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Calories Needed Per Day

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The calories needed per day will vary from person to person. You've heard it before, to lose weight you must consume fewer calories per day than calories burned. 

That's one way to do it.  Especially if your metabolism rate runs higher than normal. 

You see, how many calories you burn, depends on your metabolism which is different for everyone.


Sounds like a simple enough idea, just a matter of watching what you eat in respect to the calories needed per day. The problem is knowing the basic number value associated with the many activities you perform each day.

Did you know the act of blinking actually burns calories throughout the day?  Nevertheless, before we get to the number of calories you burn with various activities, we need to look at the base calories needed per day just to sustain your current weight.


How Many Calories Needed Per Day to Maintain Weight

For the average body with a normal range of activity, 1700-2200 are the calories needed per day to maintain your current weight.  Regular light activities consist of running errands, household cleaning, walking to your vehicle, breathing etc….

If you consume calories within this range, you should neither lose nor gain weight.

calories needed per day

The problem is that the above numbers are based on the light activity level of a 25-30 year old woman.  What if you are a 40-year-old man who has a physically demanding profession? Of course, the numbers are going to change.

The calories needed per day are based on gender, activity level, current weight and even height.  This is what is known as your basal metabolic rate and you can use the following simple formula to figure yours.


Learn Your Basal Metabolic Rate

Men- To maintain your weight you can use this simple formula- 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years)

Women- For women the numbers will be slightly different- 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) - (4.7 x age in years)

That takes care of gender, weight, height and age differences, now the final calculation is done based on activity levels.

Take the total number from above and multiply it by the number below that most closely represents the amount of activity you receive in a normal day.

  • Sedentary- Base movements only, spending a great amount of time sitting at a desk or on the couch- BMR x 1.2
  • Light Exercise- If you exercise lightly around 1-3 days per week- BMR x 1.375
  • Moderate- Exercising 3-5 times per week- BMR x 1.55
  • Heavy – Exercising heavily 6-7 times per week- BMR x 1.725Very
  • Heavy- Exercising up to twice a day very intensely- BMR x 1.9

Losing Weight


All of the above information will help you to know how many calories are needed per day to maintain your current weight, but what if you would like to lose some weight.

This goes back to that simple instruction above, consume fewer calories and track the number of calories burned.  Begin with the chart above to determine the base calories you need.

Now understand that each pound of fat is equal to 3500 calories. Simply put, there are 3500 calories in one pound.

Therefore, to lose one pound per week you would need to trim your calories needed per day by 500.

You can do this by counting calories in the food you consume alone, or by increasing activity to a level, that 500 calories burned a day is achieved.

However, the best idea is probably a combination of both, for several reasons. When looking to lose weight it is often to look and feel better.

Getting your blood pumping through exercise helps in both these areas.  Exercise stimulates blood flow which increases oxygen to muscles and internal organs, triggers the brain to release endorphins, and gives you a depression busting feeling of accomplishment.

Plus it burns calories and helps you lose weight, a total win/win situation! 

Calories Burned By Common Activities

Now the final piece of your weight loss puzzle is in the number of calories burned for a specific activity. These figures will vary some based on gender, starting weight and age. The below figures are based on 150 lb female 25-40 years old and the calories burned per activity per hour.

  • Sleeping- 60
  • Sitting, watching TV, reading- 75
  • Grocery Shopping- 80
  • Motel Maid Work, vacuuming, making beds… - 95
  • Impatient waiting in line- 140
  • Intense house work, scrubbing floors, tubs, washing the walls- 225
  • Dancing to Rock and Roll Music- 400
  • Grand Champion, Elliptical Machine where you maintain target heart rate for 25-35 minutes- 800 calories per hour!

Many of the above actions we do every day and others can easily be incorporated.  Losing weight is good for health and self-esteem, using the information above you can get a great start on your goals today.




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