Starting a new diet can be very challenging, from figuring out what foods you can and can’t eat, what time of the day you should eat, and of course how many calories you should eat to actually lose weight.
Fortunately, figuring out the correct amount of calories for your own body is a fairly simple calculation. The amount of calories you can eat per day is based on a few different factors, including your age, sex, weight, height and finally your overall activity level. In general, women need fewer calories per day than men, and the more active you are in daily life the more you can eat without gaining weight.
There are many online calorie calculators to figure out how many calories your body needs everyday to maintain your weight. For example, a 30 year old woman who weighs 150 pounds and is 5 feet 3 inches tall with a lightly active lifestyle (maybe exercising 1 or 2 times per week) burns around 1873 calories per day.
This means this woman can eat up to 1873 calories everyday to maintain her current weight. Figuring out how many calories she should eat from here is fairly simple. A pound of fat is 3500 calories, so in order to lose 1 pound of fat per week, she would have to cut 500 calories from her diet per day. So she could eat 1373 calories per day to lose weight.
If she started a diet and ate 1373 calories per day on average she would lose 1 pound of fat per week. It is generally not recommended to go below 1200 calories per day for anyone. Doing so may slow your metabolism and cause you to not lose much fat at all, which is incredibly counter-productive, especially since will most likely be torturing yourself on such a low calorie diet.
A better idea would be to combine a 500 calorie deficit while increasing the amount of exercise you get in order to burn an additional 500 calories per day. This would create a fat burn of 1000 calories per day, and mean losing 2 pounds of fat per week.
So in order to determine how many calories you should eat to lose weight, figure out how many calories you burn using an online calculator and subtract 500.
Another quick way to get an estimate of your daily calorie burn is to multiply your weight by 13 if you don’t get any exercise at all, by 16 if you exercise a few times a week, and by 19 if you exercise everyday for an hour or more. However, you will get more accurate numbers if you use a calculator that incorporates your age and height.