How to Figure Out How Many Calories to Eat Per Day for Weight Loss
When I first started my weight loss journey, every one told me the fastest way was to count my calories.
Okay, great, no problem… but how do I know how many calories I should be eating in a day?!
And then even after I had that, how are you supposed to know many calories you should be burning in a day?!
The relationship between calories and weight loss is pretty simple:
Eat more calories than you burn and you’ll gain weight.
Eat less calories than you burn and you’ll lose weight.
Eat about the same amount of calories as you burn and you’ll maintain weight.
There are obviously exceptions to this, but at it’s core, it really is that simple.
How do you know how many calories you should be eating to lose weight?
A Calorie Calculator for Weight Loss
The easiest way to know how many calories you should be eating is to use a calculator.
Not like a regular 2 + 2 = 4 calculator, but a calorie calculator for weight loss.
WHAT?! Those exist?!
It’s definitely the easiest way to know how many calories you should eat a day to lose weight.
I go over in more depth about what determines how many calories you burn in my How to Count Macros for Weight Loss post.
(Hint) The post above also goes over how to count macros and how to know how many macros you need a day.
If you’re just starting out though, a calorie calculator and counting calories is a great place to start.
A simple solution to get started right now is to download my calorie calculator for weight loss by clicking here.
Here’s what you can expect to see when you get the calorie calculator:
The calculator will ask you some basic questions, for example, your activity level, current height and weight, age, and gender.
It will also ask your current weight and goal weight.
Based on that, it will tell you:
- how many calories you should eat per day to reach that weight
- approximately when you will reach your goal if you follow the calorie guidelines
- day by day breakdown of your progress
- how many calories you should burn per day
- your BMR
My favorite part about this calculator is it’s flexibility.
If your goal is not to lose weight, but rather to gain muscle, or maintain, there is an option for that in the upper section of the calorie calculator!
I also have a post of every weight loss calculator you could ever need here.
That page has a calories burned calculator, a body fat calculator, macro calculator and more.
Other options to determine how many calories you should eat for weight loss
While the weight loss calculator is certainty the easiest and best way to get started instantly, it is only doing a best guess based on your inputs.
Here are a few other options to calculator your calories for weight loss that could increase the accuracy of your numbers.
Get Your BMR Measured
The most accurate way to calculate how many calories you need to burn and intake for weight loss is to go to a nutritionist who will measure your BMR.
BMR stands for Basal metabolic rate and is the base number of calories your body needs to live.
Based on this and a guess of your activity levels, they will calculate how many calories you need to burn in order to lose weight.
The number should never be under your BMR. Doing so would put your body into starvation mode – aka it is getting so few calories your body thinks it is starving and does everything it can to burn as few calories as possible – meaning your will lose weight at a much slower rate and do more harm than good to yourself.
Getting your BMR measured is as easy as breathing. Literally.
All you do if breath into a tube for a set amount of time! The tube is hooked up to a machine that does all the magic calculations.
Use a Fitness Tracker
Getting a fitness tracker, like a Fitbit or Apple watch will use your heart rate along with many other inputs similar to the weight loss calculator I mentioned above, to tell you exactly how many calories you actually burned (fun fact, this is called your TDEE, or your total daily energy expenditure).
Be Easy on Yourself
It’s easy to get carried away or even obsessed with counting calories. Losing weight is a marathon, not a sprint, so be kind and listen to your body. Take it day by day and start small!
If you would like more direction and help with your weight loss journey, you can check out my fitness programs here!
As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me on here or my instagram! ❤