How Many Calories Do You Need to Lose Weight? Learn To Calculate Your Calorie Deficit for Weight Loss

What is a calorie? 

A calorie is simply a unit of energy. And if you remember from your elementary science class, the law of thermodynamics states, energy can not be created or destroyed. Why is this concept important when it comes to understanding calories? Consequentially, a calorie can not be created or destroyed it can only be transformed. 

Food contains calories. A calorie is a unit of energy. We eat food, thus food gives us energy. Food gives us life! The calories from the food we eat will either be used as energy to keep us alive and moving or it will be stored as fat if we eat excess calories then our body can burn. To understand how many calories you need to lose weight you must first understand and calculate how many calories you need just to stay alive. The calories you need just to stay alive are referred to as "maintenance calories," or BMR. You can easily calculate your Basal metabolic rate (BMR) to find out how many calories you burn every day with my BMR calculator HERE. Keep reading to find out how exactly to calculate how many calories you need to lose weight.

What is BMR

Basal metabolic rate(BMR) is now used interchangeably with the term resting metabolic rate(RMR). Both terms refer to the energy(calories) required for the maintenance of normal body functions and homeostasis to maintain life. (1) So when people talk about metabolism they are essentially referring to BMR. BMR on average makes up about 75% of your total calorie needs in any given day depending on how active or inactive you are. In an extremely inactive person, BMR could make up to 90% of one's calorie needs in a day. 
bmr calculator

Your total calorie need in a day is determined by your TDEE or total daily calorie expenditure. TDEE=BMR+TEE+TEF. TEF refers to the thermic effect of food, and TEE refers to the thermic effect of exercises. TEF is really negligible before you get too excited over learning that simply eating and digesting food burns calories. But, your TEE can drastically change how many calories you need in a day to lose weight. For instance, in a highly trained very active athlete TEE can be over 6000 calories a day, think Micheal Phelps or Lebron James. But in a sedentary person TEE could be as low as 400calories, and in a bed-bound person, TEE would essentially be 0 calories. Keep reading to learn how to calculate your calorie needs for weight loss.

How To Calculate A Calorie Deficit For Weight Loss? How Many Calories Do You Need to Lose Weight?

First, let's discuss what does a calorie deficit mean? The term calorie deficit makes reference to the concept of energy balance. In order for you to lose weight, you must be in a calorie deficit meaning you must eat fewer calories than you burn. So if you calculated your daily calorie needs with my BMR calculator to be 2,000 calories a day. If you ate 1,800 calories a day you would be eating in a 200 calorie deficit. 

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) (1) recommends that we should aim to lose no more than 1-2 pounds a week when attempting to lose weight. 1 pound or 2.2kg is equal to 3,500 calories. If you are able to maintain a 3,500 weekly calorie deficit you will lose 1lb pound a week. 

Essentially, in order for you to lose 1 pound or 2.2 kg a week, you would need to maintain an average of a 500 calorie deficit a day. This can be as simple as cutting out your daily cookies and soda from your diet. 

A calorie deficit can be achieved by cutting back on the number of calories you eat, increasing your daily physical activity, or a combination of both. The ACSM recommends that a calorie deficit of no more than 1000 calories should be utilized 

So, how many calories do you need to lose weight? The answer to this question varies from person to person. The amount of calories you need to lose weight is dependent on your age, current weight, height, as well as your current physical activity levels. It is a simple calculation if you have the right knowledge and tools.

First, calculate your daily maintenance calories using a BMR calculator. Then subtract 500 calories from your maintenance calories to set yourself up to lose 1lb or 2.2kg a week. That's It! Comment below if you still have questions.

Post a Comment


  1. Very informative article ! It's really tough to lose weight fastly,Your content really help us to make fit and lose weight fastly.

  2. This bottled spring water is used to treat certain health disorders such as controlling high blood pressure and reducing edema, a condition where the body retains water due to a backup in the lymphatic system. The plastic free water bottle, also known as diuretics, stimulate the kidneys to excrete sodium from the body, which in turn forces the body to excrete excess fluids through urine.