How many calories do I burn a day? How many you need to lose weight

Food Energy Converter

The following converter can be used to convert between Calories and other common food energy units.

Related:BMI Calculator | Body Fat Calculator | Ideal Weight Calculator

This Calorie Calculator is based on several equations, and the results of the calculator are based on an estimated average. The Harris-Benedict Equation was one of the earliest equations used to calculate basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the amount of energy expended per day at rest. It was revised in 1984 to be more accurate and was used up until 1990, when the Mifflin-St Jeor Equation was introduced. The Mifflin-St Jeor Equation also calculates BMR, and has been shown to be more accurate than the revised Harris-Benedict Equation. The Katch-McArdle Formula is slightly different in that it calculates resting daily energy expenditure (RDEE), which takes lean body mass into account, something that neither the Mifflin-St Jeor nor the Harris-Benedict Equation do. Of these equations, the Mifflin-St Jeor Equation is considered the most accurate equation for calculating BMR with the exception that the Katch-McArdle Formula can be more accurate for people who are leaner and know their body fat percentage. The three equations used by the calculator are listed below:

Mifflin-St Jeor Equation: For men: BMR = 10W + 6.25H – 5A + 5 For women:

BMR = 10W + 6.25H – 5A – 161

Revised Harris-Benedict Equation: For men: BMR = 13.397W + 4.799H – 5.677A + 88.362 For women:

BMR = 9.247W + 3.098H – 4.330A + 447.593

Katch-McArdle Formula:

BMR = 370 + 21.6(1 – F)W


W is body weight in kg H is body height in cm A is age F is body fat in percentage

The value obtained from these equations is the estimated number of calories a person can consume in a day to maintain their body-weight, assuming they remain at rest. This value is multiplied by an activity factor (generally 1.2-1.95), dependent on a person’s typical levels of exercise, in order to obtain a more realistic value for maintaining body-weight (since people are less likely to be at rest throughout the course of an entire day). 1 pound, or approximately 0.45 kg, equates to about 3,500 calories. As such, in order to lose 1 pound per week, it is recommended that 500 calories be shaved off the estimate of calories necessary for weight maintenance per day. For example, if a person has an estimated allotment of 2,500 calories per day to maintain body-weight, consuming 2,000 calories per day for one week would theoretically result in 3,500 calories (or 1 pound) lost during the period.

It is important to remember that proper diet and exercise is largely accepted as the best way to lose weight. It is inadvisable to lower calorie intake by more than 1,000 calories per day, as losing more than 2 pounds per week can be unhealthy, and can result in the opposite effect in the near future by reducing metabolism. Losing more than 2 pounds a week will likely involve muscle loss, which in turn lowers BMR, since more muscle mass results in higher BMR. Excessive weight loss can also be due to dehydration, which is unhealthy. Furthermore, particularly when exercising in conjunction with dieting, maintaining a good diet is important, since the body needs to be able to support its metabolic processes and replenish itself. Depriving the body of the nutrients it requires as part of heavily unhealthy diets can have serious detrimental effects, and weight lost in this manner has been shown in some studies to be unsustainable, since the weight is often regained in the form of fat (putting the participant in a worse state than when beginning the diet). As such, in addition to monitoring calorie intake, it is important to maintain levels of fiber intake as well as other nutritional necessities to balance the needs of the body.


How many calories do I burn a day?

Most people will burn over 1800 calories every day, without doing any exercise at all.

As Dr Potter explains, this is because we burn most of our calories just through daily bodily functions. Our bodies have all sorts of different housekeeping functions they have to maintain even at rest. Your heart is always beating, your brain requires lots of energy. That resting energy expenditure actually makes up the majority of calories people burn each day,” he says. 

Naturally, if you do any exercise or have an active job then you’re likely to burn more calories.

On average, someone with a job where they walk aro

On average, someone with a job where they walk around for most of the day will do over 14,000 more steps than someone with a sedentary job.

This finding comes from a study by the American Council on Exercise and the Exercise and Health Program at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. They looked at 10 different occupations and how many steps each person did every day. A mail carrier, for instance, does around 18, 904 steps per day according to the study. This works out to about 882 more calories burned per day than a secretary, who will supposedly burn 196 calories throughout the day.

However, it’s a little bit more complicated than this. How many calories you’ll burn per day, either just through your bodily functions or with the addition of exercise, also depends on three main factors according to the Mayo Clinic

  • Weight/Height: The heavier you weigh, whether fat-mass or muscle mass, the more calories you’ll burn. Taller people tend to also weigh more because they are supporting more mass.
  • Sex: Men tend to have more muscle and less fat-mass than women, meaning they burn more calories
  • Age: The amount of muscle you have tends to decrease as your get older, slowing down the amount of calories you burn.

2 – Calories Based on Your Weight Now

Your Starting weight has a big impact on the how many calories you can eat to lose weight.

Calories by Start Weight for Women

This table is based on a 30 year old woman who is moderately sedentary and 5'5 in height.

Women at Starting Weight: Daily Calories to Lose:
1lb/wk  1.5lbs/wk 2lbs/wk
12 Stone 1546 1296 1100*
14 Stone 1721 1471 1221
16 Stone 1895 1645 1395
18 Stone 2070 1820 1570
20 Stone 2244 1994 1744
22 Stone 2419 2169 1919
24 Stone 2594 2344 2094

*1100 calories per day is the minimum recommended by wlr for maintaining a healthy diet with sufficient nutrients and variety of foods.

You can use the lose a stone calulator to see an estimate of how long it would take for you to lose a stone, based on your gender, current weight and height.

Calories by Start Weight for Men

The men's chart is based on a moderately sedentary 35 year old man of 5'9 tall.

Men at Starting Weight: Daily Calories to Lose:
1lb/wk  1.5lbs/wk 2lbs/wk
13 Stone 1914 1664 1414
15 Stone 2089 1839 1589
17 Stone 2264 2014 1764
19 Stone 2438 2188 1938
21 Stone 2613 2363 2113
23 Stone 2788 2538 2288
25 Stone 2962 2712 2462

The number of calories required for you to lose weight gets lower as your weight goes down.

People sometimes blame some variation of 'starvation mode' when the number of calories needed to maintain their 2lb a week weight loss goes down. But this doesn't happen when you are losing weight at a maximum 2lbs a week.

As you can see from the chart, it's just that you naturally need fewer calories at a lower weight.

6 – How Quickly You Want to Lose

As you can see, the faster you want to lose weight, the fewer calories you can eat day to day.

There are diets that claim you can lose half a stone in a week, and it's not impossible if you starve yourself.

The problem is that most of that initial fast wieight loss will be water and energy that was stored up in your muscles – not much actual fat.

Worse than that, you'll put yourself through a nasty regime for very short term losses.

You won't continue to lose half a stone a week, and unless you maintain a calorie intake lower than that required for a 2lb a week loss (some form of fasting or extreme sessions of intense exercise) your weight loss will settle at around a maximum of 2lbs a week.

Research shows that even low carb, ketogenic diets produce high weight loss at the start,  end up producing similar amounts of weight loss to a normal low calorie diet by the time you get to 3 or six months.

So why put yourself through that?

In any event, in our experience people mostly want to lose fat from around their belly – not water weight that could make their muscles look a little bigger.

Our Advice

  • Choose a rate of loss that provides you with a calorie allowance you can live with for long enough to reach your weight loss goal
  • Try out different calorie levels to see what's right for you
  • Try and increase your background activity level, or add in some exercise sessions (brisk walking will do the trick) to incease the calories you can eat whilst continuing to lose weight
  • Try some resistance or weight training exercise to build up your muscle. (The reason men burn more calories than women is because they have more muscle)
  • Log the calories you consume on a regular basis to keep on track with your weight loss 

How Many Calories To Lose Weight?

Intake of calories is important for everyone, but many people think that calories are only essential for dieters. In simple words, a calorie is the unit of energy that helps to measures the amount of energy in the food and beverages that you consume.

When it comes to healthy weight loss, you have to intake fewer calories or burn more calories with workout/exercise to lose weight. According to WHO, you have to burn off more calorie for weight loss than you ingest.

Any weight loss plan that you adopt to reduce excess flab often sticks with calorie intake to lose weight.  Well, come to the point you can about your every single calorie that you need to shed weight with the assistance of calories per day calculator.

What you should know when trying to lose weight

  1. When you start a diet or weight loss program you will not only lose fat. Especially at the beginning you will lose water weight and in some cases you may also lose muscle. So the results in the first few weeks may be misleading.
  2. When you make sudden or drastic changes to your diet the body will try to adapt by lowering the metabolic rate. In other words it enters a protective mode by reducing the number of calories it needs per day. As a result weight loss may slow down.
  3. The absolute minimum amount of calories you can consume per day is 1000-1100 kcal. It is not recommended to go beyond this number for any reason.
  4. The recommended weight to lose per week is between 1 – 1.5 pounds. Anything above that can have other implications to your health and normal body functioning.
  5. Do not forget that drinks also carry calories so make sure that you include drinks in your daily calorie calculations.
  6. You can use a technique called “calorie cycling” to make the process easier to follow. This means that once you calculate your daily calorie needs you can go above and below this range on different days of the week. If for example you daily calorie needs are 1700 you can choose to go above this number on Monday and Wednesday and below this number the rest days of the week but try to avoid exaggerations.
  7. Make sure that you give correct measurements for your weight and height when calculating your BMR.
  8. Do not lie about your activity level but try to be as accurate as possible.
  9. Do not decrease your daily calorie intake by more than 500 calories per day. Better expand the time period. Reducing your intake by 500 calories is a lot and very difficult to follow for a long time.
  10. Always consult your doctor or dietician before making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.

How many calories do you need to cut to lose weight?

Depending on where you fall in there, White says you could lose one pound of body fat a week if you subtract 500 calories per day (or 3,500 calories per week) from this number.

For example, if you’re a woman whose BMR is 1,500 and you’re moderately active, that’s 2,325 calories a day. To drop a digit on the scale, you’ll need to subtract 500 calories from that total amount, as White suggests. This means eating 1,825 calories a day.

But that doesn’t mean you should be chugging sodas and eating brownies on the reg as long as you fall under this calorie ceiling. All calories are not made equal, and a study in JAMA found that people who ate a low-carb diet lost more weight than those who ate the same calories on a low-fat diet. So consider eating more healthy fats and make sure the calories you consume aren’t just adding up to your weekly goal, but doing your body favors in other ways.

RELATED: 150+ recipe ideas that get you lean for life.

To figure out how much you should eat for weight loss, youve got to factor in your activity

Now that we've calculated how much calories your body burns in order to stay functioning, we need to take into account everything else you do that burns calories including your morning walks and regular Tuesday night yoga classes. To do that you can try the interactive calculator from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This tool incorporates your activity level along with your BMR to give you a more specific number providing you with a rough estimate of how much you should eat in order to maintain your current weight (BMR + activity level).

What is a good calorie deficit for weight loss?

A good energy deficit for weight loss is referred to as cutting anywhere between 500 to 1000 cals per day. While, you might be tempted to cut more calories per day to lose weight, it is not worth it because it leads to certain nutrient deficiencies, heart & digestive problems and even may cause eating disorders. Once you know about your calories for weight loss, simply use an online target weight calculator that allows you to compute the target dates for goal weight.

How to create Calorie Deficit to Lose Weight?

Remember that creating a calorie deficit for losing weight is not such an easy task as you people seem. You should have to make a specific energy deficit for fat loss to happen. Health Experts estimate that an individual need a calorie deficit of 3500 calories per week to lose one pound of fat.

Sounds like a lot of calories, but in actual, the weekly calorie deficit can be broken into daily energy deficits to make weight loss process more manageable. All you need to create a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day to reach a total deficit of 3500 calories per week. Also, you can use goal weight calculator that helps you in reaching your healthy weight goal corresponding to your calories deficit status.

Well, come to the point, there’s no need to starve you with a trendy diet or juice fast. Just get your weight loss planner to plan your calorie intake for healthy weight loss and stick to three healthy ways to create a calorie deficit for extreme and quick weight loss.

Eat Less Food:

So, how many calories do i need to eat to lose weight! Remember that if you cut your portion sizes, simply cut back on snacking and add lower-calorie foods in your weight loss diet plan, you will consume fewer calories each day. And, if you reduce your caloric intake enough, you will make a calorie deficit large enough for healthy weight loss.

Get Active:

The number of calories that an individual body needs each day based on his/her activity level. You can try an online weight loss predictor that simply predicts the number of calories to lose weight. Activity level includes exercise that you do every day and even your non-exercise physical movement. Remember that if you increase the number of calories that your body requires, but still you intake the same number of calorie from certain foods, you will reach a calorie deficit.

Combine Diet and Exercise:

No doubt, most accomplished dieters combine both diet and exercise to lose weight. It’s simply means that they might be consume 250 fewer calories per day and then ahead to a 60-minute brisk walk to burn an additional 250 calories. Means, the calories deficit for losing weight would total 500 calories. So, simply use the above weight loss planner to create a similar plan for each day to reach the 3,500 calorie deficit needed for weight loss.

What causes water weight loss when dieting?

Your water weight loss is the weight of water released from glycogen. Low glucose levels in the blood from dieting can trigger the release of needed glucose contained in glycogen molecules stored mainly in the liver and muscles. Each gram of glycogen is bound to 3 or 4 grams of water. Glycogen stores depleted during the first few days of dieting release that water and excreted as urine.

Factors That Affect Your Target Calorie Intake

As the recommended calorie intake guidelines suggest, the number of calories you need per day can vary based on a variety of factors. Among them are:

  • Sex
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Age
  • Activity level

Additional factors that can affect how many calories your body uses for energy, thus also impacting how many you should consume, include your hormones, some medications (such as steroids and some diabetes medicines), and your overall health.

The Nutrition Facts label on foods provides information based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet. But people can have different calorie needs. Determining your individual needs can help you maintain a healthy weight.

How many calories you burn through exercise and other activities?

Burning calories is not easy. Those that are counting calories burned while exercising know that it’s hard work to burn those extra calories.

To give you an idea, here is how many calories you can burn in 30-minute activities. (3)

Calorie Burned in Common Activities and Exercises
Calorie Burned in Common Activities and Exercises

Meet Our Panelists

The Forbes Health Calorie Calculator panel consists of a physician, a registered dietitian and the senior director of science and research at the American Council on Exercise (ACE). They reviewed the methods used by this tool to calculate daily calorie needs to maintain and lose weight.

How Many Calories Are in a Pound?

Wondering how much you need to cut in order to lose one pound?  Well, there are roughly 3,500 calories in a pound of fat, so you would need to cut this amount from your diet through food or exercise to lose one pound. 

This number will also give you a good gauge of how fast you are able to lose weight since there are only so many calories you can cut or burn each day. If you spread out 3,500 calories throughout the week – 500 calories a day – you can expect to lose about a pound per week. But again this depends on many individual factors and is not a perfect science. 

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How many calories do I burn during exercise?

How many calories you burn during exercise depends on: weight/height, sex and age. 

However, if you’re looking to take up an exercise that burns the most calories per minute, there are some that are more intensive than others. This is how much a 68kg, 5ft 6 woman in her 30s may burn per minute when working at an average pace: 

  • Running: 11 calories
  • Spinning: 11 calories
  • Skipping: 10 calories
  • HIIT/Interval Training: 10 calories
  • Swimming: 10 calories
  • Jogging: 8 calories
  • Cycling: 7 calories
  • Boxing: 6 calories
  • Tennis: 5 calories
  • Rowing: 5 calories
  • Pilates: 4 calories
  • Walking: 2 calories
  • Yoga: 2 calories

However, this may be more or less depending on how intense the workout is and the variety of factors listed above. 

Naturally, the most successful exercise will be the one you enjoy most. While running tends to burn more calories than cycling, if the idea of going out for a run fills you with a deep dread, you’re less likely to go. 

Doing an exercise you like means you’re more

Doing an exercise you like means you’re more likely to stick to it, Credit: Getty.

However, if you’re relatively new to exercise and still finding your groove in what you do and don’t like, Dr Potter says there’s one type of exercise that’s perfect for those looking to lose weight. 

He says, “If I was going to pick one exercise for somebody whose goal is weight-loss, knowing that people are a bit crunched for time, I would definitely push them towards doing strength training.” 

Not only is strength training (otherwise known as resistance training) proven to burn more calories in the longer term, whether that be weightlifting or callisthenics, it’s also better for maintaining an all round body composition. 

“If those who are losing weight don’t do resistance training,” Dr Greg Potter says, “They’ll end up losing a big proportion of their mass as fat mass but also a relatively substantial portion of their mass as fat-free mass. They’ll lose muscle mass and bone mass and so on as well.” 

A few years down the line, the depletion of muscle mass could lead to less mobility and greater weakness, meaning you’re more prone to falling over and fractures. While the loss of bone mass can trigger conditions such as osteoporosis, otherwise known as “weak bones”. It’s a disease that causes bones to become brittle and makes them more likely to fracture too. 

“However, if they do resistance training, they’ll hold onto a lot more of their fat-free mass.” 

Resistance training is also a good exercise to go for, as you really never know how many calories you’re actually burning through exercise – even when you use a fitness tracker. 

“What’s important to recognise is that when somebody steps on a treadmill and they see some estimate of calories burnt while running, they often forget two things,” Dr Potter tells GoodtoKnow. “One, that it is just an estimate and it’s probably not particularly accurate. It’s actually quite difficult to measure energy expenditure (i.e. calories burnt) in the real world.

“And two, people often forget that they would have been burning calories at rest anyway during a bout of exercise. I think many people go wrong because they’ll go to the gym, get on a treadmill and stay on it for an hour. 

“It’ll say something like ‘500 calories burnt’ and

“It’ll say something like ‘500 calories burnt’ and they’ll think, ‘great, I’ve just earned an additional 500 calories on top of what I would have burnt’. But the reality is, they would have burnt some of those calories at rest anyway.” 

This is why it’s important to look at your diet first if you’re looking to gain or lose weight.

Calories Burned from Common Exercises:

Activity (1 hour)125 lb person155 lb person185 lb person
Golf (using cart)198246294
Walking (3.5 mph)215267319
Swimming (free-style, moderate)397492587
Tennis (general) 397492587
Running (9 minute mile)624773923
Bicycling (12-14 mph, moderate)454562671
Football (general)399494588
Basketball (general)340422503
Soccer (general)397492587

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How many calories do you need per day?

Your personal calorie requirements depend on your basal metabolic rate and your physical activity level. What is basal metabolic rate? It is the number of calories your body burns at rest during a 24-hour period. You can calculate your personal calorie requirement with the following equations:

Basal metabolic rate (BMR): Women: 655.1 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)

Men: 66.47 + (6.24 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.755 x age in years)

Daily calorie requirement: BMR x PAL (1.2 – 2.4)

The PAL value (PAL stands for “physical activity level”) describes the physical activities a person does within a 24-hour period:

  • 1.2: primarily in a sitting and lying position, no recreational activities (e.g. elderly or bedridden people, wheelchair users)
  • 1.3 – 1.5: mainly in a sitting position with a little recreational activity (e.g. white-collar workers)
  • 1.6 – 1.7: in a sitting position at work with some standing and walking activities (e.g. assembly-line workers, truck drivers)
  • 1.8 – 1.9: mostly in a standing and walking position (e.g. retail workers, salespeople, tradespeople, waitstaff)
  • 2 – 2.4: hard and strenuous physical activity at work (e.g. professional athletes, construction workers, miners, farmers)

You can calculate your daily caloric intake with the following equation:

Of course, it all depends on your goal:  if you wa

Of course, it all depends on your goal: if you want to lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit. You have to cut a total of 3,500 calories to lose one pound of fat. If you want to lose weight in a healthy way, we recommend that you cut between 300 and 500 calories a day, but not more. This way you will lose about one pound per week. The advantage of a slow and healthy approach to losing weight is that it makes it easier to maintain your weight loss and helps you avoid the dreaded yo-yo effect.

Did you know?

You have to cut 3,500 calories to lose one pound of fat.

Although calories are important, theyre just one element of eating well

These experts all agree that counting calories isn't the be-all, end-all of living your healthiest life, even when it comes to weight loss. "[Counting calories] can become obsessive and makes you feel like you're on a diet," says Zeitlin, who doesn’t use the practice with her clients. There's also the fact that sticking to an exact number means being strict to a point that often isn't sustainable. Eyeballing portions usually isn’t precise enough, so real calorie counting involves reading labels, buying a food scale, measuring out portions, the whole nine yards. Also, according to an April 2015 report from The New York Times, even official calorie labels can be inaccurate. Plus, if counting calories stresses you out, you could theoretically raise your cortisol levels to the point that it's harder for you lose weight, says Feldman. If you have a history of disordered eating, even if you're in recovery, focusing on calories could steer you to dangerous eating patterns.