When it comes to wanting to know how many calories to eat to lose weight, people get confused. Calorie science is not as easy as it might seem at first glance. Proper calorie intake depends on many factors, such as your height, weight, gender, and activity level.
If you want really want to know how many calories to eat to lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn. This is the only way to force your body to use stored fat for energy instead of the food you supply to it on a daily basis.
Table of Contents
- 1 How Many Calories to Eat to Lose Weight: Daily Calorie Maintenance Level
- 2 How Many Calories You Should Eat to Lose Weight
- 18.104.22.168.1 Calorie maintenance level *0.80 = Calories to be consumed daily
- 22.214.171.124.2 One pound of body weight is about 3500 calories
- 126.96.36.199.3 By reducing your daily calorie intake by 500 calories, you will lose 1 pound per week
- 188.8.131.52.4 By reducing your daily calorie intake by 1000 calories, you will lose 2 pounds per week
- 184.108.40.206.5 30 minutes of fast walking will burn about 130 calories
- 220.127.116.11.6 30 minutes of light bicycling will burn about 210 calories
- 18.104.22.168.7 30 minutes of slow swimming will burn about 245 calories
- 22.214.171.124.8 30 minutes of running (at about 6 miles per hour) will burn about 350 calories
- 3 How to Track How Many Calories to Eat to Lose Weight
- 126.96.36.199.1 Apple – 72
- 188.8.131.52.2 Bread (one slice) – 66
- 184.108.40.206.3 Carrots (1 cup) – 52
- 220.127.116.11.4 Cheddar cheese (1 slice) – 113
- 18.104.22.168.5 Chicken breast (3 ounces) – 142
- 22.214.171.124.6 Coffee – 2
- 126.96.36.199.7 Scrambled egg – 102 (meanwhile a boiled egg is just 76 calories)
- 188.8.131.52.8 Green beans (1 cup) – 40
- 184.108.40.206.9 Oatmeal (1 cups) – 147
- 220.127.116.11.10 Rice (once cup)– 205
- 18.104.22.168.11 Cereal (1 cup) – 100
- 22.214.171.124.12 Beer (12 ounces) – 153
- 126.96.36.199.13 Pizza (1 slice)– 288
- 188.8.131.52.14 Jelly doughnut – 289
- 184.108.40.206.15 Cola (12 oz.) – 136
- 220.127.116.11.16 Spaghetti (1 cup) – 221
- 18.104.22.168.17 Cheese Whopper (from Burger King) – 711
- 22.214.171.124.18 Chocolate chip cookie – 59
- 126.96.36.199.19 Chocolate cake (1 piece) – 250
- 3.1 You may also like:
How Many Calories to Eat to Lose Weight: Daily Calorie Maintenance Level
Before you find out how many calories you need to eat to lose weight, you need to figure out how many you need to maintain your body weight – when the number of calories you consume equals the number of calories that you burn.
For example, your body burns 2000 calories a day, thanksto exercising (gym sessions, weight lifting, cardio, etc.), regular daily activities (walking, dressing, showering, driving, etc.), and the essential functions your body is performing to survive (pumping blood, breathing, digesting, etc.).
Accordingly, if you manage to consume 2000 calories a day, your weight will stay exactly the same and this makes 2000 calories your daily calorie maintenance level. Since this level depends on many different factors, it can be hard to make precise calculations. In order to get approximate results, you can use the following formula:
Body Weight (in pounds) * 15.5 = approximate calorie maintenance level
You can also use the chart below (1):
|Gender||Age||Sedentary Lifestyle*||Moderately active lifestyle**||Active Lifestyle***|
*Sedentary lifestyle – Includes just the regular activities you go through during the day.
** Moderately active lifestyle – Includes walking 2- 3 miles a day at 3 -4 miles per hour or the equivalent of such activity in exercises.
***Active lifestyle – Includes walking more than 3 miles a day at 3 -4 miles per hour or the equivalent of such activity in exercises.
Another way to calculate the daily calorie maintenance level is to experiment with the food you eat and see how your weight does or doesn’t change in response. This method is the most accurate. Unfortunately, it’s also time-consuming. And in reality, the above two methods can help you just as well.
How Many Calories You Should Eat to Lose Weight
Now that you know your calorie maintenance level, you can use it as a starting point to calculate how many calories to eat to lose weight. Obviously, the number has to be less than the one you just came up with. But how much less? The average amount of calories you need to consume to lose weight is calculated the following way:
Calorie maintenance level *0.80 = Calories to be consumed daily
This is an ideal weight loss rate that can be beneficial to your health while getting you into your favorite jeans. Some people prefer to go further and decrease the number of calories even more. However, such rate of weight loss could be detrimental to your health.
If you don’t give your body enough calories, it will burn all the stored fat and additionally, it will go on to deplete your muscle mass which can lead to unfortunate health problems. According to the specialists at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2), people who lose weight at a rate of about 1- 2 lbs. per week have the best shot at keeping the weight off for a long time. Now that you get a general idea of how many calories to eat to lose weight, I wanted to go over a few important facts.
One pound of body weight is about 3500 calories
By reducing your daily calorie intake by 500 calories, you will lose 1 pound per week
By reducing your daily calorie intake by 1000 calories, you will lose 2 pounds per week
While you are decreasing the calorie intake, consider the following exercises that can help you burn more calories:
30 minutes of fast walking will burn about 130 calories
30 minutes of light bicycling will burn about 210 calories
30 minutes of slow swimming will burn about 245 calories
30 minutes of running (at about 6 miles per hour) will burn about 350 calories
If you manage to spend 30 minutes exercising every day, your weight loss will go much faster and you’ll be able to treat yourself with some tasty munchies every once in a while without being afraid of gaining weight.
How to Track How Many Calories to Eat to Lose Weight
Even if you know exactly how many calories to eat to lose weight, counting them is not always easy. You need to learn how to read the labels at the grocery stores while finding your way around a calorie table.
The information about the number of calories can be found on the label under the word “energy”. The calorie content is usually labeled ‘kcals” (kilocalories) or kJ (kilojoules). A kilocalorie is the same as a calorie. So if it says 300 kcals, it means the product contains 300 calories.
Kilojoules are a little more complicated. They are the metric equivalent of calories. So in order to get the number of calories, you need to multiply the kJs by 4.2. (3)
Since studying each label closely can be a little frustrating, you can use a table of foods with approximate calorie content (4):
Apple – 72
Bread (one slice) – 66
Carrots (1 cup) – 52
Cheddar cheese (1 slice) – 113
Chicken breast (3 ounces) – 142
Coffee – 2
Scrambled egg – 102 (meanwhile a boiled egg is just 76 calories)
Green beans (1 cup) – 40
Oatmeal (1 cups) – 147
Rice (once cup)– 205
Cereal (1 cup) – 100
And here are some “unhealthy” foods for comparison (5):
Beer (12 ounces) – 153
Pizza (1 slice)– 288
Jelly doughnut – 289
Cola (12 oz.) – 136
Spaghetti (1 cup) – 221
Cheese Whopper (from Burger King) – 711
Chocolate cake (1 piece) – 250
Now you can see that after swimming for 30 minutes, you can allow yourself to eat one piece of cake without being afraid of gaining weight. You now know how many calories to eat to lose weight. In order to burn all the calories you get from a Cheese Whopper, you need to run fast for more than an hour. So while learning how many calories you should eat to lose weight, you should be strongly considering which foods to avoid.