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).

261 Comments

  1. Janice

    Hello, I want to lose weight but I can’t help sugary foods since I have a sweet tooth, I am 5 foot 6 and weigh 12 stone and 3.5 pounds and also I am 14, please help me lose weight

    Reply
  2. gk

    How many calories should I take in daily…I am 5’2 and weigh 135 lbs…would like to lose 20 lbs..how long would it take to lose 20 lbs?

    Reply
    • Ted

      Could you not use the calculator above?

      Reply
  3. Pat weeks

    Since I don’t really exercise Icant eat over 700 a day to loose weight

    Reply
    • Ted

      This isn’t healthy, Your REE is well over 700 calories so you aren’t even giving your body enough to run its basic functions on. You will actually slow your metabolism and make it harder to lose. Have a read of this article. https://healthyeater.com/eat-to-lose-weight

      Reply
  4. Lillian Dedam

    Hi I am a Aboriginal women from Listuguj,Quebec and Canada. I am 5 feet and 11.5 inches tall. I weight is 350 pounds. I have mediums sizes bones structure. I do not exsersizes. I have a lot of health problems from a o z. With all that I wrote down. How much calories do I need to loose weight. How much can I loose a mouth also that is safe. I really need help please. Thank you bye for now.

    Reply
    • Ted

      Hi Lillian, It’s great that you want to make a change for better health. Plug your stats in the calculator above and select little or no exercise. It will give you a good estimate of the calories you need for weight loss. All the best and keep us posted.

      Reply
  5. Miko

    hi, Im Miko Im 12 years old and I have 99 pounds or 45 killos and I want to loss weight around 40 killos, ANY TIPS?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

    Reply
    • Aidan

      That is not Healthy Miko, If anything, you should be gaining weight not losing weight.

      Reply
  6. Sarah

    heya please could you send me your spread sheet at sarahtia@hotmail.co.uk

    Reply
  7. Luis

    what is the formula that this website uses for the Calorie Intake Calculator?

    Reply
  8. taylor

    I’m 5’7” and 160 lbs. I exercise 5 times a week and I eat rather healthy for the most part. I still lose weight, and if I don’t, I exercise more or try a new exercise. You can always lose more weight, it just depends on how badly you wish to lose it.

    Reply
  9. amber

    Fruits, Vegetables, grains, fiber, are all good things to eat to keep your body healthy.

    Reply
  10. jessica

    no u arnt muscule weighs more than fat you probly have lots of muscle try eating lots of fruit feggies and protien see i am 14 and i started my 7th grade year at 221 pounds im in the 2nd quarter of 8th grade and now i am 183 pounds i havnt lost a lot of weight but i have lost fat and gained muscles just keep trying never give up you also might want to try and talk to your docter he/she will problt be able to give u more advice than me i consulted with my docter and she helped me a lot i also recomend not paying as much atintion to the scales and pay more attintion to how your clothes fit that will give you a better idea of how u are doing and if u are losing fat

    Reply
  11. jessica

    im 5 foot 6 in. 183 pouns and i have found eating more veggies and more fruits helps pluse not eating a lot of snacks and eating healthy snacks loke triskut crackers or grapes and staying in your calorie range i dont like to think about it like a diet i think about it as a life style choice i sarted out at 221 pounds and am now down to 183 and still losing good luck

    Reply
  12. Jim

    I use Loseit on the iphone, it’s a GREAT app for keeping track of your intake, exercise, and your progress. And it’s free.

    Reply
  13. Lily

    Sarah; really, don’t worry. I’m sure you’re fine. 🙂 the only thing I could advise though would be to take in less and to exercise s’more. 🙂 It sounds hard but it’s okay. Keep trying, you’re 110 inside.

    Reply
  14. Lily

    Hey there people:) Okay, so I have a question for you all. See, I’m 14 and weigh 128lbs. I do not understand this. I eat roughly 1000 calories a day, and I ride my bike 5 mile every other day or so, & I go on hikes all the time with my family. How is that I can weigh so much, and my friends who never exercise and eat twice as much as me, can weigh so much less? Am I doing something wrong?

    Reply
    • Marie

      Hey Lily.
      Your weight isn’t always representative of the amount of fat in your body. Muscle counts for weight too! A body fat percentage would be a more accurate measure of your leanness, I think.

      Reply
  15. Yubraj ghimire

    Ya i am gonna eat exactly what this calculator set

    Reply
  16. Dora

    I would love the spread sheet , I log what i eat but dont keep track of caloires? cant figure a logical way to do it. I am at a plateau after loosing 130 lbs and have about 10 more to go and cant get it off.please help

    Reply
  17. Sarah

    Hi, i’m 14 years old and i’m 5’8 and weigh 144 pounds. I’m very self conscious about my weight. I’d like to loose a lot of belly fat and some in my calves. My ideal weight would be around 132-134. So if anyone could tell me how many calories i should really be eating a day and good ways to loose some belly and leg fat that would be great!!!

    Thank u!

    Reply
  18. staci

    I would love to see this spreadsheet. I am a runner and feel I do not get enough food. I am starving all day long. I love to eat too. Any pointers you can give would be very helpful. Thank you!
    Staci
    stackie05@yahoo.com

    Reply
  19. rose

    give me type of food which can eat to keep body in shape

    Reply
  20. ----------------------

    Try Eating A Few Hundred Calories Below Your Daily Maintinence. Also, Try Eating Small Meals Every 3Hours Or So. This Will Higher Your Metabolism, Which Makes You Burn More Calories. Each Meal Should Be Around 200 calories (depending On Your Daily Maintenence). Try To Avoid Eating After 8:00 at Night. U should End up Eating Around 5 Small Meals A Day. Eating Small Portions Constantly Will Also Reduce The Urge To Eat Too Much. Also, Try Lifting Weights And Gaining Muscle(This Helps Burn Calories Faster). While Lifting Be Sure To Eat Plenty of Protein. Good Luck.

    Reply
  21. jennifer

    Could you please send me a copy of your spreadsheet it sounds awesome…Thanks:)

    Reply
  22. Louie

    Loved the calculator! Thanx it helped.

    Reply
  23. Ice Cream

    ummm so ive got all the info…
    it tells me to to consume 1536 cals a day
    so will this help me to lose weight or will it help me to maintain my weight??
    and it says my fat loss range is 922-1229 cals. Does it mean tht i am supposed to lose 922-1229 cals a DAY??

    Reply
  24. Adam

    Instead of following calculators, do your own research and experiments. Use one of these as a starting point, and try eating those numbers of calories for 1 or even 2 months. Weigh yourself every week on the SAME day at the SAME time. The best time being first thing in the morning after you use the restroom (if you have to) and with nothing on – or in underwear if you must. If after one month you are the same weight EVERY week, try going another month and seeing if you STILL stay the same. If you start at 150lbs and two months later you’re 150lbs… then bingo, that’s probably about your maintenance level. Don’t worry too much about a weekly fluctuation of 1/2 of a pound or less. You can easily store an extra 1/2 pound of water or food yet to be expelled in your body.. but a whole pound is something to take note of at least. It’s very important though that you DON’T chicken out and weigh yourself in between that weekly period. it HAS to be on the same day, time, and under the same circumstances to be accurate. Don’t drink a bunch of water the night before or the morning of and be all shocked if you gain 1-2 pounds. This is the most exact method you can get and you are sure to get something right for your bodytype. If you end up gaining 1 pound in that month, simply cut off 100 calories from the daily number and repeat the experiment. If you lose a pound, add 100 calories and repeat it.

    Reply
  25. Adam

    Sorry, I meant you have to eat to “LOSE” weight.

    Reply
  26. Adam

    Anyone interested in losing fat consistently over time needs to seriously understand that you have to eat in order to gain weight. There is no reason whatsoever that any person over the age of 16 and between 5 and 7 feet tall should ever eat below 1200 calories unless they are bedridden and have a medical condition which compromises their metabolism. Your internal organs need calories and vitamins to function every single day. Even if you never moved, you would need calories. What people fail to also understand is that your body adapts to nutritional trends and exercise trends. If you’re eating only 1200 calories a day and the same foods, you’ll begin to slow progress. Take this quote to heart, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” However, to think you could survive on 500 calories a day is insane. Also, you can’t just have ONE meal a day of 500 calories, this produces almost ZERO metabolic response and makes your body force-store the calories in your body as fat cells. Also, don’t rely so much on vitamins when you’re dieting to get your needs met. Supplement companies are UNREGULATED entities. Therefore, they often contain heavy metals and lower numbers of vitamins than they claim on the bottle. If you’re not getting enough vitamins you’re NOT eating a healthy enough diet, simple as that. WHY would you supplement your diet if you knew you could get it from actual food. There is no evidence that vitamins will help you live longer or healthier unless you’re treating a deficiency. At least the levels of minerals and nutrients in foods are tested and regulated.. so stick to those. I eat about 2600 calories a day and I weight train + do cardio, and I maintain at about 2800 or so. I don’t even take a multivitamin because I know i’m getting over 100% my RDA’s just from fruit, veggies, and lean proteins. Do more research and be smart..

    Reply
  27. Adam

    Extremely unhealthy levels of calories. You need more calories + exercise and more muscle mass.

    Reply
  28. Adam

    Physically impossible without a medical condition. Period.

    Reply
  29. cassidy

    Everytime I put in my weight it says enter a valid weight. How much should a 5’0″ girl who is 12 yrs. old and 70lbs eat?

    Reply
  30. Kat

    Don’t try to gain weight! You’ll become fat and ugly !!!!!

    Reply
  31. Shantelle

    What works for me is that I don’t eat any carbs (rice, pasta, potatoes etc.) after lunch. Also, I try to stay away from high fructose corn syrup which is definitely a no, no. The lose it app from Apple is definitely worth it but sparkpeople.com is also great.

    Reply
  32. Lizzy

    Hi Jordan please send me the spreadsheet as well if you dont mind…
    Regards

    Reply
  33. Carl

    Hi jordan, Can you send me your spread sheet?
    Cegaga77@yahoo.com

    Thanks,

    Reply
  34. Resa

    Sneaker-

    That is not nearly enough food! I mean, even on a good day with that you’d be at like 500 calories and that slows down your metabolism A LOT! Eat a couple of snacks a day like the 90 calorie granola bars or more fruits and vegetables and have a proper dinner, a tablespoon of cottage cheese wouldn’t even fill up my cat. If you don’t eat more you can cause a lot of damage to your body and not even get any real weight loss because your body will slow everything down because it thinks its starving. Eat 1200 calories a day, unless instructed by a physician you should never go below that. Doing that plus some exercise and you should shed the 17 pounds in a about 1.5 to 2 months.

    Reply
  35. Resa

    Joe-

    That is just a breakdown of how calories are calculated, but you do not need to add this to the calories listed on a package. Say, for example, you have a candy bar that is 90 calories and it has 10 grams of fat (this is purely hypothetical), all the 9 calories per gram of fat is saying is that the 90 calories that comprise the bar are all from fat because 90calories/9calories per gram of fat=10 grams of fat, which is the content of the bar. The key thing to take away from how calories are calculated from fat, carbs, and alcohol is that high fat foods will be more caloric than low-fat or non-fat options, same with carbs and alcohol.

    Reply
  36. Resa

    Emma –

    Everyone will hit plateus at different times and considering you’re only trying to lose 16 pounds and you’re working out, your weight loss is going to be very gradual because you’ll be building muscle faster than you’ll be losing weight. I am 5’2 and I started out at 220! Now I am 164 and my goal is 130, but I have been losing weight a lot slower the last couple weeks than the first few months. This is because I am now at the point where my muscle buildup is going faster than my fat loss. If you keep losing inches and your pants are fitting better then you are doing just fine. Don’t get discouraged!! If you don’t lose anything at all on the scale for 3 or 4 weeks, then it may be time to consider revamping your regimen.

    Reply
  37. helen

    I have lost 26 pounds in 2 months, by eating the right foods, and not over 500 calories a day, and eating 3 times a day, including a lot of fruits. My goal is to lose at least 60 pounds. and I hope to lose it. I also walk 3 miles a day, only if the weather is permitting. At first, I though that it would be very hard, but it is easier than I thought.

    Reply
  38. Brittany

    I am a 16 year old girl that is very active but I still obsess over my weight. I am unsure of how much I need to take in a day to be healthy but lose weight. I work out almost everyday, and I play soccer and fastpitch, but I always feel like my stomach is bloated. I hate being so obssesive about eating healthy, but I can’t help it. What should I do? I’ve been eating every 3 hours and I eat very healthy things like turkey salads and fruit/veggies, but I’m not full or satisfied after I eat and I try to drink a lot of water too. someone help! :/

    Reply
  39. paul

    If you work out the daily calorific need for your body and then reduce your intake by 500 cals a day (3500 per week) that should equate to a 1lb loss.

    Reply
  40. paul

    Someone who is fat at 200lbs and is only eating 600 calories a day may well have slowed their metabolism down so much that weight loss becomes difficult.

    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.