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How to Calculate Recommended Caloric Intake

Knowing how many calories you burn in a day is useful for weight management. Maintaining your weight requires that you consume approximately the same number of calories each day that you burn. A weekly weight loss of 1 pound requires you to burn approximately 500 more calories per day than you eat. A weekly weight gain of 1 pound requires you to eat approximately 500 calories per day more than you burn.

Step 1

Calculate your basal metabolic rate (BMR). The BMR formula for males is 66 + (6.3 * weight in pounds) + (12.9 * height in inches) - (6.8 * age in years). The BMR formula for females is 655 + (4.3 * weight in pounds) + (4.7 * height in inches) - (4.7 * age in years). For example, if you are a 25 year old female weighing 130 pounds and standing 64 inches tall, your BMR is 1,404 calories.

Step 2

Determine how many calories you burn each day through activity. This amount is approximately 20 percent of your BMR if you are sedentary, such as sitting all day working at a desk; 30 percent of your BMR if you are lightly active, such as standing all day working as a cashier; 40 percent of your BMR if you exercise most days of the week and 50 percent of your BMR if you exercise everyday or perform hard labor for work. For example, if your BMR is 1,404 and you are sedentary, you burn approximately 281 calories per day through activity.

Step 3

Add your BMR to the number of calories you burn each day through activity to determine your caloric needs to maintain your weight. For example, if your BMR is 1,404, and you burn approximately 281 calories per day through activity, you need to eat about 1,685 calories per day to maintain your weight at your current activity level.

References (2)

  • Contemporary Nutrition; Gordon M. Wardlaw et al.
  • Handbook of Obesity Treatment; Thomas A. Wadden PhD et al.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.