Calories Needed to Lose Weight

23 Responses

  1. Brett says:

    Uh-mazing. Unbelievable, this is going to help tons.

  2. Lyndsay says:

    Thank you for being clear about the lack of exercise in the creation of these categories. I started following the guidelines from SparkPeople, which told me that with no exercise I should eat 1400-1800 calories a day. I went with the 1800 for 10 days. By the end of day 10, I was feeling faint (and so I broke my experiment that night). When I went back and calculated my energy expenditure, I found out I was burning just over 2000 calories (as a 33 yr old/135 lb female) to *maintain* my weight. I have a very physically active job, and was pretty disgusted that there was no way for me to take this into account. Hence, I’m very glad you made the energy caveat for this chart clear. 🙂

  3. Lisa says:

    Yes! Yes! Counting calories works. I am proof that it does (as are you). I lost 110 pounds by counting my calories and swimming. It WORKS. I lost it slowly but I’ve also kept it offover 2.5 years now. When I first started counting calories I hand wrote everything. Now I use my iPhone. Much easier–more accurate I think. It works!

  4. Jennifer says:

    I count my calories on also. My calorie amount according to MFP is 1,780 a day. Most days, I leave around 200 calories unused at the end of the night. For the most part, I’m not hungry for them either. Sometimes I think the calories they allot you for certain exercise is a little high.. not sure if they figure that out or if users can input that information? Either way, I love! On average I lose 2 lbs a week, a few weeks I’ve hit 5 lbs (those are fantastic weeks!) and I don’t deprive myself of any of the foods that I really like. I’ve learned to use less butter/fat when cooking, and eat about 1/2 of what I normally would have. I could never starve myself, I like food too much! lol.

  5. Is this chart the base metabolic rate of burn?

  6. Tyler says:

    I hope so, it took a while.

  7. Tyler says:

    I wanted to be VERY clear about that. I don’t want people to eat the amount of calories found in the chart above and go to the gym for two hours a day — it wouldn’t be enough energy to live. I figure though, that with a typical desk job and a 30-minute to hour gym session every day, if you added 200-300 to those amount of calories found above that’d be a good start point for daily calorie consumption.

  8. Tyler says:

    I’m planning a “counting calories testimonials” post later on this year early next year, complete with a list of people who lost weight by counting calories. I’m SO going to put you on this list.

  9. Tyler says:

    It seems like you’re doing it the right way, Jennifer. Keep it up, and man, what I wouldn’t give for one of those 5lb weeks! I am building muscles though, which is going to delay and drastic weight loss.

  10. cedric says:

    That chart seems really low, compared to other BMR tabulations (, etc). For example, right now, at 303, 5′ 10″ and being 34 years old, says that as lightly active (office job) I should eat 3400 calories to maintain my current weight. Even at ‘sedentary’ it ranks in at 3269 calories. Im not belaboring your point at all-its quite valid. The flip side is that I use LS’s numbers to base my consumption-currently at 1900/ day to lose 3 lbs a week, and I manage pretty well to get around that.

    There are two different reigning BMR calcs out there-the Mifflin, and ‘the other one’ (the name escapes me) and both are prone to gross exaggeration of BMR, especially with obese people, plus they are subject to human error because we ALL want to seem more active than we probably are.

    It’s confusing to go to three or four different sites and get wildly different BMR numbers to start subtracting calories from. FYI for your readers. I went to three different sites, got the average Basal rate for me, and then started subtracting from that. *shrug* It works.

  11. I would say that I am trying to get down to between 1900 and 2000 calories a day. I probably eat about 2500 calories a day right now.


  12. Tyler says:

    Remember that this is NOT including any physical activity. So, yes, it’s going to be quite different from Livestrong. Again though, don’t get caught up in the exact figure. Just pick a figure to start out, make sure you’re not starving yourself, and try it for a couple of weeks — if you don’t lose weight, lower the calories a little.

  13. Tyler says:

    Good plan, Kellie.

  14. Jonathan says:

    The calorie counting piece is no joke. It’s really what brings anyone true success. But putting it all together … that’s the real Holy Grail.

  15. Rebekah says:

    Thanks for putting me back on track! I haven’t been counting my calories for about 3 months or more and have really stagnated in my weight lose. What do you think is the easiest way to keep track of what calories you’re eating? Writing in a notpad, online, pre-planning and following the guidelines….what do you do?
    Thanks again!

  16. Great post, Tyler. I wish my posts had this much substance. I don’t know why, but maybe because I’ve been counting calories for so long now, but those numbers seem high. I know I’m wrong, but man, I just couldn’t imagine eating 2400 calories in a day right now.

    Well, sushi buffet and sake will do it I guess. Sigh.

  17. cedric says:

    nihon-shu and tempura will get you every time.

    I use Live strong to figure up the food, that way I can chart and graph the food diary for my VA doctor every so often.

  18. Sara says:

    Ooh ooh, me too. I could go on for hours about how calorie counting changed my life.

  19. Esther says:

    Thank you so much for this post! When I first started back in June, I couldn’t get with the counting calories thing because I could never understand how keeping track of every little thing I eat would help much. But with a couple posts you made a while back, I understand now that 1lb of body fat = 3500 calories, so to lose a pound a week, you have to burn an excess of 500 calories a day.

    So I use Graphite ( to track my calories, exercise and weight, and when you start using it, it calculates your BMR according to your activity level, and then adjusts as you adjust your weight. So I am hovering at a caloric intake of 1745 a day, and a lot of days, I have trouble actually making it up to 1745. I walk every day at the gym, and work on my core and upper body 3-4 days a week, but even with that, I still feel the need to make sure I get up to 1745. Granted I eat the same thing for breakfast every morning (yogurt, a cup of strawberries and 1/2 granola crisps, and a cup of coffee), because I don’t have the time to sit down and eat eggs and bacon etc. So there’s no real variety to my morning meal. I recently started switching my lunches between a sandwich and a bowl of soup. Dinner is the only real time I eat anything different.

    How would you suggest I change up my meals, and get to that 1745 (or close to it) so I am not making my body think I am starving it? I am open to any and all suggestions!

  20. Jennifer says:

    This is very helpful! I, too, have lost weight counting calories and exercising. I started counting in January and have kept a food diary, or used SparkPeople, every day since. I aim for 1,700 a day, but sometimes I’m higher. Now that I’ve lost 45 lbs., I’m thinking I should bring my calorie count down to 1,600 and see if that helps jump start my weight loss again. It seems I’ve been stuck at 230 lbs. forever now! (The occasional binges I’ve had lately don’t help. That’s more mental, though, and I’m working on it!)

  21. cedric says:

    I don’t know how SparkPeople works, but if you keep you weight up to date on (livestrong) it will auto adjust your calories up or down based on your goal that is set. Its pretty awesome. Mines dropped 100 calories since I started a month ago.

  22. Elly says:

    2,000 calories per day.
    I’m a 5’4 21 y.o. woman ,college stufent,and I weigh 119 pounds; I hit the gym 4 times a week,weight train 3 times, plus one session of a 30 minute cardio(moderate to low intensity sometimes)

    I lost 20 pounds two years ago (the freshman 20 for me…) and I’ve been maintaining

    I find I can definitely(and need to) eat a bit more and exercise a bit less to maintain my weight than most web sites would say; if I cut back I get weak,irritabe,hungry,etc

    I’d really advice people to experiment aoround the number of calories they need before they find out what works for them

    PS-You look absolutely amazing,and love the blog

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