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How many times should you exercise per week*

How Many Calories Should I Eat to Lose Weight?

Use our weight loss calculator to find out how many calories to eat each day

Some calorie calculators help you find out how many calories you need to maintain your weight But what if you want to slim down? Then, what you want to know is "how many calories should I eat to lose weight?"

It's simple to calculate the right number of calories for weight loss, for weight gain, or for weight maintenance Just follow these simple steps Then, you'll know how many calories you need to eat a day to reach your goal

How Does a Calorie Calculator Work?

To get the best calorie number, it's smart to use a weight loss calculator It's a simple procedure and can even be fun and interesting—even if you're not trying to change your weight

How does a calorie counter work? After you input data, it uses a formula called the Mifflin StThis is the number of calories you should eat each day to reach your desired weight in the time frame that you set. Jeor equation to calculate your resting metabolic rate That's the number of calories your body needs to function when it is at rest Then, based on your personalized lifestyle information, the calculator adds the number of calories you need to fuel your body for daily activity Finally, it either adds calories to gain weight or subtracts calories to help you lose weight

But what if you want your weight to stay the same? The calculator can figure out how many calories you should eat to maintain weight as wellBut what if you want your weight to stay the same The calculator can figure out how many calories you should eat to maintain weight as well. This information is helpful for many healthy eaters If you are at a healthy weight and want to maintain your body size, you should make sure that you don't eat too much or too little

For some adults, that means consuming a 2000-calorie diet That's the number that is referenced on the Nutrition Facts labelWeight Loss Calculator FAQsStill confused about using a calculator for weight loss These are a few common questions that dieters often ask. But many people are larger or smaller than average, or are more or less active than normal and have different calorie needs

Using the Weight Loss Calculator

Are you ready to give the calorie calculator a try?

You'll need to provide some vital information about your age, gender, height, and your current weight to get the right calorie number The calculator requires this data because these are factors that influence your metabolic rate—or the number of calories that your body needs to function In general, men need more calories than women Larger bodies need more calories than smaller bodies, and younger adults require more calories than older adults

You'll also be asked about your activity habits If your body is more active during the day, it requires more fuel (in the form of calories) Try to be as honest as possible about your exercise and daily activity habitsBut if you did not factor in exercise when you used the calculator, and you added a workout session to your day, then the calories burned during exercise will increase your calorie deficit.Reaching Your Goal WeightWhen you complete the calorie calculator process, youll get a daily calorie goal. If you fudge the numbers, you won't get an accurate result If you're not sure how active you are during the day, keep an activity journal for a week or look at data from your fitness tracker to get a quick estimateWhat are empty calories Youll find them in processed foods that contain added sugars, trans fat, excess fat, and calories.

Next, you'll be asked about your goals It's important to be realistic during this step Your goal weight may be different than an ideal weight or a perfect weight For example, you may want to weigh 120 pounds But if you have struggled with your weight for most of your life and have never been lower than 150 pounds, then 120 may not be realistic at this timeFor example, you may want to weigh 120 pounds.

Try to set a goal that you believe to be attainable Once you reach your goal, you can always set a new one

Lastly, you'll have the option to select a date when you'd like to reach your goal Keep in mind that if you are trying to lose weight, a healthy rate of weight loss is 05 to 2 pounds per week If you are trying to gain weight, you may be able to put on approximately one pound per week

Reaching Your Goal Weight

When you complete the calorie calculator process, you'll get a daily calorie goalVery lowcalorie diets less than 8001000 calories per day can backfire and should only be followed with a doctors supervision.As a general rule, most experts say that a total weekly calorie deficit of 3,500 calories will lead you to lose one pound of weight.If youre not sure how active you are during the day, keep an activity journal for a week or look at data from your fitness tracker to get a quick estimate. This is the number of calories you should eat each day to reach your desired weight in the time frame that you set

If you are trying to gain weight, your daily calorie goal will include a calorie surplus But if weight loss is your goal, a calorie deficit is factored into your final number

A calorie deficit is simply an energy shortfallYoull also be asked about your activity habits. When you create a calorie deficit, you deprive your body of the fuel it needs to function So, your body burns stored fat (excess weight) for fuel instead A calorie deficit occurs when you cut calories by eating less than your body needs or burn extra calories with physical activity You can also combine diet and exercise to create a calorie deficit

As a general rule, most experts say that a total weekly calorie deficit of 3,500 calories will lead you to lose one pound of weight If you cut more calories, you'll lose weight faster But it is not safe or practical to cut too many calories Very low-calorie diets (less than 800-1000 calories per day) can backfire and should only be followed with a doctor's supervision

Sound complicated? Let's use an example to explain Let's say that you are a sedentary woman That means that you don't exercise on a regular basisBut many people are larger or smaller than average, or are more or less active than normal and have different calorie needs.Are all calories the same or are some calories better than others Even though your total calorie intake matters most for weight loss, all calories are not created equal. The weight loss calculator may say that you need to eat 1,200 calories per day to lose weight But you don't think that you can cut enough food from your diet to reach that number That's OK You can simply add exercise to your weekly routine to account for a few extra calories

Here are a few ways you might make it work:

  • Eat 1,300 (100 extra) calories each day and add a short evening walk to your daily routine to burn the extra 700 calories each week
  • Eat 1,400 (200 extra) calories each day and adda HIITworkout to your schedule two times per week and three 30-minute walks during the week to burn the extra 1,400 calories each week
  • Eat 1,500 (300 extra) calories each day and add 45 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise to your daily schedule to burn the extra 2100 calories each week

In each of these scenarios, you've added calories to your daily food budget, but you've burned more calories with exercise to maintain the proper calorie deficit for weight loss If you want to lose weight faster, you just add the exercise to your daily routine without adding calories to your daily diet

Weight Loss Calculator FAQs

Still confused about using a calculator for weight loss? These are a few common questions that dieters often ask

Can I eat more if I exercise every day? If you factored exercise into the equation when you used the calculator, then you should not eat more if you exercise Your daily calorie goal (the calculator result) has already accounted for the additional physical activity But if you did not factor in exercise when you used the calculator, and you added a workout session to your day, then the calories burned during exercise will increase your calorie deficit If you don't eat back your exercise calories, the increased deficit will help you to lose weight faster If you do eat back the same number of calories that you burned, then you will lose weight at the same rate as indicated in your calorie calculator result Be careful, however, it's very easy to eat more calories than you burn after exercise This causes weight gain, not weight loss

Should I buy or join a diet program to lose weight? If so, which weight loss program is best? There is no "best" diet because every dieter is different and has a different lifestyle with different needs The diet that will work best for you is the diet you can stick to For some people, a do-it-yourself program is best But others benefit from the structured approach of a commercial weight loss program Ask yourself key questions about your lifestyle (do you cook? how much time do you have to shop for healthy food? what is your budget?) and then make a decision that fits your needs

Are all calories the same or are some calories better than others? Even though your total calorie intake matters most for weight loss, all calories are not created equal Calories from nutritious food sources will help you to feel full longer, provide fuel for your daily activity, and improve your well-being So what are healthy foods? Most experts recommend that you fill your plate with:

  • a variety of colorful vegetables like leafy salad greens, bright peppers, crunchy carrots or radishes Experiment to find flavors that you enjoy
  • lean meats like chicken and fish Some dieters also enjoy red meat in moderation
  • healthy whole grain sources that provide fiber like oatmeal, whole grain bread or crackers
  • whole fruits rather than fruit juices or fruit flavored snacks
  • small servings of nuts, seeds, and other sources of healthy fats
  • water for thirst instead of sports drinks, sweetened tea, or sodas

Empty calories, on the other hand, can leave you feeling hungry, increase your cravings for food, and even increase fatigue What are empty calories? You'll find them in processed foods that contain added sugars, trans fat, excess fat, and calories Candy, fast food, processed baked goods, and sodas are common sources of empty calories