Daily Calorie Needs

Whether you want to maintain your weight, gain weight or lose weight, you can calculate how many calories you should be eating on a daily basis. For all three calculations, start with determining how many calories you need to consume to maintain your weight.

To calculate it automatically, plug in your information below:

Calorie Needs Calculator
Height: ft.   in.
Weight: lbs.
Gender: Female   Male
Activity Level:
Sedentary (little or no exercise)
Lightly Active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week)
Moderately Active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week)
Very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week)
Extra Active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training)

(This calculation is the Harris-Benedict Formula.
Click here if you'd like to see how it was calculated.)

If you want maintain your weight, you're done!

If you want to gain weight, eat additional calories, being sure to account for any additional exercise, and incorporate strength training so the weight you gain is muscle instead of fat.

If your goal is to lose weight, subtract 250 calories per day, and burn an average of an additional 250 calories per day with exercise. Since there are 3500 calories in a pound, and 7 days in a week, you should lose an average of 1 pound per week! (250+250) x 7 = 3500. You can recalculate your calorie needs anytime, once you've lost at least 10 lbs and hit a plateau in your weight loss.

Please remember:

  • Weight loss is never linear. Plan on losing weight inconsistently, with alternating plateaus and dramatic losses.
  • Subtracting more calories will not necessarily make you lose more weight faster, it may just slow your metabolism! If you want to lose weight at a faster rate, and keep it off, try burning more calories instead of eating less.
  • If you are incorporating strength training exercises into your exercise program (as you should be), be aware you may even gain some weight on your scale due to muscle mass increase. Body fat and circumference measurements, along with how you're feeling in your clothes, should be the determinant of your success, rather than the scale!

Back to Articles Index