How Much Should I Eat to Lose Weight?

Have you ever wondered exactly how many calories you need to eat daily to maintain your weight?  There are some general guidelines , but her is a simple calculation you can almost do in your head:

First determine your Basil Metabolic Rate (BMR). Go to this site, get your BMR, then come back Click Here to Calculate BMR

Basic Metabolic Rate Calculation

The BMR is how many calories you need at total rest, not digesting anything, well rested, no stress, etc.  As soon as you get up to move you start burning more calories.  So based on your typical daily activity levels do one of the following calculations; multiply your BMR from above by the appropriate activity factor, as follows:

  • If you are sedentary (little or no exercise) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.2
  • If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.375
  • If you are moderatetely active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.55
  • If you are very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.725
  • If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.9


If you are a 38 year old woman, 5’7″, 135 pounds your BMR is 1,325 calories per day. If you are lightly active then multiply 1,325 X 1.375 = 1,822 calories per day.

So if this woman eats 1,822 calories, of good food, then she should stay at the same weight.  If she wants to lose weight then consume fewer calories. There is an old number that one pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories. So excepting many variables, if you reduce your food intake and increase exercise for every pound of fat you lose it is the result of 3,500 fewer calories eaten.

This 3,500 calories per pound is for just fat. In reality you’ll also lose water, and lean muscle mass. If you are exercising you would increase muscle mass and lose fat. So many variables but if you eat less than you burn, you will lose weight, exactly how much is hard to calculate.


They type of foods you eat make a difference too if you’re trying to lose weight. If you eat high glycemic foods, it will be difficult to lose weight. high glycemic foods are those that cause your blood glucose (sugar) levels to rise. When your blood glucose levels rise your body releases insulin, the fat storage hormone, to quickly move the extra glucose into your fat stores. So when your blood glucose levels are high it is almost impossible to lose weight from fat. You may lose more muscle than fat.  What are high glycemic foods? Of course foods with added sugar: pastries, candy, candy bars, sodas, sweet coffee drinks, etc.  Other high glycemic foods are more processed foods. flour and startch turns quickly into glucose, so bread, pancakes, pasta, rice, potatoes, and even some fruits like ripe bananas

Foods that won’t spike your blood sugar are lean meats, fish, vegetables, nuts, seeds, some fruit.

So if your diet is free of high glycemic foods and you eat fewer calories than you burn, then it is easier to lose fat and you’ll be on your your way to your goals.

There is an App for that

Knowing how much to eat is easy, tracking what you actually eat is much tougher. There are many phone and web apps that let you track the foods you eat daily plus add in the exercise you do, so you have an idea of where you stand in your daily goals. Personally I like the MyFitnessPal app. It has many foods plus you can scan the barcode on a package and pull that food into your daily diet. It also remembers what foods you’ve eaten, so it is easy to find foods your eat often. You can also create recipies, so put in how many servings, add the ingredients, then save it. It also syncs up with many activity trackers, so if you have your FitBit on and go for or use another phone app for tracking your runs, it will pull those calories in as well.

Good luck.



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