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What Are My Maintenance Calories

This Calculator Provides An Accurate Estimate For How Many Calories To Eat To Maintain Your Weight As Well As Guides For How Much Protein Carbohydrates And Fat To Eat Use The Form Below To Get Started

How To Calculate Maintenance Calories | 2 Ways
Step 1: Calculate your macros for weight maintenance

Use our easy macro calculator to learn how many calories you should be eating to achieve your goals, as well as guides for protein, carbohydrates, and fat.

Step 2: Get your free ebook via email

Have your macros delivered to you via email and receive a FREE copy of Eat Fantastic, our 28-page guide to flexible dieting.

Step 3: Join our free facebook group

Join over 200,000 people in our FREE Facebook group to immerse yourself in your new lifestyle, get tips and tricks, and see inspiring flexible dieting success stories.

How To Calculate My Maintenance Calories

You now have the groundwork of what it takes to calculate your maintenance calories. Since you have your average daily intake for the past 2 weeks, this next part is simple.

In the previous step, we asked you what your body has been doing recently. Losing weight, gaining weight, or staying where you are. This is very important, because that is going to determine your maintenance calories.

Reference your weight from before we started tracking. The formula is simple.

If you have lost weight in the past 2 weeks, increase your calorie intake by 500 calories per day, and eat that way for a week. If you are still losing weight, repeat this process every week until you havent lost weight for a week. There are your maintenance calories.

If you have gained weight in the past 2 weeks, decrease your calorie intake by 500 calories per day, and eat like this for a week. If you are still gaining weight, repeat this process every week until you havent lost weight for a week. You now have your maintenance calories.

If you havent gained or lost any weight in the past 2 weeks, congrats! You have effectively calculated your maintenance calories.

Now that you have successfully calculated your maintenance calories, its time to start talking about fitness goals. What do you want out of life? Do you want to be a muscular person? Are you going to be shredded? Do you want to not be overweight?

Maintenance After Weight Loss

Maintenance after weight loss is very different from maintenance when you are just getting started or when you are finishing a muscle building phase.

Your metabolism adapts and down regulates to manage energy availability based on few calories. You probably have noticed some of these adaptations during your diet. Here are just few examples of metabolic adaptations that can happen in a calorie deficit

  • lower sex drive
  • reduction in overall activity
  • reduction in sleep quality

Because of these metabolic adaptations transitioning from weight loss to maintenance needs to be a more thoughtful process. Increasing your calories too quickly can result in rapid weight gain because your metabolism is in this adaptive state. You might have even experienced this before when you have previously lost weight.

I bet you might be wondering, does that mean I have to eat fewer calories for the rest of my life to maintain my weight?

The answer is no.

It is important to learn how to increase your calories to help your metabolism to return to a healthy, balanced state. While you might hear some people say, I think my metabolism is broken. Your metabolism is made up of no less than 10 different factors and it is always adapting. In reality your metabolism can not be broken. If you would like to learn more about metabolism, check out my article, I want to lose weight, How do I get started?

I can hear you saying, It would be awesome to be able to eat more and not gain weight, but.

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Example Estimation Of Maintenance After Bulking

If youve been eating 3600 kcal, gaining 0.5 lbs per week, and weigh 200 lbs, subtract 450 kcal. Your estimated maintenance is 3150 kcal.

Make this decrease from anywhere between -¾ carbs, with the rest from fats. You can achieve this by subtracting 80 g of carbs and 15 g of fats from your daily macros for a 455 kcal total adjustment.

The Weight Loss Plateau

How to Find Your Calorie Maintenance Level

Why use the 7-day Calorie Cycle ?

The human body is remarkably adaptive and quickly adjusts to a lowered calorie level.

It becomes more efficient at using energy , and therefore burns less fat. This is why most of us reach a weight loss plateau.

At this point, the only option is to change something:

You often find that the nearer you get to your goal weight the harder things get!

Continually dropping calories will only lower metabolism even further. The moment you return to normal eating the weight comes back on. The 7 Day zig-zag provides a suggestion for daily calories that will keep your body guessing and increase your chances of sustained weight loss.

Need Help With Food Choices?

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What Are My Maintenance Calories

Maintenance calories are the number of calories that will serve to maintain your current body weight. By eating your maintenance calories and exercising the same way you shouldn’t lose or gain weight.

To calculate your maintenance calories, we usually multiply BMR – basal metabolic rate – by PAL – physical activity factor. You can count your BMR using the Mifflin-St Jeor formula – separate for men and women.

The formula for women is:

BMR = 10 × weight + 6.25 × height 5 × age 161

For men, it is:

BMR = 10 * weight + 6.25 * height 5 * age + 5

PAL expresses your daily activity as a number, and it’s usually estimated, from a value of 1.2 up to 2.4 if you’re a professional athlete.

Example Of How To Find Maximum Maintenance After Cutting

Lets say that week 0 represents the end of your diet, you added 525 kcal to estimate maintenance, and your weight data looks as follows:

Week 0
End of week 3 average 154.0 lbs

You can see that your weight increased from 150 lbs to 155 lbs in the first week and then drops by 0.4 lbs in week two and 0.6 lbs in week three. Ignoring the first week of data, you can see that you are still dropping approximately 0.5 lbs per week on average.

This suggests that you are still in a 250 kcal deficit. You could add that in, but its likely that your metabolic rate will see a small bump once again, so I recommend adding 20% to that.

Therefore increase calorie intake by ~300 kcal per day. Here are two examples of macro changes to do that:

+50 g carbs, +10 g fats +40 g carbs, +15 g fats

Wait another three weeks and repeat this process as many times as necessary. Heres how finding maximum maintenance after dieting might look:

Allow me to explain each time point:

  • The initial calorie increase of 525 kcal after dieting. Your weight rises the first week after this but then continues to slowly fall in the weeks after because you are still short of maintenance.
  • The second calorie increase, this time of 300 kcal. Your weight rises again but then starts to fall, albeit much more slowly. You are still short of maintenance.
  • You add 150 kcal to bridge the gap to maintenance. Your weight rises in the first week and is then stationary.
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    Skill : Visual Awareness

    Visual awareness is the skill of being able to estimate the calories of the foods you eat by just looking at them. While it is difficult to estimate extra carbs and fats added to meals, one of the best skills you can develop is visual awareness.

    Each time you weigh your food you create a visual connection between the food you eat and what that amount visually looks like. This visual awareness allows you the ability to better estimate portion sizes when eating out.

    When testing your visual awareness make sure you are using the same size plates each time. You can trick your minds to believe you have more or less food when you use smaller or larger containers.

    To develop your skills of visual awareness, cover the display on your scale with a piece of paper. Weigh your food, ie chicken and guess the amount of chicken. Remove the paper covering from the display and check your estimation.

    For 1 week, prepare your meals as normal and test your visual awareness skills at each meal.

    You should weigh your food in different forms, for example chicken. You might eat chicken as a whole breast, shredded or diced. These different forms of chicken look visually different. Another example is potatoes, you might eat them mashed, baked, or as fries. Weighing them in many different forms increases your visual awareness.

    Each time you successfully guess the weight of the food being measured, you build confidence in your ability to estimate portion size.

    This can be because

    How To Calculate Maintenance Calories

    How to Calculate Maintenance Calories / Diet Break Macros!

    There are many methods to answer what are my maintenance calories. Some of them are really sophisticated and need to be carried out in the laboratory others involve using fitness trackers, apps, or different equations. There is no universal formula for estimating energy expenditure, but we usually calculate it by first assessing your basal metabolic rate , and then multiplying it by appropriate physical activity level value.

    Researchers have developed several equations that predict basal metabolic rate. Our maintenance calorie calculator uses the Mifflin-St Jeor formula, as this is one of the most popular BMR equations and is recommended by the US Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

    The physical activity level is a way of expressing a person’s daily physical activity. Different PAL values have been derived from research that uses direct, laboratory methods to assess Total Daily Energy Expenditure , and have been validated in many studies. Typical adult PAL values range from 1.20 to 2.40.

    Do you wonder how many calories you burn while performing different types of activities? Try the calories burned calculator to find out!

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    How To Find Your Daily Calorie Need

    The cornerstone of any good fitness plan is getting your diet right, and to do that, the first thing you need to do is to determine what your daily calorie needs are.

    There are a lot of different online calculators you can use to find out how many calories you should eat per day. Some of them are ok, but most calorie calculators oversimplify by only using your age, weight, and gender .

    If you are a fitness nerd like me, you will probably want to know the correct scientific way of calculating what your daily calorie needs are.

    Its a very easy 5-step process. I have used my own data in the example below to show you how I work out what my daily calorie needs are.

    Why You Should Use An App To Track Maintenance Calories

    With so many numbers to juggle, its easy to feel overwhelmed, no matter where you are on your weight loss journey. Rather than trying to track every detail of your physical activity or your caloric intake on paper or in a makeshift spreadsheet, use an app instead. A calorie tracking app can streamline your daily food journal, and it can also help you stay healthy and meet your goals. After all, an app designed to track calories can ensure that you keep your caloric intake balanced throughout the day and consistent throughout the week.

    To get started with a calorie tracking app, enter your maintenance calorie calculation. This will be your target calorie count for the day. Once youve logged your daily food consumption, youll be able to assess how far you are from hitting your daily goal with just a quick glance. If youve set goals related to proteins, fats, or carbohydrates, you can also assess your daily progress in that department.

    Next, youll want to record what you eat for every meal of the day. The best apps include food libraries that list just about every food and dish youve ever heard of, so logging your daily food diary just requires a few swipes and clicks. If you tend to eat the same thing for breakfast or lunch every day, you can even save them as favorites so you can log them quickly. Dont forget to track snacks or drinks, either. Youll want to keep track of everything for accuracy.

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    Example Estimation Of Maintenance After Cutting

    Using this calculation, if youve been eating 1700 kcal, losing 0.75 lbs per week, and weigh 150 lbs, add 525 kcal. Your estimated maintenance is 2225 kcal.

    Make this calorie increase from anywhere between ½- carbs, with the rest from fats. You can achieve this by adding 75 g of carbs and 25 g of fats to your daily macros for the exact 525 calorie adjustment.

    If you have been performing cardio for fat loss, this would be a good time to reduce your cardio.

    Lets say you had been performing four sessions per week and estimate, based on the calculations in the How To Make Mid-diet Adjustments When Cutting chapter, that they burn an average of 350 kcal per session. This is 1400 kcal per week, for an average of 200 kcal each day.

    To continue the example, instead of adding in 525 calories each day and keeping the cardio, you could eliminate two sessions and increase calories by 425 each day, or eliminate all four sessions and increase calories by 325 each day.

    How To Calculate Calories Needed To Maintain Weight

    my maintenance calories confusion

    Before making any substantial changes to your daily caloric intake or your exercise routine, its important to know your TDEE, or how much energy your body truly needs. This measurement depends on a combination of your bodys basic energy needs, known as your basal metabolic rate , plus your typical activity level.

    BMR is largely based on your height and weight, but TDEE is a little more complicated. Your typical activity level includes exercise, sports, and other physical pursuits, but it also factors in your habits, such as your tendency to fidget as you sit or your constant pacing as you work through difficult problems on the job. Together, both your exercise habits and your non-exercise activity thermogenesis contribute to your activity level.

    To calculate your TDEE, you first need to multiply your weight in pounds by 10 if youre a woman. Men should use 11 as the multiplier. The tells you how many calories your body needs to do the basics each day this is your BMR.

    Of course, the basics arent enough to keep you going through any major activities. Next, calculate how much your level of physical activity affects how much energy you need. Use the following chart to find your multiplier:

    Now, take this multiplier and apply it to your BMR. This result tells you how many calories your body needs to sustain your daily lifestyle, or your maintenance calories.

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    Why Your Calorie Maintenance Level Is So Important

    Isnât it obvious? No? Fine, letâs use a chart to make it obviousâ¦

    The Cause
    Above Maintenance Level Calories will be stored . Building Muscle

    As you can see from the chart above:

    • To lose fat, you need to create a caloric deficit. Meaning, you need to be BELOW your calorie maintenance level so that you end up burning more calories than you consume. When that happens, your stored body fat will be burned for energy instead.
    • To maintain your current weight, you need to be AT your calorie maintenance level so that youre consuming and burning the same number of calories.
    • To build muscle, you need to create a caloric surplus. Meaning, you need to be ABOVE your calorie maintenance level so that youre consuming more calories than you burn. When that happens, your body will have the extra calories it needs to create new muscle tissue.

    Sounds pretty good, right?

    The thing is, in order to do any of these things, you first need to figure out what your calorie maintenance level is so you know exactly what it is you need to be above, below or even with.

    So, lets figure out what yours is

    Reduce Your Intake Of Refined Carbs And Ultra

    The term refined carbs refers to grains that have lost their bran and germ, including white bread, pasta, crackers, and white rice. It also includes sugar and other sweeteners.

    Refined grains typically lack fiber, which supports weight loss by decreasing your appetite and increasing feelings of fullness .

    Eating fewer carbs, including fewer refined carbs, may also promote weight loss by altering levels of specific hormones that regulate your appetite, such as peptide YY .

    While a low carb or ketogenic diet definitely isnt right for everyone, replacing refined carbs with a variety of nutrient-dense, fiber-rich carb sources such as whole grains, root vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes may be beneficial.

    Its also best to avoid ultra-processed foods, which include fast food, packaged snacks, candies, and sugary beverages. These items not only pack refined carbs but also preservatives, sugars, unhealthy fats, salt, and other ingredients you should limit in your diet.


    Eating more protein, exercising, staying hydrated, and limiting your intake of refined carbs and sugary beverages are a few simple ways to decrease your daily calorie intake.

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    What Happens When Calories Are Too Low

  • Muscle mass is broken down for energy .
  • Metabolic rate will begin to drop after 3 days of very low calories this is related to, and compounded by the loss of muscle mass.
  • With very low calories you risk sluggishness, nutritional deficiencies, fatigue, and often irritability.
  • You are completely set-up for a regain in fat if you suddenly return to your previous eating patterns.

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