Today I will tell you how many calories you need to lose weight. This article will help you to know how many calories you need to eat for weight loss or any other goal you have. Starting point for your fitness journey is to know your goal (weight loss, maintain weight or gain mass) and your BMR.
BMR means Basal Metabolic Rate and it is a number of calories your body needs to perform most basic (basal) functions, like breathing, circulation and cell production.
How to calculate your BMR?
Regardless for your goal, it may help you to calculate your BMR. You can find your number by using a formula designed by scientists, you can test it in a lab or you can use an online calculator. Remember that no method is perfectly accurate.
A lab test will give probably the best estimate but as it is very costly, I give two other ways to determine your metabolic rate and/or the total number of calories you burn each day.
Equation to Calculate Your BMR
The Harris-Benedict Equation is often used to estimate basal metabolic rate.
- Men: BMR = 88.362 + (13.397 x weight in kg) + (4.799 x height in cm) – (5.677 x age in years)
- Women: BMR = 447.593 + (9.247 x weight in kg) + (3.098 x height in cm) – (4.330 x age in years)
Online BMR Calculator
Put your height, weight, and age into my online calculator to find your basal metabolic rate with the addition of daily activity. The calculator provides you with an estimate of the total number of calories you burn each day. You also get recommendations on how much you should be eating for weight loss. PLEASE DO NOT TRY TO LOSE WEIGHT TOO FAST! Even a smaller calorie deficit, for example 10 -25 % or your calorie need (200-400calories per day) will get you results.
How many calories you need to lose weight
How to use BMR to lose weight?
Once you understand BMR and you get a good estimate of your number, you can use it to help you reach or maintain your weight goal. It is simple, calories in vs calories out. The only way to lose (or gain) weight is to have disbalance with your calorie in / out ratio for a long period of time.
If your goal is weight loss, first you can try to increase your basal metabolic rate, then you can increase the total number of calories you burn each day to help you reach your goal.
How to change your BMR
A combination of factors determines your basal metabolic rate. Genetic factors, age, gender and muscle mass all play a role. Obviously you can not do anything to control genetics, age or gender. But you can get more muscle mass and lose fat to boost your metabolism.
So how do you do that? Build muscle! Even when you are resting, lean muscle mass will burn more calories than fat. And you don’t have to be a bodybuilder to see benefits. Several studies have shown that after just a few weeks of resistance training you may be able to see a 7%-8% increase in resting metabolic rate.
If you want to get my free 21 Workouts to Boost your metabolism, here is a link to get them. You just need to add your mail and I will send them to you right away. (check your spam if you don’t get them)
How to increase Daily Calories Burned
The total number of calories you burn each day is dependent on your basal metabolic rate. You can burn more calories each day by moving more or making changes to your diet.
Your basal metabolic rate combined with two other factors can give you an idea of the calories you burn each day. Here is summary where your total number if calories is counted:
Basal metabolic rate accounts for about 60%-75% of total calories burned each day. To change that, increase muscle mass to burn more calories.
Your activity level: (non-exercise movement and exercise)is about 15%-30% of total calories burned each day. Easiest and most underestimated way to burn more calories is to increase daily movement to burn more calories.
Thermic effect of food: (calories burned from eating and digestion) accounts for about 10% of total calories burned each day. Try to eat more protein to increase your thermic effect.
How many calories you need to lose weight
How to create a calorie deficit?
If you put less calories into your mouth than you burn, you will create a calorie deficit. Remember that even healthiest foods have calories and if you think that you eat only 1000 calories but you are not losing weight, you are not tracking your calories correctly.
Most common tracking mistakes I see from my Online Clients are:
-you don´t track your drinks accurate
– you forget to track olive oil, dressing, ketchup or mayonnaise
– you forget to track parmesan cheese or other small snacks you ate
– you are guessing your portion size and not using food scale
– your tracking app is giving you wrong values
I made a longer video where I go through all the most common calorie tracking mistakes. You can watch it HERE
How many calories should you be eating for sustainable weight loss?
How many calories you need to lose weight?
When you know an estimate of how many calories your body burns, you can start to plan your diet based on your goals. For sustainable weight loss I recommend a slight deficit of 15-25% of your calorie needs. For example if your calorie need is 2000 kcal, I would start with a diet between 1500-1700 kcal. Lower than that I would not go for several reasons:
- If you eat less, it won’t be sustainable. It is not a matter of motivation, it is a matter of time before you quit.
- You will have a low energy, might feel dizzy, which will cause you to move even less and also burn less calories.
- You will feel hungry and crave some foods if you don’t allow yourself to eat them. You are in danger to binge later.
Remember that all these values are only rough estimates and a starting point. The only way to know what is the right thing for you is to try and adjust later on depending on how you feel and how your progress is.
How long does it take to lose fat?
One kilo of fat is around 7000 Kcal. If you have created a calorie deficit of -500 calories on average per day, you will lose 0,5 Kg of fat per week. 2kg in a month. That is a sustainable speed for fat loss. Unless you have a lot to lose, I am not recommending faster fat loss.
Fat loss is a slow process and the best way to measure your fat loss are pictures and body measurements. Scale is not the best way to do it because no matter what you do, scale will not always go down.
How many calories you need to lose weight
Fat Loss is not the same than Weight Loss
If you are measuring your progress only through scale, there is a big chance that you will feel frustrated. Or you will see the results which are not sustainable or have nothing to do with fat loss.
Here reasons why the scale is fluctuating:
- You were eating more carbs than usual. (Carbs are good and ok to eat!!) Your body is able to store 100-500g of carbs (in the form of glycogen). Per every gram of carbs, your body will need around 3 grams of water to store it. So if your carbs store is full (you have a lot of energy!) you will have 500g of carbs and 1500 grams of water. This explains why your weight can and will vary daily and it is still not fat.
- You ate salty food. Salt is also holding a lot of water.
- You were not in the toilet.. You just need to have a poo 😉
- You were eating later than usual.
- You had a hard workout a day before. (Yes this can also be a reason for your body holding more water)
How to start tracking calories?
There are many free Apps available to track your calories and macros. Pick one and start filling what you are eating and drinking.It is a lot of work but I guarantee it will help you to get better with your habits. Try to be as accurate as possible and use a food scale always when possible.
I have my own App for my clients to do it. Here is a picture. Another good free option is myfitnesspal.
What matters the most when you track your calories and macros?
Calories are the most important! Counting calories has been the “go to” diet for the whole world for a long time.
It is simple to understand – calories in – calories out.
It is the only way to lose (or gain weight)
The most important macronutrient is protein. Make sure you eat enough proteins. You should aim for 1,5 to 2,5 grams of protein per kilo bodyweight. If your weight is 70 kilos, you should eat at least 105 grams of protein.
But you hear also carbs are making fat and you need to eat less fats. You are confused.
If your goal is to lose fat or gain muscles, it is enough to concentrate calories and proteins. Carbs and fats are actually not important and they do not make a big difference for fat loss or gaining muscles.
IS THERE OTHER WAYS TO LOSE WEIGHT THAN COUNTING CALORIES?
There are other ways than counting calories to reach your goals. But regardless of whether you decide to count them or not, they always count. Strategies like mindful eating, measuring portions with your hands are great ways to do it.
SOUNDS COMPLICATED OR NEED ANY HELP?
It is actually not that complicated. It is just not always easy to do. That is why most people fail in their weight loss projects. It takes almost always longer than you would like. Often you need someone who is holding you accountable and supporting you when you need it.
That is the basis of my Online Coaching. Through control, strategies that are working for you are the most important thing. Remember that there is no one like you and what has worked for your friend, might not be the right solution for you.
I am offering currently two different options, depending on your needs for support.
FitMitTuro Membership is the right one for you if you are doing things by yourself but want to have workout programs, interesting different views of nutrition and you don’t need so much personal attention and motivation.
You can read more about it and sign up here: (It is available both, in English and in German language)
One on One Online Coaching is for you if you need more personalized support and me as your coach will take all your guesswork away and together we go through the best possible way to reach your goals as fast as possible. If you are interested, I am very selective with who I want to work with. You can fill out the Formula to see if we are a good match to work together. Here link: