How Many Calories Should I Eat?

No matter, whether you are healthy, overweight or skinny, your body needs calories. For each and every human being, the calorie requirement is different. So, when we talk about calories, there is always a question – ‘How many calories should I eat?’ Well, there is no universal answer to this question. You need to find out the calorie requirement of your body. You need to find out the calorie requirement of your body in a single day. There are many factors such as age, gender, weight, height, levels of activity, as well as whether or not you are trying to lose, gain or maintain your weight that will decide the calorie requirement of your body. Whatever the amount of calorie your body needs, it is important to have a balance between the amounts of calorie you consume in a day with those that you burn up in a day.

Height and weight

To calculate your calorie requirement, you need to first find out your basal metabolic rate (BMR) which is the amount of calories that your body needs to survive without any activity. Your BMR depends on several factors such as:

  • Weight – The current weight of your body is directly linked with the amount of calories you consume. Also, you need to eat calories just to keep that weight.
  • Height – The MBR of people of same weight will be different if they have different heights.
  • Gender – For men and women, the body structure is different and hence with the same height and weight their MBR will be different. Men have a higher percentage of muscles, which means that they burn more calories.
  • Age – The metabolism of the body slows down with age. 

Here is a simple method to calculate your BMR.

Non-metric System:

BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in lbs.) + (4.7 x height inches) – (4.7 x age in years)

BMR = 66 + (6.23 x weight in lbs.) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years)

Metric System:

BMR = 655 + (9.6 x weight in kilos) + (1.8 x height in cm) – (4.7 x age in years)

BMR = 66 + (13.7 x weight in kilos) + (5 x height in cm) – (6.8 x age in years)

For example the BMR of a 44-year old male having 5’10” height and a weight of 180 pounds would need 1768 calories to maintain his weight and overall health.

Just your MBR is not enough to come to a conclusion regarding the amount of calories you should eat. To find out the actual figure you need to know your activity level.  You need to find out you Active Metabolic Rate (AMR) which estimates the number of calories you need to maintain your weight based on the level of your physical activity. 

Activity Factor

Sedentary = 1.200
Lightly active = 1.375
Moderately Active = 1.550
Very Active = 1.725
Extremely Active = 1.900

Now the formula to calculate Active Metabolic Rate is (BMR) x (Activity Modifier) = Active Metabolic Rate

So based on this formula, a 35 year old male, who is 6 ft 2 inches, weighs 184 pounds, who does moderate exercise would need to consume less than 2969 calories per day to lose weight.  By knowing the answer you can control your metabolism rate. If you eat less than what you burn, you lose your weight. If you eat more than what you burn, you gain weight.

Here is an estimated calorie requirements (in kilocalories) chart for each gender and age group at different levels of physical activity: 

Estimated calorie requirements
Your action plan:

Body weight

Once you know where you stand, you need to decide whether you want to lose some weight, gain some weight or just need to maintain your current weight. No matter what, you need to keep track on your calorie intake to ensure that you will stick to your limit! If you want to lose weight, the average recommended daily calorie intake is 1,000-1,500. Well, for those who are into regular exercise, can consume up to 2,000 calories. A diet below 1,000 calories can be bad for your overall health. The total amount of calories you consume should not come from a single source such as fat, but needs to be balanced with other sources like carbohydrates and protein. 

Healthy Diet:

Fruits and vegetables

You need a healthy diet which means appropriate amounts of all essential nutrients along with adequate water intake. A healthy diet needs to have a balance of macronutrients (fats, proteins, and carbohydrates), calories, and micronutrients.  You must eat certain things in moderation, such as saturated fat, Trans fat, cholesterol, refined sugar, salt and alcohol. More fresh vegetables and fruits must be included in your diet. All health experts recommend that you must avoid diets which are rather low in calories. This is something every important for those who want to lose weight fast. Low calorie foods can put on weight that you work hard to lose. Skipping your meal is also a bad idea. In fact, you should eat small meals five to six times a day.  Also, less calorie consumption as compared to what your body needs can result in low energy level and stamina. This will hamper your health and can lead to many diseases.

Regular Exercise:


It is always a better option to combine adequate and necessary consumption of calories with regular exercise for at least thirty minutes. Engage in regular exercise to burn up the additional calories. This will make you feel good, maintain your health and relax you. You can consult your doctor for advice on the best exercises for your body. A moderate physical active for at least thirty minutes every day is good for all.

To conclude, always keep in mind that a specific amount of calories is essential for proper growth and development. Whether you want to gain weight fast, lose weight fast or maintain your weight, calories play an important role.

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  1. healthy eating to lose weight says:

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