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How Much Calories Should I Be Eating

What Should My Estimated Activity Level Be For Tdee

How Many Calories Should You Eat To Lose Fat? (GET THIS RIGHT!)

Most of us are bad at estimating our levels of activity.

Study after study demonstrates that people overestimate their levels of exercise and general activity.

For example, one study concluded that:

These results suggest that normal weight individuals overestimate energy expenditure during exercise by 3-4 folds. Further, when asked to precisely compensate for exercise EE with food intake, the resulting energy intake is still 2 to 3 folds greater than the measured EE of exercise.

Not only that, but our fitness trackers overestimate how many calories we expend through exercise toosome by as much as 90%!

This infographic shows how big of a difference those calorie discrepancies can be:

We think were working out intensely for 60 minutes, so we overeat, assuming we have lots of extra calories in our daily budget to spare.

However, when researchers look at stuff like heart rate, VO2 max, and calories burned, they determine that we actually only exercised moderately.

So yeah, dont always trust your Fitbit:

Oh, and this is only one side of the equation. As I said, folks also UNDERESTIMATE how much they ate.

Regarding calories and food intake, folks consistently believe they eat less than they actually do.

Oh, and this is even true of dietitians, who are specifically trained on calories contained in different meals.

This study found that:

The dietitians underreported their energy intake obtained from the food records by an average of 223 calories a day.

Potential Downsides Of Counting Calories

Although counting calories can be an effective strategy for weight loss, its important to remember that there are many other factors to consider when choosing what and how to eat.

Instead of focusing solely on calories, its best to follow a balanced diet thats rich in a variety of nutritious, whole foods. This can ensure that youre getting the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that your body needs to support weight management and overall health.

If you do decide to cut calories, be careful not to decrease your intake too much, as doing so may cause several serious side effects, including increased hunger, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, and nausea .

Eating too few calories may also slow your metabolism, making it harder to maintain weight loss in the long term .

Losing weight sustainably also takes time. You should focus on small, gradual changes rather than rapid weight loss strategies.

Finally, calorie counting isnt an exact science. Some days your body needs more calories, while on other days it needs fewer. Focusing exclusively on numbers and weight may also lead to disordered eating .


Cutting calories too much may harm your health and make it harder to maintain weight loss. Instead of focusing only on calories, concentrate on a well-rounded diet thats rich in nutritious, whole foods.

Meeting Your Calorie Target

How can you meet your daily calorie target? One approach is to add up the number of calories per serving of all the foods that you eat, and then plan your menus accordingly. You can buy books that list calories per serving for many foods. In addition, the nutrition labels on all packaged foods and beverages provide calories per serving information. Make a point of reading the labels of the foods and drinks you use, noting the number of calories and the serving sizes. Many recipes published in cookbooks, newspapers, and magazines provide similar information.

If you hate counting calories, a different approach is to restrict how much and how often you eat, and to eat meals that are low in calories. Dietary guidelines issued by the American Heart Association stress common sense in choosing your foods rather than focusing strictly on numbers, such as total calories or calories from fat. Whichever method you choose, research shows that a regular eating schedule with meals and snacks planned for certain times each day makes for the most successful approach. The same applies after you have lost weight and want to keep it off. Sticking with an eating schedule increases your chance of maintaining your new weight.

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Wh’s Final Word On How Many Calories To Eat

If you’re worried about portion control or portion sizes â both of which are natural if you’re not used to tracking your nutrition â gradually ease yourself in with a rough food framework. That’s to say, a calorie guideline for your day.

If you feel yourself becoming obsessive over the numbers, take a step back. Life is for living, and things like dinners out with friends, holidays and birthday cake shouldn’t be cause for anything but celebration.

What Weighs More Muscle Or Fat

How Many Calories Should I Eat A Day To Gain Weight

Because fat supplies more energy per gram than muscle and takes up more space, some may interpret this as fat weighs more than muscle. And because muscle is denser – one pound of muscle takes up 18% less space than fat, some would argue the opposite. But either notion would defy the laws of physics since one pound of anything still weighs a pound.

Gaining muscle will not make you weigh less, but it may make you look and feel leaner overall. Muscle growth often means your weight will increase – which is why MPS requires excess calories, even if you end up looking smaller and denser in the process.

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How Many Calories In One Pound Of Fat

Storing dietary fat as body fat requires little energy – so one gram of stored fat provides about nine calories per gram or 4,000 calories per pound.

Carbs and protein, on the other hand, require a little more energy to be stored as body fat – nine calories consumed results in only 7.35 calories stored, or 3,300 calories per pound. The average of these two is where the understanding that it takes burning or cutting about 3,500 calories to lose one pound of fat comes from .

The Calorie Calculator Result For Gaining Weight

The calorie calculator also provides your required daily calories to gain weight . To gain weight, simply eat more than your Maintenance Calories. This can easily be achieved by eating foods with high energy density per gram of weight. Foods like mayo, cookies, milkshakes, and the like will make it easy to gain fat. Use our Food Search Box to discover high-calorie food options which can increase your calorie intake to levels beyond your Maintenance Calories.

The extra body mass will be mostly fat unless the higher caloric intake is accompanied by heavy exercise like gym workouts, in which case it will be mostly muscle. Care should be taken to eat foods high in protein if muscle growth is the desired result.

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How Many Calories Does A Runner Need

A calorie is a unit of energy. Nutritionally, this means that all types of food whether they are fats, proteins, carbohydrates, or sugars are fuel, which we need to keep going every day. So, if youre going to do something that requires more than the average level of exertion, youre going to require more fuel. After all, you wouldnt head off on a road trip into the desert with only half a tank of gas.

This is why its good to know how many calories should a runner eat so you can fuel correctly. Heres how to calculate your nutritional intake based on how long you are training for each day:

  • 60-90 minutes of running requires 19 to 21 calories per pound of body weight.
  • 90 minutes to 2 hours of running requires 22 to 24 calories per pound of body weight.
  • 2 to 3 hours of running requires at least 25 to 30 calories per pound of body weight.

So, for example, a runner who weighs 132 pounds and is doing a 90-minute run today should ensure they also consume at least 2,904 calories to fuel this session properly.

If your calculation surprises you, then remember that the energy needs per pound of body weight for runners are among the highest of any endurance sport because it expends an extraordinary amount of energy. Some marathon runners require over 4,500 calories in a day for their training, so make sure youre giving your body the fuel it needs to meet the challenges you set.

How Do You Split Calories Between Meals

A Doctor’s Guide To How Many Calories You Should Be Eating To Lose Weight

I revealed one popular way to split calories between meals at the beginning of this article:

  • 200-400 calories for breakfast
  • 500-700 calories for lunch
  • 500-700 calories for dinner

Since the total daily calories will vary depending on the person, its honestly up to you how you want to split the calories. If you like a larger lunch, then maybe go with a lighter breakfast. Or if you want all your meals to be about the same size, split the calories evenly for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

In general, as long as you hit your daily calorie goal and as long as you are eating healthy food, you will likely begin to see results. To lose one pound per week, youll want to reduce your daily calories by about 500, assuming youre eating enough to maintain your current weight. To lose two pounds per week, reduce your daily calories by 1000. Again, consult a doctor or licensed nutritionist before significantly altering your diet.

If youre exercising, youll burn more calories per day and wont need to cut your total calories as much as if you werent exercising. Also, dont forget to factor in calories from supplements like protein, creatine, and meal replacement drinks or bars.

If youve ever wondered, how many calories should I eat in a day? know that your daily calorie needs also depend on your weight, age, and eating habits, so if you have any specific concerns about your calorie intake, consult a nutritionist or your doctor. Harvard Health has these guidelines.

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How Many Calories Should You Eat To Maintain Your Weight

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

  • And a few other variables

Thus, the number of calories you need to maintain your weight is very individual, and also changes over time. That said, you can usually arrive at a decent estimate of your current calorie needs using just your body weight and activity levels.

How To Calculate Daily Calories For Weight Loss

Understanding how many calories you need to consume each day is the first step to determining the number of calories you should consume to lose weight.

Below is a guide on how to calculate your estimated daily calories for weight loss¹:

  • Convert your weight in pounds to kilograms

  • Multiply the weight by 1.0 and 0.9 .

    As an example, lets take a look at the calorie needs of a man weighing 134.5 lbs with a body fat percentage of 30% who works on a construction site:

    61 kg x 1.0 x 24 x 0.90 = 1317.6

    The resulting figure is your basal metabolic rate , which is the number of calories burned in a day even when you are doing nothing.

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    How Do I Use Bmr And Tdee For Weight Loss

    If youve read this far into the article, I imagine you are interested in learning your Total Daily Energy Expenditure for weight loss.

    I also imagine you support my belief that The Shawshank Redemption is the greatest movie ever made:

    I mentioned earlier that if you are having trouble losing weight, its because you are eating too many calories.

    The TDEE we calculated above provides a decent estimate of the calories you require each day.

    If the scale is staying constant congrats! Youve found your calorie equilibrium.

    Your body is burning just as many calories as youre consuming each day.

    However, Im going to guess youre here because your goal is to see the scale go down!

    In order for you to lose weight, you need to start reducing your total calorie intake, which then forces your body to start burning the stored fat you have for energy.

    Youve already calculated roughly how many calories you burn on a daily basis, lets see roughly how many calories youre consuming each day too!

    Its this nerds humble opinion that the easiest way to track calories consumed is with an app.

    We live in the future.

    Use a smartphone and download one of the following to track your food intake:

  • My Fitness Pal. The gold standard of calorie counting apps. Its also the most popular, supporting the largest food database in the game. Plus, it can download recipes from the internet and provide a calorie and macronutrient estimate.
  • You certainly dont have to track your food forever.


    What Is Total Daily Energy Expenditure

    How Many Calories Should I Eat A Day On A Calorie Deficit

    Total Daily Energy Expenditure is an estimate of how many total calories you burn in a day.

    Since your BMR includes the calories you need while resting, well also need to factor in movement and exercise.

    To do this, well take your BMR and multiply it by an Activity Factor.


    Sedentary : You regularly have to tell Netflix you are still watching. You dont intentionally exercise at all.

    Lightly Active : You casually stroll through your neighborhood a few times a week. On average, you walk for exercise about 30 minutes a day. Another way to think about this would be 15 minutes per day of vigorous exercise like running or lifting weights.

    Moderately Active : If we called the gym on a weeknight looking for you, theyd find you. This averages out to about one hour and 45 minutes of walking a day, or 50 minutes of vigorous exercise a day.

    Very Active : You work in construction during the day and youre on the company softball team. This averages out to about four hours and 15 minutes of walking a day, or two hours of vigorous exercise.

    If youre following along at home, you may notice that different Activity Factors can make a big difference in the calories burned.

    Lets use some numbers.

    Suppose youre:

    • Weigh 200 pounds

    Youre also wearing a recently ironed collared shirt and it looks great on you. It really brings out your eyes.

    This is where things get interesting.

    Lets keep going.

    Thats an extra meals worth of calories!

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    What To Know About Food And Exercise

    You can eat whatever you want and lose weight if you stay within your calorie range. That said, it might be hard to stay in this range if you don’t eat nutritious foods.

    Plus, empty-calorie foods don’t provide your body with the nutrients you need to live an active life. And when you eat junk food, you’re likely to get hungry more often and overeat. Conversely, healthy foods help you to feel strong, energized, and satiated.

    Additionally, all calories are not created equal. Calories from nutritious food sources will help you feel full longer, fuel your daily activity, and improve your well-being. Empty calories can leave you feeling hungry, increase your food cravings, and even increase fatigue. You’ll find them in processed foods that contain added sugars, trans fat, excess fat, and calories. They may provide energy but not the fiber, vitamins, and minerals you need.

    Calorie Needs For Women

    Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion)

    Keep in mind, these calorie recommendations are for people who are at a normal weight, notes Zumpano. If your weight is above the normal range for your height and your goal is weight loss, you need to consume less. A deficit of 500 calories can provide a weight loss of 1 pound per week.

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    What Is A Calorie

    Technically speaking, when we talk about calories, were actually talking about kilocalories. Per the United States Department of Agriculture , one kilocalorie is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water by one degree celsius.

    So, calories are a measure of energy. All three macronutrients contain a set number of calories per gram: 4 calories per gram for carbs and protein, and 9 calorie per gram for fat.

    In addition to the unique functions of each macronutrient, their calories provide energy that our bodies use to function. We need calories to move around, but also for all the basic body functions that happen when were at rest, from DNA synthesis to hormone production to sending chemical messengers throughout the body in order to keep things running smoothly.

    How Many Calories Should I Eat For My Height And Weight

    How Many Calories Should I Eat On Keto Diet? The Simple Formula â Dr.Berg

    Due to the prevalence of crash dieting and fad dietsâ some of which suggest a dangerously low caloric intake â there’s a lot of confusion about how many calories youshould be eating. Especially as it differs from person to person based on your body type, lifestyle and activity levels.

    So, how do you work out what to eat for your height and weight? With our handy ‘how many calories should I eat calculator’, of course. Follow the steps below to learn more about the recommended daily calories for women and how to work out yours.

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    Make Calorie And Macro Adjustments To Keep Gaining Muscle But Less Fat

    Once youve worked out the calories and macros you need to achieve your goals, its important to remember that these arent going to be your numbers forever. Knowing when and how to adjust them is the key to success, and monitoring your weight is the safest method for achieving this.

    So weigh yourself for seven consecutive days at exactly the same time every day in the same circumstances and then work out your average. If your average weight is the same for three weeks in a row then you should think about adjusting your calories, assuming your training is effective and youre adequately recovered from each session.

    Only make a slight increase of 100 calories and you can just slap this on top of your carbs or fat intake to see massively improved results from your training without having to work yourself so hard you end up having arms like Popeye.

    Instead, this gradual approach will guarantee a leaner and more muscled you using the power of numbers.

    For more articles to do with the question, how many calories should I eat to gain muscle, training and nutrition, get TRAIN magazine direct into your inbox every month for free by signing up to our newsletter

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