How many calories per day to lose weight?

To survive, the human body needs a minimum of 1200 calories daily for women and 1800 calories daily for men, and any plan to lose weight should keep this in mind. There are several ways to determine the number of calories you should eat per day to lose weight.

You can simply lower the total number of calories you are currently taking in by 15-20%. In time, you will be able to tell whether this method needs adjusting so that you can lose all the weight you want. To find out your current energy consumption requirements, you need to determine your Harris – Benedict equation, then eat 500 to 1000 less calories than that.


You will first need to know your basal metabolic rate (or BMR), that is the calories, or energy, your body uses to keep you alive (when you are resting rather than exercising). The BMR alone does not take into account your level of physical activity, though. To lose weight, you will need fewer calories so that your BMR decreases. Try calculating your BMR using our BMR calculator.

Alternatively, you can use online tools to calculate your TDEE (or total daily energy expenditure), that is, the total calories you use while sleeping, digesting, exercising, etc in a whole day. The TDEE factors in not only your BMR, but also the thermic effect of food (the energy used in digestion and nutrient absorption) and the thermic effect of activity (the calories used while working out). Note that the TDEE does not show how much you should eat per day, but how many calories you burn daily. To achieve safe weight loss, consume 90% of your TDEE.

Create a calorie deficit

One pound of body fat is equivalent to 3,500 calories, which means that a deficit of 7,000 calories will cause you to lose 2 pounds per week. The safest way to lose weight and keep the results long-term is to combine dieting with exercise. Thus, if you create a 500-calorie deficit per day through diet, and burn an extra 500 calories per day through exercising, 7 days later you will have lost 7,000 calories, or 2 pounds.

Gain muscle

One body pound is made up of 25% lean tissue and 75% fat, so when losing weight you should also focus on gaining muscle, since muscle burns considerably more calories than fat even when you’re not physically active. Make sure to exercise regularly and increase your workout routine gradually.

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