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Calorie Needs to Maintain Weight
Calorie / Energy Expenditure Must Balance Calorie Intake
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How Many Calories to Eat to Control Weight

Calorie Needs To Maintain Weight

How Many Calories Needed to Maintain Weight

When drawing up a calorie-controlled diet plan to lose weight, you must first calculate how many calories you need to maintain your present body weight.

Your total daily calorie needs are often referred to as your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). Once you know your total daily energy expenditure, you can determine how many calories you will need to lose weight.

Daily Calorie Needs

Your daily calorie needs depend upon a variety of genetic and environmental factors, including: age, gender, metabolism (metabolic rate), activity level and body weight/size. Before you calculate your daily calorie needs, please note:

  • Calorie needs peak during your mid-twenties, then decline at about 2 percent per decade. So if, at 25, you need 2300 calories per day, by 35 you need only 2254 calories. This reduction in calorie needs is due partly to an increase in body fat percentage that comes with age. Fat is less metabolically active than lean muscle tissue and 'burns' fewer calories.
  • Men have calorie needs 5-10 percent higher than women. Again, this is due to their higher percentage of lean muscle tissue. The exception is pregnancy, when a woman's calorie needs rise (on average) by 300 calories per day when pregnant, and 500 calories per day when breast-feeding.
  • Although weight loss is theoretically determined by calorie intake, it is best to reduce calories to no more than about 1200 calories per day. Go lower and your metabolism (metabolic rate) slows down and burns fewer calories. Why? Because it thinks food is scarce and thus tries to maintain body weight by making energy (calories) go further.
  • The basic rate at which you burn calories - your metabolic rate - is inherited. Some people inherit a faster metabolism, some people inherit a slower metabolism. Fortunately, you can raise your metabolic rate by increasing your exercise.

How to Calculate Your Daily Calorie Needs

Follow instructions below, or use our calorie-needs calculator by clicking: CALCULATE CALORIE NEEDS (Adults)
[Uses Harris-Benedict Formula]

Here are four different ways to calculate your daily calorie needs. Because caloric needs depend on so many factors and because there are so many different body types, body weights, and physical activity routines, none of these calorie-calculation methods are foolproof. But they should help you to move into a healthy calorie zone.

For more information about calories in food and calorie-needs, see: Food Calories


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