fat milk or an unsweetened nut milk of your choice. Boost the flavor of your java with vanilla or almond extract and some warming spices, like ground cinnamon. Check out these healthy Starbucks drinks if youre ordering on the go.
How Many Calories Should You Eat At Each Meal
The recommended calorie intake for one meal depends on your daily calorie goal. If your goal is 1,500 calories per day, try aiming for about 500 calories at meal times. If you want to include snacks throughout the day, aiming for 350-400 calories at meal times will meet your total calorie goal.
Your total calorie intake is not the only thing can impact health and weight regulation. When you eat can also play an important role. Everyones nutrition needs and calorie requirements are different, but there are some general guidelines for how much you should eat at each meal.
Spreading out your calories equally throughout the day is often encouraged. For example, if you are aiming for 1,500 calories per day, you may want to eat three meals that provide about 500 calories each.
If you want to include snacks, you may want to aim for less than 500 calories at meals. Remember, there are 3500 calories in a pound of fat.
Some research has also shown eating more calories for breakfast and fewer calories for dinner may be beneficial for weight loss without changing your total calorie intake for the day.
What is also important to focus on besides how many calories you are eating at each meal is what nutrients you are getting.
Don’t Miss: How Many Carbs Are In Vegetables
What Should You Eat At Each Meal
When planning what you are eating for the day, its important to focus more than on the calorie content. Calories are only one aspect of how food impacts the body.
The quality of your food calories makes a big difference. Therefore, keep these tips in mind while factoring how many calories to eat at each meal.
Make half your plate filled with fruits and vegetables. This is a recommendation from the USDA, but unfortunately most Americans do not eat the recommended amount of daily fruits and vegetables. Eating more fruits and vegetables means you are eating a larger volume of food which helps keep you full. They also provide a rich array of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Watch what you drink. Liquid calories can be a source of empty calories and can quickly increase your calories you get at a meal. Avoid sugary drinks and prefer low calorie alcoholic drinks. Aim to drink water or unsweetened tea with your meals.
Get a mix of fiber, protein and heart healthy fatsat meals. Besides total calories, you should aim to get a mix of macronutrients. Protein, fiber and fats can provide satiety after your meal.
When you eat a meal that is primarily simple carbohydrates, you can feel hungry again soon after eating.
Lean proteins include: white meat, lean red meat, eggs, dairy, legumes, soy, hemp seeds and chia seeds.
Heart healthy fats can include: olive oil, nuts and avocado.
Fiber sources can include: fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.
What Happens If I Hit A Weight Loss Plateau
Weight loss plateaus happen, even if you feel like you’re doing everything right. The key is not to panic. If you’re still on your way to a healthy weight , there are areas to look at before you doing anything drastic like cutting calories beyond what your body and lifestyle need.
A quick caveat: if you are already at a healthy weight for your age and height, consider reaching out to a professional to discuss why you still feel the need to lose more weight. Or, if you, or anyone you know, is struggling with an eating disorder, contact Beat, the UK-based charity that hopes to end the pain and suffering caused by eating disorders.E: , under-18s:
Also Check: How Many Carbs For Low Carb Diet
Current Body Fat Level:
In general, if you’re lean, you’re more likely to benefit from a bulk. That is, eating more calories than you burn. As to help your muscles recover faster from training and grow back stronger.To build as much muscle as possible, you should be in a calorie surplus . Or in other words, your muscles will grow faster when you’re gaining weight.Now with that said, you can still build muscle mass as you lose fat. Yet, you won’t be able to build muscle quite as fast as you could with a calorie surplus….But note, in practice, it just doesnt make sense to gain weight if youre overweight or obese.You see, bulking up when youre overweight may be less efficient. Since people at a higher body fat build less lean mass per unit weight gain . And more importantly, if your weight gets too high, you might need a long diet to “reveal” your gains.So, as a general rule, dont bulk when you’re higher than ~15-16% body fat. Unless you want to look like a sumo wrestler, that is.Otherwise, eating at the right calorie surplus can help you reach your goals faster.But, how quickly should you aim to gain weight? And whats the ideal calorie surplus? Read on for more:
Wh’s Final Word On How Many Calories To Eat
If you’re worried about portion control or portion sizes â both of which are natural if you’re not used to tracking your nutrition â gradually ease yourself in with a rough food framework. That’s to say, a calorie guideline for your day.
If you feel yourself becoming obsessive over the numbers, take a step back. Life is for living, and things like dinners out with friends, holidays and birthday cake shouldn’t be cause for anything but celebration.
You May Like: How Many Carbs In Cranberry Juice
How Many Calories For Breakfast
Its important to eat at least 200 calories for breakfast and max out at around 400 calories. As the saying goes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It can help you be in a better mood on a full stomach, and it gives you the energy to tackle your day head-on.
You may have also heard about the importance of eating a balanced breakfast. All the popular cereals, oatmeals, yogurts, and other products love to advertise their products in this way.
Oatmeal and eggs are my go-to for a balanced breakfast but you can eat whatever nutritious meal you like.
Check out some of our favorite recipes in this article on how to make healthy meals for your family.
Be cautious of sugary cereals even though you may get the calories you need, youll consume much of your daily intake of sugar.
Breakfast is one of the easiest meals to skip. In fact, most of my friends skip breakfast. If you get up too late before school or work, its easy to go through your morning routine without even thinking about eating. But you need some calories to keep your energy up throughout the day!
How Does A Weight Loss Calculator Work
Through decades of scientific study using techniques such as indirect calorimetry, biologists have progressively devised formulas to calculate basal metabolic rate. Since it is impractical for the average person to undertake a calorimetry exam, we can simply apply one of these calorie calculation formulas to the metrics of the individual and get a viable estimate for that person.
Our Calories Calculator uses the widely accepted Mifflin St Jeor formula to determine weight loss, so you may be confident that the results are credible and actionable. It is the same formula that many doctors of medicine will use in a consultation about fitness, weight loss and exercise.
The formula uses the information you input to get an accurate estimate of your Resting Metabolic Rate , and thereby work out how many calories you use per day. Numerous peer reviewed clinical studies, carried out at prestigious institutions like the Mayo Clinic, demonstrate the formulas validity.
RMR and basal metabolic rate are similar concepts, but we do not need to get into the precise nuanced differences here.
Suffice to know that most current providers of nutrition services prefer the Mifflin St. Jeor formula over older formulas like the Harris-Benedict formula.
Don’t Miss: What Is The Recommended Daily Calorie Intake
How To Take Your Measurements
Our weight loss calorie calculator needs up to four of your measurements: height, neck, waist, and hips, to determine the percentage and mass of body fat which is integral in estimating the number of calories you need to forgo on a daily basis in order to achieve weight loss. Here is how to take the measurements, using a soft measurement tape:
- Height: step on a flat surface that is perpendicular to a wall, column or a door frame. Look straight ahead. Get an assistant to place a ruler or another straight object on the top of your head so it is horizontal and mark the point at which it touches the wall, column, etc. Step out and measure the height from that point to the floor.
- Neck: measure just inferior to the larynx with sloping slightly downward to the front .
- Waist: measure at the widest point of the abdomen, at the level of your naval .
- Hips: measure your hips at the widest point below your waist, while keeping your feet together for an accurate measurement.
You can use both centimeters and inches to record the measurement, since our software supports both units. Accuracy to the nearest half inch or within 1 cm should be sufficient.
It is recommended that you wear minimal clothing during the measurement. It is also recommended to have your measures taken by an assistant, since if you are taking them yourself you will not be fully relaxed and may be twisting your body and skewing the results.
Calorie Needs For Fat Loss
To achieve sustainable weight loss, I suggest a modest calorie deficit of 20-30 percent of your TDEE, and to follow that for no longer than six months at a time to avoid metabolic slowing.
So, if you need 2,100 calories to maintain weight, you would consume between 1,470-1,680 calories to lose fat. If you’re already eating at 70 percent of your TDEE and have hit a weight-loss plateau, it’s better to add more activity into your routine rather than slash your food intake any further.
Read Also: How Much Carbs In Apple
Reduce Your Intake Of Refined Carbs And Ultra
The term refined carbs refers to grains that have lost their bran and germ, including white bread, pasta, crackers, and white rice. It also includes sugar and other sweeteners.
Refined grains typically lack fiber, which supports weight loss by decreasing your appetite and increasing feelings of fullness .
Eating fewer carbs, including fewer refined carbs, may also promote weight loss by altering levels of specific hormones that regulate your appetite, such as peptide YY .
While a low carb or ketogenic diet definitely isnt right for everyone, replacing refined carbs with a variety of nutrient-dense, fiber-rich carb sources such as whole grains, root vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes may be beneficial.
Its also best to avoid ultra-processed foods, which include fast food, packaged snacks, candies, and sugary beverages. These items not only pack refined carbs but also preservatives, sugars, unhealthy fats, salt, and other ingredients you should limit in your diet.
Eating more protein, exercising, staying hydrated, and limiting your intake of refined carbs and sugary beverages are a few simple ways to decrease your daily calorie intake.
How Many Calories Do You Need Per Day
Having a general guideline for your calorie goals per day can give you clarity for what to aim for calories at each meal.
If your goal is 1,500 calories per day, try aiming for about 500 calories at meal times. If you want to include snacks throughout the day, aiming for 350-400 calories at meal times will meet your total calorie goal.
What does this look like? An example 1,500 calorie meal plan could include the following meals for a 1,500 calorie per day.
Breakfast: Avocado and arugula
Snack: A cut up apple with a dash of cinnamon
Lunch: Roasted veggie jar salad
Snack: Cucumber and carrot slices with hummus
Dinner: Zucchini noodle pasta with shrimp and avocado pesto with a side salad.
This meal plan provides about 1,500 calories for the day assuming you are following the portion sizes and recipes.
If your calorie needs are higher, you can eat larger portions, eat more snacks or add foods to meals.
Working with a dietitian can help you determine an appropriate daily and meal calorie goal.
You May Like: Best Low Carb Dessert Recipes
Should You Count Calories
Its good to have a sense of your daily calorie needs and to be aware of how the calories in your favorite foods add up. Those numbers can help guide your decisions about what to eat and what to save for another day.
But if numbers arent your thing, never fear. You dont have to obsess over calories to stay healthy.
Plenty of people lose weight not by counting calories, but by focusing on the quality of the food and on portion control, says Zumpano.
How Many Calories Should You Eat On Average
The number of calories you should eat per day depends on numerous factors, including your age, sex, height, current weight, activity level, and metabolic health, among several others.
When trying to lose weight, its important to create a calorie deficit by consuming fewer calories than you normally do or by exercising more. Some people choose to combine the two, eating a little less while being more physically active .
Still, its important to ensure that youre eating enough calories to provide your body with the nutrients it needs, even if youre trying to lose weight.
The most important part of any weight loss plan is sustainability. This is why many experts recommend small calorie reductions to promote sustainable weight loss.
For example, many fad diets recommend restricting your calorie intake to around 1,0001,200 calories per day, which is not enough for most healthy adults.
Cutting your calorie intake too drastically not only causes several serious side effects but also increases your risk of nutritional deficiencies. It likewise results in metabolic changes that make long-term weight maintenance difficult (
Calorie needs for women can depend on their age, size, and activity level.
Most women between the ages of 1930 require 2,0002,400 calories per day to maintain their weight.
Women over age 60 generally require fewer calories and typically need to take in around 1,6002,000 calories per day to maintain their weight .
Read Also: Low Carb Vs Low Fat Diet
How Many Calories Should I Eat In A Day
The number of calories you need varies based on factors like sex, weight, age, height, genetics, and activity level.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans 20202025 suggests that, on average, females need between 1,8002,400 calories per day, and males need about 2,0003,200 calories per day.
Keep in mind that these ranges are general recommendations and don’t consider the needs of individuals.
Talk with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian if you want help figuring out how many calories to eat in a day. You could use a calorie calculator, like the Body Weight Planner from the National Institute of Health.