How To: Calculate Your Daily Calories

By Jim F
Calorie Intake Calculator
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How Many Calories Should a Woman or Man Eat?

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Instant calculation of Daily Calories

According to basic government guidelines: Men should eat 2500 Calories per day, and Women 2000 Calories per day.

This is meaningless!

We are all different shapes and sizes, and do different amounts of exercise – this is why you NEED to use a calculator.

Daily Calories for Weight Loss

Check the fat loss range above. This is what you need to be aiming for.

You must be able to track calories each day for a minimum of a week to determine how and what you are eating. You can then begin reducing daily calories (only reduce by a maximum of 500 per day at first).

Be careful of hidden calories. Such as those in coffee drinks or sugary sodas.

Which Foods Should You Eat?

It’s entirely possible to lose weight without any specific food restrictions – this is called Flexible Dieting. Rather than eliminate foods, you eat according to specific macronutrient levels (a set amount of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats).

Find out more in the flexible dieting guidebook.

Calorie Maintenance Levels

Check the maintenance range above. This is how much you should be eating each day so that you WILL NOT gain weight.

Are you aware of how many Calories some foods contain? Take a look at these 300 Calorie meals (many people find these meals too small). We’ve also measured out 100 Calorie snacks for you to look at.

How This Works

This calculator uses the Mifflin St Jeor formula, which is acknowledged as one of the most accurate predictive equations for both normal weight and obese individuals.

The calculator predicts REE (Resting Energy Expenditure). Exercise levels are then factored in. Fat loss levels are calculated by subtracting 20% of daily calories. There is always a “rock bottom” value factored in – which is 8 calories per pound of body weight.

See also, the flexible dieting macro calculator, or a nutrient calculator (multiple diets).

262 Comments

  1. Sarah MacLellan

    Hey I’m Sarah and my BMI is 24.4 I am 5’10” and 170, I’m tank! But my weight has simply plateaued…Not that I need to lose anymore, but there is about an inch of stomach fat that TEASES me to no end…what do you suggest?
    – By the way, my diet consists of lean meats, fish, honeys, seeds/nuts, fruit, veggies, dates, prunes, water and green teas. I do not eat anything that comes in a box, bag or container. As well, no juices or coffee or alcohol. Just water and green tea. I also take vitamins. This is due to illness, but I happend to lose 60 pounds and keep it all off. I also walk three or four times a day and excersize every second day (workout/strength trainning) No more pimples, great skin, healthy glow…bit of a cheatting problem but nothing I can’t get rid of…What could I do to lose that inch?!?!?! Help!

    Reply
  2. Helen

    Hi all, I used to zigzag my calories when I was 108pounds. I lost weight and became 99pounds. But somehow I got greedy cuz I lost weight and started eating more than what my body required and so I began gaining back all my weight and even more than that. I am now standing at 5feet2inches, currently at 110pounds. I can’t seem to lose anymore weight even if I zigzag my calories. I exercise 4days a week, & the duration is between 4 to 6hours. Other than the 4days of exercising, I do go out with my friends and walk about, just hangin out with them on the other days. How much should I eat a day exactly? I use 1800calories as a baseline. Btw I’m a female and 15 dis year.

    Reply
  3. Camryn

    >The cake is a lie.

    Reply
  4. a person

    Just go to http://www.SparkPeople.com and join for free. They have an easy way to count your calories and can even give you meal plan workout plans based on your stats(your age, height, weight, sex,how much you want to loose, etc, etc..) and much, much more. I joined and have lost 75lbs over the course of about 5 months or less. The site really helped me. There are even groups that you can join with people that have the same weight loss goals as you, ie for the military.

    Reply
  5. Shawn

    Hi there, I was wondering if anyone ever received this excel spreadsheet? I tried to email Jordon and it came back that the email was not available. I am interested in seeing this spreadsheet that she created. I have hit that point in my weight loss that I am going no place even though I am at the gym 5 days a week. The first 40 lbs took me 5 mnths to lose now I cant break that 40 lbs mark and I have about 80 more to go to be where I would like to be.

    This is what I have been doing lately for a workout…

    5-minutes Warm Up Elliptical
    13 x (1-minute very intense, 1-minute moderate-easy)
    2-minutes Cool Dow

    3 sets x 10-15 reps- Curls (increase weight after each set) (DAY #1)

    3 sets x 10-15 reps- Bench (increase weight after each set) (DAY #3)

    3 sets x 10-15 reps- Lat Pull Downs (increase weight after each set) (DAY #5)

    5-minutes Warm Up TreadMill
    13 x (1-minute very intense, 1-minute moderate-easy)
    2-minutes Cool Dow

    3 sets x 10-15 reps- Tricep Push Down (increase weight after each set) (DAY #1)

    3 sets x 10-15 reps- Shoulder Press (increase weight after each set) (DAY #3)

    3 sets x 10-15 reps- Rows (increase weight after each set) (DAY #5)

    5-minutes Warm Up Bike
    10 x (1-minute very intense, 1-minute moderate-easy)
    2-minutes Cool Dow

    3 sets x 10-15 reps- Reverse Curls (increase weight after each set) (DAY #1)

    3 sets x 10-15 reps- Flies (increase weight after each set) (DAY #3)

    3 sets x 10-15 reps- Hyper Extensions (aka Back Raise) (increase weight after each set) (DAY #5)

    Let me know what you think..

    Reply
  6. Sarah

    Hi i’m 16 and have just started trying to lose weight. I am about 152 cm and weigh 122 pounds and dress size 10. I really want to drop a dress size and be able to wear bathing suits without feeling ashamed.

    This thing told me to maintain 2047 calories a day and that i would burn up 1228 – 1638 calories. I’m not quite sure of how many calories I consume daily atm.

    Reply
  7. Jan

    My suggestion would be to buy an Iphone or itouch. Download an app knows as Loseit. Go with the concept of bit it write it. Loseit allows you to record nutrition and has hundreds of restaurant receipee. Good luck

    Reply
  8. friend

    you need to embrace your body… its yours forever and you cant hide from it so you might as well LOVE it… its a hard task but you are beautiful no matter how big or how small.

    Reply
  9. Danielle

    If you don’t do bella then you do another sport or something different.

    Reply
  10. Danielle

    You could workout like in a gym.
    It really helps. Or if you walk or ride your bike.

    Reply
  11. Lisa

    plz send me your spreadsheet. I have lost 16 pounds and have last ten pounds to lose. Scale wont move. I run one hour daily and weights three times week. I watch everything and notice when i cheat i lose weight. Maybe zig-zag effect. Thanks
    Lisa

    Reply
  12. Steve

    Wondering if I could get a copy of your spreadsheet. Thanks

    Reply
  13. veronica

    this is an awesome plan!

    Reply
  14. Mary

    I believe you, Saskia. I maintain at 975/day, amd 65 years old and weigh 130. I’m interested to know how much you weigh.

    The calculator says I should eat 1364 to maintain my weight. If I did that, I’d weigh 182. I eat whatever I want but should only eat whatever my sinuses will allow.

    Reply
  15. cj

    pleas send the spread sheet to me……..working on a UNIsa information project

    Reply
  16. Corrie

    I’m a 16 year old girl and weigh 134 pounds and I think I am extremly unhealthy so how many calories should I eat a da????also I am very active I am on the swim team and I work out 4 times a week can anyone answer my question thanks

    Reply
  17. Bonnie Clark

    I am finishing up on a two year nutr degree and I would be very grateful to see that spread sheet. Thank You, Bonnie

    Reply
  18. Jason

    Wow. The calculator is crazy. I just wore a heart rate monitor that calculated calories for 24 hours. And the calculator is dead nuts on

    Reply
  19. Joe

    I saw a site that said that fat = 9 calories,Carbs = 4 calories, and protein = 4 calories. Is this true? Am I supposed to include this into my actual calorie intake?

    Reply
  20. Emily

    I LOVE CAKE !! WE NEED CAKE !!

    Reply
  21. Jordan

    CAKEEEEEE 😀

    Reply
  22. Toby

    There’s 100’s of ways to lose weight, some good, some bad. My personal experience is that it’s not just the calories count but the type of food I was eating. Read about how body builders strip fat 12 weeks from competition…they eat alot of whole natural foods…usually 50% protein, 30% carbs and 20% fat and eating 6 small meals a day. For me and a few others that I had on this eating plan it worked really well and it was satisfying although I always felt stuffed. This calculator seemed a better predictor of caloric intake than others. For maintenance, I increase calories and drop protein % and add in more fruits and am maintaining my weight. For those with smart phones, there’s apps called lose it and calorie counter that are really nice for tracking things, are preloaded with food examples. Good luck

    Reply
  23. hemant

    Can you please email me a copy of your spreadsheet? Thanks

    Reply
  24. gemma

    Hi Jordan

    Can you please send me a copy of this spreadsheet?

    Thank you

    Reply
  25. Jerry

    but you should also look into weight training(or even push up) if your just trying to lose weight or build muscle. cuz the more muscle mass you have the more calories you burn off. and caffine is a metabolism booster so replace that morning orange juice(high in sugar) with a cup of coffee!

    Reply
  26. jerry

    also look into strength training, weights, push ups etc… cuz the more muscle you have the more calories your body burns off and caffine is also a metabolism booster so replace that morning orange juice(high in sugar) with a cup of coffee!

    Reply
  27. jerry

    well im 22 5’11 i was about 230 pounds then i stoped eating bread,pasta,sugars n stuff like that i substituted with splenda now im about 210 pounds it says i should consume 3000 calories a day but i eat like 5-6 times a day 4000+ calories and im maintaining this weight. as long as u eat healthy and keep ur metabolism going(eat breakfast! and eat every 3 hours! doesnt have to be big meals) replace the heavy carbs like bread and pasta with high fiber carbs like fruits and stuff also excerise abit u should be able to drop weight in no time.

    Reply
  28. jon

    ill have my cake when i want

    Reply
  29. Liz

    This makes a lot more sense. I worked the old formula and it had me in at a crash diet of 1100 calories. Of course, anything below 1200 calories and you will be hungry almost constantly.

    Reply
  30. Jessica

    Haha I bet you eat cake in the middle of the night, that’s why you’re on this site trying to find out how much you need to lose. She shared her experience, and you’re just an a**.

    Anyways.

    Everyone, I’m five feet and seven inches and a hundred and seventy pounds, but wanna lose more, TIPS??

    Reply
  31. Erik

    Hey Jordan I would like a copy of your spreadsheet also please, it sounds very helpful. Thanks!

    Reply
  32. Lucy

    I’ve tried various low-carb, low-calorie, and low-fat diets for the past couple of years. Although the Atkins diet is very popular,

    it made me feel somewhat unhealthy.

    The diet plan I’m on right now is the Medifast Diet. The caloric intake is roughly 800-1000 calories. However, it doesn’t make my

    body feel weak. It is a bit of a pricey diet, but there are plenty of coupons available on the internet. You should never pay full price.

    My advice is just choose a diet plan which your body reacts positively to. No one knows your body better than you do!

    Reply
  33. Johnny

    Please sent me a cpy of that srpreadsheet. I woul like to eat more. haha big Thanks!

    Reply
  34. Callie

    Hi my name is Callie and I was just wondering how many calories I should eat a day. It said over 3,000 and that can’t be right lol. I’m 5’10, weigh 304 pounds, and I exercise everyday on my bike for half an hour and then do 20 strong situps. I know I should exercise more, but I get really out of breath and my legs start to hurt, so a half an hour a day is all I can do right now. So far, I have lost 20 pounds in one month, so I guess I am doing something right, but I don’t think I should be eating over 3,000 calories a day lol. I started a food diary today, and everything good and healthy added up to 1,040 calories which I thought was pretty good. So if you could help me and let me know your input on how many calories I should be eating or if I’m good where I’m at that’d be great! Thank you so much and God bless.

    Reply
  35. Melissa

    There are some great apps available that are really helpful for calculating how many calories you need each day to meet specific goals and to track what you consume/expend. Also shows calorie counts for most foods, plus calories burned for common exercises. Husband and I have been using Lose It (free) on our iphones. Live Strong is another one.

    Reply
  36. Kermit

    Quit eating cake in the middle of the night.

    Reply
  37. Helen

    Hi There

    Could you please send your spreadsheet?

    Reply
  38. Paige

    hey im 17 in 2 months. and im 5’6 and 112lbs i want to get to 107 would really badly.would i get to 107 within two weeks if i eat 800-1000calories a day?and i also dance two hours a day.xx

    Reply
  39. im not valid!

    lol my weight is not valid! i had to put in a higher weight, sucks when youre that skinny its apparently not possible! (im not trying to lose weight btw im just bored) 😛

    Reply
  40. gaurav

    i want my body growth than which medician use me.i am very weak. gaurav patidar

    Reply

References

  • Amirkalali, B., Hosseini, S., Heshmat, R., & Larijani, B. (2008). Comparison of Harris Benedict and Mifflin-ST Jeor equations with indirect calorimetry in evaluating resting energy expenditure. Indian journal of medical sciences, 62(7), 283.
  • Mifflin, M. D., St Jeor, S. T., Hill, L. A., Scott, B. J., Daugherty, S. A., & Koh, Y. O. (1990). A new predictive equation for resting energy expenditure in healthy individuals. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 51(2), 241-247.