How Many Calories can I eat a Day to Lose Weight?

A lot of people who want to lose weight ask the question:

how many calories can I eat a day if I want to lose weight?

The rule of thumb is that a healthy adult female needs approx 1940 calories per day and an adult healthy male requires around about 2550 to maintain their current weight. This is however only a generalised approximation.

In reality the actual amount will vary from individual to individual depending on sex, the size and weight of the individual and their age.

If you want to calculate the number of calories that you need to maintain your weight it can be done. There is a formula, called the Harris-Benedict principle, which allows you to assess your ‘basal metabolic rate’, BMR for short.

Your BMR refers to the amount of energy that your body needs to function. In general terms around about 60% of the calories we consume are used up performing our basic bodily functions such as breathing.

How many calories can I eat a day to maintain my current weight?

The basic formula to calculate your BMR if you are a woman is:

655 + (your weight in pounds x 4.3)+(height in inches x 4.7) – (your age in years x 4.7)

The basic formula to calculate your BMR if you are a man is:

66 + (your weight in pounds x 6.3)+(height in inches x 12.9) – (your age in years x 6.8)

Once you have done the above calculation you then need to factor in the amount of energy you use performing your days activities to find out exactly how many calories you can eat without putting on weight. This is known as your AMR (activity metabolic rate)

  • If you do little or no exercise you should multiply your BMR x 20%
  • If you do some light exercise you should multiply your BMR x 30%
  • If you consider yourself to be moderately active (you exercise most days) you should multiply your BMR x 40%
  • If you exercise on a daily basis for prolonged periods (very active) you should multiply your BMR x 50%
  • If you are extremely active (strenuous labouring or are in training) multiply your BMR x 60%

Add the number you arrive at (your AMR) to your BMR to give you the number of calories that you can eat every day to maintain your current weight.

How many calories can I eat a day if I want to lose weight?

The calculations above are designed to show you how many calories you need to consume simply to maintain your existing weight. If you want to lose weight there are basically two ways in which this can be achieved.

  1. Reduce the amount of calories that you consume. It is recommended that you consume approx 500 calories per day less than the figure you calculated above. This should enable you to lose around about one pound per week. (Please note that it is generally accepted that your calorie intake should not drop below 1200 per day)
  2. Increase the amount of exercise you do every day (ie. If you are currently in the group of people doing light exercise try and move up to being moderately active.

You can of course combine the two suggestions and reduce your calorie intake by say 300 calories and also increase your activity levels slightly. As you lose weight you will need to recalculate your  BMR and AMR on a regular basis to take into account your new weight and activity level.

One of the downsides of trying to lose weight in the manner described above is that have to keep reasonably accurate account of the calories you consume and this is not always easy. You will also inevitably feel hungry unless you change your diet and consume relatively large amounts of food that has bulk but very few calories (ie. Cabbage and lettuce etc).

There are however weight reduction pills available that act as hunger suppressants and also weight reduction pills that work as fat burners. Hunger suppressants do exactly as the name suggests, they help to make your body believe that the stomach is full with a reduced amount of food. The top fat burners work by increasing your metabolism and body temperature (known as  thermogenics )which encourages the body to burn off more calories than it normally would without the need for additional exercise. All of the best weight reduction pills ( hunger suppressants and the top fat burners ) are manufactured from pure organic materials that will not produce any unpleasant side effects.

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