Nutrition

How Many Calories Should I Eat?

You probably know that there are no quick fixes or magic bullets for losing fat or building muscle.

That said, you know that if you want to lose weight, gain muscle, or maintain your weight, you need to control your caloric intake.

But how many calories should you be eating?

You've probably heard that men should be eating 2,500 calories a day to maintain their weight and women should be eating 2,000 calories a day.

However, the truth is that sometimes these numbers only work for a few people.

Research shows that instead of sticking to these (mostly arbitrary) calorie goals, you should optimize your caloric intake for your body, lifestyle, and goals.

And that’s what you’ll find out in this article.

In the end, you will not only know how many calories to eat each day, but also:

  • This is how you set up your “macros” to optimize fat loss and muscle building
  • How to Lose, Gain, or Maintain Your Weight by Eating Foods You Really Like
  • How different eating habits affect your ability to lose weight
  • And more!

Let's start!

What is a calorie



A calorie is a unit of measure for energy.

A calorie is the amount of energy required to heat one kilogram of water by one degree Celsius (also known as a kilocalorie or calorie with a capital letter “C”).

We can measure the amount of energy contained in food and the amount of energy our body burns in calories.

How Many Calories Should You Eat To Keep Your Weight Off?

How many calories you should be eating per day to maintain your weight depends on a variety of factors, including your:

  • body weight
  • Body fat percentage
  • Activity levels
  • Age
  • diet
  • And a couple of other variables

Therefore, the number of calories you need to maintain your weight is very individual and will also change over time. That said, you can usually get a decent estimate of your current calorie needs using just your body weight and activity level.

Women

Most women between the ages of 20 and 50 who are physically active (but not following an exercise routine) and have a healthy weight need to eat around 1,700 calories a day to maintain their weight.

Women over the age of 50 sometimes need to eat less, largely because of them to have less muscle mass and are less active. Although your metabolism decreases slightly as you age, most of it decreases is due exercise less and lose muscle mass – not an inherent drop in your metabolism.

The good news is that you can counteract many of the hormonal barriers during menopause that make it difficult to maintain your weight through eat a healthy diet and to take regular exercise.

Women younger than 20 years old sometimes need to eat more, although their caloric needs vary widely depending on how active they are. This means that active young women have to eat a lot more than those who are sedentary. In other words, being young doesn't necessarily mean you should eat more than older people – it depends on your activity level.

Ironically, overweight women (a Body mass index of more than 25) generally need to eat more to maintain their weight than women of normal weight. This is because your body burns a reasonable number of calories to maintain and move your excess body weight – sometimes even over a thousand calories a day.

Men

Most men between the ages of 20 and 50 who are physically active (but not following an exercise routine) and have healthy weights need to eat around 2,200 calories a day to maintain their weight.

Men over the age of 50 often need to eat a little less than they generally do to have less muscle mass and are less active. Although your metabolism decreases slightly as you age, most of it decreases is due exercise less and lose muscle mass – not an inherent drop in your metabolism.

Men younger than 20 years old sometimes need to eat more, although their caloric needs vary widely depending on their level of activity. Put simply, active young men need to eat a lot more than sedentary ones. In other words, being young doesn't necessarily mean you should eat more than older people – it depends on your activity level.

Ironically, overweight men (a Body mass index of more than 25) generally need to eat more to maintain their weight than men of normal weight. This is because your body burns a reasonable number of calories to maintain and move your excess body weight – sometimes even over a thousand calories per day.

children

Many people think that children can eat as much as they want without worrying about gaining weight, but about staggering rise In childhood obesity lies in this term.

In fact, children generally need to eat much less than adults for one simple reason: They are smaller.

Even when a child is very active, they will still move with a very small amount of weight, so easy don't burn so many calories.

Just babies, for example need Eat 80 to 120 calories per pound of body weight per day to support healthy development. (For example, a 4-month-old 8-pound baby would need to eat around 700 calories a day).

The average toddler (1 to 3 years old) only needs to eat around 1,000 calories a day.

And the average "tween" (~ 4 to 10 years old) only needs to consume around 1,200 to 2,000 calories per day, depending on age, body weight and level of activity.

Here is a helpful chart to help you estimate how many calories your child should be eating based on age, gender, and activity level:


Calories-to-Keep-Weight-Kids (1)


Remember, however, that these numbers are only estimates – not precise rules. In fact, counting calories is generally unnecessary (and even counterproductive) for children.

Instead, it is best to eat enough to ensure that you are eating enough to support healthy growth and development healthy food options Let them eat throughout the day when they are hungry and stop eating when they are full and make sure they stay active.

How Many Calories Should You Eat?

I recommend three ways to calculate how many calories you should be eating per day:

  1. Enter your gender, weight, height and age in the field Legion calorie calculator. This is the most accurate method.
  2. Multiply your weight in pounds by 14 to 16, with women and less active people using the lower end of this range and men and more active people using the higher end of this range. This method is a little less precise, but more convenient than the first option.
  3. Use the tables below to estimate how many calories to eat based on your gender, age, and activity level. This method is the least accurate, but it is also very easy and quick.


Calories-to-maintain-weight-female



Calories to Maintain Weight Male


How Many Calories Should You Eat To Lose Weight?

To lose weight effectively, you have to walk a tightrope.

You want to reduce your calories enough that you experience constant, encouraging weight loss, but not so much that you experience lethargy, cravings, and muscle loss.

So what is that magic number?

Well, we can thank the researchers at Jyväskylä University for an answer!

In one study The researchers had 15 male track and field jumpers and sprinters nationally and internationally who were maintaining a daily calorie deficit of 300 calories (~ 10% deficit) or 750 calories (~ 24% deficit). Both groups continued their normal training schedule and ate a high protein diet.

After four weeks, the first group lost very little fat and muscle, and the second group lost an average of about four pounds of fat and very little muscle. And no group had any significant negative side effects.

These realizations are completely consistent with my experience with both my body and the body thousands of people I've Worked With: A calorie deficit of around 20-25% seems like the ideal place to lose fat quickly without losing muscle, affecting your mood, or affecting your gym performance.

This equates to a weekly weight loss rate of around 1 to 2 pounds for most people.

Here's how to turn your calorie goal into macronutrient goals

Now that you've estimated how many calories you will need to maintain your weight, the next step is to turn your calorie goal into Macronutrient Aims.

A macronutrient is a nutrient that your body needs in relatively large quantities to survive. The main ones are protein, carbohydrates, and fat. In the fitness sector, they are commonly referred to as "macros".

The reason you want to convert your calorie goal into macronutrient goals is because your macronutrient intake has a significant impact on yours Body composition. In other words, while calories alone determine how much weight you lose or gain, your macronutrient intake largely determines whether you lose or gain fat or muscle.

By eating the right amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and fat, you can ensure that most of the weight you lose "cutting" is from fat, not muscle. As a consequence, you can also make sure that most of the weight you gain while building muscle comes from muscle, not fat.

The exact number of calories you get from protein, carbohydrates, and fat will depend on your preferences and goals. However, here is what I usually recommend.

If you want to lose weight, get it. . .

  • 40% of your calories come from protein
  • 30% of your calories from carbohydrates
  • 30% of your calories from fat

These guidelines change slightly if you are already slim and want to get leaner. In this case, it's generally best to get 1 to 1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight, 20% of your calories from fat, and the rest from carbohydrates.

If you want to keep your weight or build muscle, you get. . .

  • 30% of your calories come from protein
  • 30 to 40% of your calories from carbohydrates
  • 20 to 30% of your calories from fat

Typically, for most people, this equates to around 0.8 to 1.2 grams of protein, 0.75 to 1.25 grams of carbohydrates, and 0.2 to 0.3 grams of fat per pound of body weight per day.

Once you know what percentage of your calories you want to get from protein, carbohydrates, and fat, open that up Legion Macronutrient Calculator convert these percentages into grams.

Or you can do the math yourself using the following formulas:

Grams of protein per day = (total calories x percentage of calories from protein) / 4

Grams of carbohydrates per day = (total calories x percentage of calories from carbohydrates) / 4

Grams of fat per day = (total calories x percentage of calories from fat) / 4

For example, if you wanted to eat 2,000 calories a day while losing weight, the formulas would look like this:

Grams of protein per day = (2,000 x 40%) / 4

Grams of carbohydrates per day = (2,000 x 30%) / 4

Grams of fat per day = (2,000 x 30%) / 9

Then the results would look like this:

  • 200 grams of protein per day
  • 150 grams of carbohydrates per day
  • ~ 65 grams of fat per day

For a total of 2,000 calories per day.

The best way to count calories to lose weight


How Many Calories Should I Eat to Lose 5 Pounds in a Week


First things first – do you even need to count calories to lose weight?

Not necessarily, but you need to maintain a calorie deficit in order to lose weight, and counting calories is an effective way to do it.

That said, most people find that counting calories on the fly (usually by entering the foods they put into a calorie tracking app throughout the day) becomes a strain. You inevitably waste time debating what to eat and figuring out how much to eat, and you increase the likelihood of mistakes such as eating.

There are two alternative methods of calorie control intuitive eating and Meal planning.

Intuitive eating can do well with maintaining your body composition if you are already following a fairly healthy diet, but it doesn't work as well for losing weight or getting established healthy eating habits.

Meal planning is usually the best approach because it is as effective as calorie counting (and more effective than intuitive eating) at controlling your caloric intake, but it requires less time, energy, and attention, and is therefore usually more enjoyable and sustainable.

The first thing you need to create an effective meal plan is a food scale that will allow you to weigh the foods you are eating.

While eyeball servings are better than nothing, they're too easy to mess up, especially if you're aiming for a moderate, relatively small, calorie deficit.

From there you can use a food database like Self-feeding data, the USDA Food Composition Database, CalorieKingor an app like MyFitnessPal, MyMacros +, or Cronometer to plan everything and keep track of what you eat throughout the day.

You can then use this data to create a meal plan that will ensure you meet your calorie and macro goals and eat the foods you like every day.

FAQ # 1: How can I eat less without being hungry?

The easiest way to curb hunger while cutting is to make some simple changes to your diet.

Provided you eat a lot of protein, the following tips can help you control your appetite:

Recommended literature: 8 Ways To Improve Hunger Control And Weight Loss

FAQ # 2: Should I Eat Less or Exercise More to Lose Weight?

Both!

research shows that the most efficient way to lose fat and maintain (or gain) muscle is through a combination of calorie restriction and exercise. Strength training, in particular, is the most beneficial type of exercise for weight loss, but doing a moderate amount of cardio is also helpful.

Recommended literature: The Best Way To Lose Weight Fast With Exercise

FAQ # 3: How Many Calories Should I Eat to Build Muscle?

If you are new to lifting weights (you have been following an adequate weight training and diet plan for two years or less), do so Eat enough calories to gain about 1 to 2% of your body weight per month or 0.25 to 0.5% per week.

The reason it's best to set weight gain goals in months rather than weeks is because the actual amount of weight you should be gaining is rather small. For example, if you are a 160-pound man, 0.25-0.5% of body weight per week is about 0.4-0.8 pounds per week. This is difficult to track on a weekly basis, which is why monthly benchmarks are the way to go (1.6-3.2 pounds per month in this case).

If you are a moderate or advanced weight lifter (you have been following an adequate weight training and diet plan for more than 2 years), you should be eating enough calories to gain 0.5 to 1% of your body weight per month.

Recommended literature: The Ultimate Guide to Topping Up (Without Just Getting Fat)

FAQ # 4: Can I eat more if I exercise more?

It depends on whether your goal is to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain your weight.

If your goal is to lose weight, you shouldn't "eat back" the calories you burn while exercising. The calories you burn from exercising are already taken into account when estimating your calorie needs using the methods explained in this article. So if you eat more to make up for calories burned during exercise, you are merely reducing the size of your calorie deficit and slowing down (or stopping) your weight loss.

If you are looking to gain weight, you should use your current exercise regimen to estimate how many calories you will need to gain weight, and then adjust them as needed. That is, if you don't gain weight, gradually increase your caloric intake until you are.

If your goal is to keep your weight off, only increasing your caloric intake when you start to lose weight or when you exercise a lot per week (which will result in you losing weight if you stop eating) .

Recommended literature: Good question: should you eat back the calories you burn from exercising?

+ Scientific references

Reader reviews

4.97 / 5 (146)

If you enjoyed this article, we will send you weekly updates. It is free.

100% data protection. We do not rent or share our email lists.

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Close
Close