How Many Calories Do I Need For Weight Loss


If you are here to find out how many calories do I need for weight loss then this is the place for you. Personally, I’m not weight conscious, but even if I was, I would be tracking my calorie intake just to make sure I wasn’t exceeding the recommended daily value. Whether you’re looking at how much does a bodybuilder need or how many calories does an athlete need for weight loss, read on for more details on how many calories you need for weight loss .

How Many Calories Do You Need to Lose Weight?

The number of calories you can eat to lose weight depends on 6 factors

  1. Whether you are male or female
  2. How much you weigh now
  3. Your background activity level
  4. How old you are
  5. How tall you are
  6. How quickly you want to lose weight (or how hard you want to make it!)

Each of these 6 are explained below, along with charts showing the calories needed for weight loss at different rates, so you can work out a ball-park figure for yourself.

1 – Male VS Female Calorie Needs

These calculations are for a man and a woman of the same age (40), weight (13 stone), height (5’6) and background activity level (moderately sedentary), to lose a pound, one and a half pounds or 2 pounds a week.

Men VS WomenDaily Calories to Lose:
1lb/wk 1.5lbs/wk2lbs/wk

The simple fact is that men burn more calories than women, even when all other factors are the same. This is because men have more muscle than women – and muscle burns calories even while you are asleep.

2 – Calories Based on Your Weight Now

Your Starting weight has a big impact on the how many calories you can eat to lose weight.

Calories by Start Weight for Women

This table is based on a 30 year old woman who is moderately sedentary and 5’5 in height.

Women at Starting Weight:Daily Calories to Lose:
1lb/wk 1.5lbs/wk2lbs/wk
12 Stone154612961100*
14 Stone172114711221
16 Stone189516451395
18 Stone207018201570
20 Stone224419941744
22 Stone241921691919
24 Stone259423442094

*1100 calories per day is the minimum recommended by wlr for maintaining a healthy diet with sufficient nutrients and variety of foods.

You can use the lose a stone calulator to see an estimate of how long it would take for you to lose a stone, based on your gender, current weight and height.

Calories by Start Weight for Men

The men’s chart is based on a moderately sedentary 35 year old man of 5’9 tall.

Men at Starting Weight:Daily Calories to Lose:
1lb/wk 1.5lbs/wk2lbs/wk
13 Stone191416641414
15 Stone208918391589
17 Stone226420141764
19 Stone243821881938
21 Stone261323632113
23 Stone278825382288
25 Stone296227122462

The number of calories required for you to lose weight gets lower as your weight goes down.

People sometimes blame some variation of ‘starvation mode’ when the number of calories needed to maintain their 2lb a week weight loss goes down. But this doesn’t happen when you are losing weight at a maximum 2lbs a week.

As you can see from the chart, it’s just that you naturally need fewer calories at a lower weight. 

3 – Your Background Activity Level

In this chart the woman is age 30, 5’4 tall and weighs 13 stone 3lbs. The man is 38, is 5’10 and weighs 14 stone 7lbs.

Background Activity Level:Daily Calories to Lose:
1lb/wk 1.5lbs/wk2lbs/wk
Very Sedentary135911091100*
Mod. Sedentary163013801130
Mod. Active190116511401
Very Active217219221672
Very Sedentary172214721222
Mod. Sedentary204717971547
Mod. Active237121211871
Very Active269524452195

Background activity level is your average level of day-to-day activity. These calculations exclude extra calories for specific periods of exercise.

If you do exercise that is not accounted for in your background activity level, you should add the extra calories burned to your calorie allowance for that day.

What’s Your Level?

Choose the level that most closely resembles how active you are on normal days.

  • Very Sedentary – you don’t move around very much, sitting or lying down for most of the day, maybe due to ill health or a disability.
  • Moderately Sedentary – you work in an office or other job that doesn’t involve much physical movement like driving. Or stay at home with relatively small amounts of time doing light household tasks.
  • Moderately Active – you are a parent looking after home and young children, or maybe doing a job that requires a fair amount of moving around but not normally a big physical effort, like nursing, shop or warehouse work.
  • Very Active – you are someone doing heavy physical work, for example a bricklayer or agricultural worker doing strenuous work on their feet for most of the day

4 – How Old You Are

As we get older our calorie needs slowly decrease. So you can eat more calories if you’re a 28 year old trying to lose weight, than you can if you’re 48.

Our examples are a female of 5’7 weighing 14st 8lb and a male of 5’11 weighing 16st 8lb.

The Effect of Age on Calorie Needs:Daily Calories to Lose:
1lb/wk 1.5lbs/wk2lbs/wk
Age 25184815981348
Age 45171114611211
Age 65157313231100
Age 25233920891839
Age 45220119511701
Age 65206418141564

You can use the wlr tools to see how many calories you can eat to lose weight at your age, height and weight. Try it free to get the number that’s right for you.

5 – How Tall You Are

To those of us below average height it doesn’t seem fair that taller people can eat more calories and still lose weight. We console ourselves with the thought that great things come in small parcels!

Our examples are a woman age 40, who weighs 13 and a half stone, and a man of the same age weighing 15 stone.

The Effect of Height on Calorie Needs:Daily Calories to Lose:
1lb/wk 1.5lbs/wk2lbs/wk
Height 5’2154312931100
Height 5’6163013801130
Height 5’10171714671217
Height 5’6198917391489
Height 5’10207618261576
Height 6’2216419141664

Why count calories at all?

There are many people who have a healthy body without ever counting. But for many others, it is incredibly valuable.What are the benefits of a calorie-based system? For one, it gives you an objective way to compare very different meals and make informed decisions about overall portion size. These can be some of the most difficult nutritional decisions to make.It can also help you realize how a seemingly small indulgence can really add up.

How many calories should I eat while pregnant?

You’ve heard the saying “she’s eating for two”.

This can lead you to think, you should be eating twice as much when pregnant.

In reality, when pregnant you will only need a small increase in calories to provide the extra for your baby.

During your second trimester, you will need about 350 calories per day extra. This raises to around 450 calories per day during your third trimester.

So for example if you usually need 1,660 calories a day to maintain your normal weight.

  • During your second trimester you should be aiming to consume around 2,010 calories a day.
  • Then in your third trimester this should increase to about 2,110 calories per day.

What you eat is as important and how much you eat.

Filling your face with sweets and junk food, doesn’t provide your baby with any nutrients.

If you don’t eat food high in nutrients you baby will draw have to draw from your bodies reserves. Which could make you ill.

So look to healthy choices for your extra calories, such as:

  • Whole grain foods
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Low-fat dairy food

How Many Calories Do You Need?

If you want to lose weight (or simply maintain your weight), you’ll need to calculate how many calories you burn each day.

There are several methods for arriving at this number. Some are quite complex and involve calculations that consider factors such as age, sex, height, weight and daily exercise. I find many of the formulas daunting. It’s safe to say that if I have a hard time figuring them out, I probably won’t lead others through the computations.

Subscribing to Einstein’s philosophy that everything should be as simple as possible (including the calculation of daily caloric expenditure), I recommend the Rosati Method. Dr. Robert Rosati heads the Rice Diet Program in Durham, N.C.

He came up with this approach because, he says, too often we focus on weight loss and do not give sufficient attention to weight maintenance.

“Most people now know that if you reduce the calories you ingest and increase the calories you expend, you will lose weight,” he says. “The dilemma for most people is how to keep it off! At the Rice Diet Program we teach a dieta, which is the original Greek word for ‘way of life.’ Creating optimal health and actualizing our life’s potential includes not only an organic, locally grown diet (mostly plants), and daily exercise, but introspective practices that inspire emotional and spiritual health. Healing at our roots is the only sustainable solution for achieving health for our bodies, minds, spirit, as well as our planet.”

Since Rosati’s program teaches a way of living, a simple, easy-to-use method for calculating calories is essential.

Here’s the formula. Assuming it takes 10 calories per pound to maintain your weight, take your weight and multiply it by 10. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, then your caloric allowance is 1,500 calories (150 x 10 = 1,500). If you exercise, add 100 calories for every mile walked or other equivalent form of exercise performed.

Here’s how this method works for me. I weigh 130 pounds, so I begin with a base of 1,300 calories. Today I walked four miles, so I can add 400 calories to that base for a total of 1,700. If I eat less than this amount, I will lose weight. If I eat more, I will gain. If I eat 1,700 calories, I will maintain my weight.

Besides walking, I occasionally engage in doubles tennis or yoga. In this case, I add 100 calories for every 30 minutes of exercise — the equivalent of walking one mile. This calculation is my own approximation and not part of Rosati’s method; nonetheless, the resulting number is accurate enough to serve my purposes. If you want a more precise measure of calories for specific exercises, see this list.

You can also use the Rosati Method to calculate your daily caloric allowance to achieve your weight-loss goal. For example, suppose your desired weight is 140 pounds. Multiplying 140 by 10, your daily caloric allowance is 1,400 calories. If you walk one mile a day, the daily allowance is 1,500 calories. If yo

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