”You cannot out-exercise a bad diet”. A golden rule in life and in fitness.

Eating the right amount of calories for your body is extremely important. Eating too much or too little can affect your fat loss results.

So, how do you calculate your ideal calorie intake?

How to know what is right for you and your body?

Below, I will show you formulas that work for calculating your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) & Total Energy Expenditure (TEE)

These are fancy terms for how many calories you need to just stay alive and how many if you’re remotely or moderately active/working out :) )

You can calculate both BMR & TEE to get your daily ideal calorie intake using the calculator below.

If you want to know more details read below my breakdown of formulas and more details about what BMR & TEE mean for you.

Note: Please remember that these formulas may not be exactly right for everyone but they are a pretty good indication.

Also, the formulas are for women only. There are different formulas for men.


What is BMR?

Basal Metabolic Rate is the number of calories required to keep your body functioning at rest.

Meaning if you lie in bed all day and do nothing, this is the number of calories your body will spend just to keep everything running properly.

BMR is also known as your body’s metabolism; meaning that any increase to your metabolic weight, such as exercise, will increase your BMR

BMR Formula

This formula is the revised Harris-Benedict equation. It can get a bit confusing, so stay with me!

The formula is: 447.593 + (9.247 x body weight (kg)) + (3.098 x height (cm)) – (4.33 x age in years)

My weight is around 52kgs, my height is 167cm and my age is 27 years. So here’s my example.

  • 447.593 + (9.247 x 52) + (3.098 x 167) – (4.33 x 27)
  • = 1329 calories

This means that if I were to lie in bed all day and do absolutely nothing, my body would use up 1329 calories per day.

Related post: Clean Eating Guidelines


What is TEE?

Total energy expenditure is the amount of energy that a person needs to carry out all physical functions (breathing, digesting food, exercising). 

Energy is measured in calories, and your total energy expenditure (TEE) is the number of calories you burn each day.

TEE Formula

Multiply your BMR by the TEE value below, based on your activity level.

Little to none1.2
Light (1-3 days)1.375
Moderate (3-5 days)1.55
Heavy (6-7 days)1.725
Very heavy (twice daily)1.9

I exercise 6 times per week for about an hour, but usually 2 of these sessions are low intensity cardio such as power walking.

I would considerate myself in the moderate range so I will multiply my BMR (1329) by 1.55.

Total Energy Expenditure = 1329 x 1.55 = 2060 calories.

This means that if I were to exercise 5 times per week, my body would burn 2060 calories per day



Usually, for fat loss, you should be in a daily calorie deficit of around 200-500 calories.

A more severe calorie restriction will result in a more severe fat loss.

However, any form of dieting and calorie restriction will reduce your metabolic rate, so just keep that in mind (also remember that resistance training increases your metabolic rate).

I like to be at a 300 calorie deficit because I don’t get as hungry.

Therefore, my ideal calorie intake should be 2060 – 300 = 1760 calories.

But if I were to be at the 500 calorie deficit, my ideal calorie intake would be 2060 – 500 = 1560 calories.


If you are trying to maintain your weight, you would just stick to your total energy expenditure, which would be 2060 calories for me (which we worked out in step 2).


If you are trying to gain weight, you would want to eat more than 2060 calories.

I would also advise gaining weight in a slow and steady manner- so up your calories for 500 a day for gaining weight slowly.

I hope this makes sense and has answered your questions on how to calculate your daily calorie intake! xx

Rachael is an Australian born certified personal trainer and nutritionist who holds a Bachelor degree in Science.

After struggling for years to find an exercise and diet program that is tailored to women striving for lean and toned body with no bulk she designed her Lean Legs Program. This program is tailored to each body type and focused on helping women get toned but feminine bodies, without getting bulky.

Her mission is to empower women and help them stay in shape in a healthy and balanced way.

137 Responses

  1. Hi Rachael,
    I’ve been struggling. I wish to lose weight. My current routine is 7 days a week of 50-minute HIIT exercise (cardio-based w/ some resistance training in them) that burns 400-500 calories, and 50-minute walk daily brisk walk that burns about 350 calories. I track an intake of balance macros on a 1500 calories average daily. Been doing this for 4 months, lost about 4.5 kg in the first month & a half and just got stuck there not reaching my goal of another 2.5 kg. I want to switch to your Lean Legs program but I’m not sure how to do the transistion as I believe I will be adjusting down my activity level and calorie burn. Help please.

    1. Hi lovely! Thanks for reaching out! HIIT is a great workout for fat Loss but to be honest, we wouldn’t really recommend that you do it everyday. It’s important that you have at least one rest day per week. Overtraining can also hinder Yiu from getting fast results. I highly recommend that you check out our program, the workouts and nutrition plan are both tailored for your body type which will help you get the best and fastest results! If you have any questions, you may reach out to us at :)

  2. Hi Rachel, I have a Fitbit and use a calorie and macro calculator app. (Lose it!) My Fitbit tells me I burn a lot of calories on my very active days. I tend to be physically active. But I log my food on my app and I’ve noticed I’ve been eating very few calories. I tend to burn around 2200cal or more (depends if I was more active) but the highest I’ve been eating is around 700-900cal. The thing is, I eat good nutritious meals higher protein, I also love fruits and veggies, yogurt, lean meat, low fat cheese and yogurt, nuts and sometimes protein bars (I even started to include some keto ice cream as a treat once a week) . You name it! But the calories are still to low, and I feel like eating more would make me really full. My serving sizes are fine. Also, my carb intake is typically below 90 grams. I tend to experience fatigue but I’m not hungry. What do I do? I don’t want to damage my weight loss goals or my metabolism. Help!

    1. Hi lovely! I recommend trying other apps just to confirm if you’re encountering an error. Also, it would be best to avoid consuming less than 1200 calories a day. That us the bare minimum for women and it might result to damaged metabolism or other health issues. If you need more help or tips, feel free to reach out to us at :)

  3. Thank you for everything Rachel!! I will stick to my diet plan and workouts and hopefully see some results in a month and keep going! Good luck in your future!!

  4. Hi,

    I want to lose fat but maintain my weight (build muscles to compensate). I’m an endomorph and to maintain my weight I have to eat around 1900 calories, should I go for a slight caloric deficit diet so 1600 calories or eat 1900 calories? I am scared eating a maintenance calories might lead to weight gain especially as I am an endomorph. But having eaten 1600 calories for few months I’ve lost weight and I don’t wish to lose any more weight. I aim for fat loss. I am doing hiit, light resistance training and power walking. Just need help with my diet!

    1. Hi lovely,

      You can eat for maintenance if you don’t want to lose more weight. To serve as a reference, you can also calculate your ideal daily calorie intake through this link. :)

      If you’re an endomorph, in order to not gain unwanted bulkiness, I would advise that you stick to light-resistance workouts and avoid doing HIIT.

      I hope that helps. xx


  5. Hi !!
    Thank you answer ! It’s really helping :)
    Some weeks, I don’t have a lot of time, so I use to skip resistance training … :S
    If I do only the 10 000 steps a days, should I choose “ligth” or stay in “moderate” activity level when calculating my ideal daily calories intake ?
    Have a lovely day, and thank you again !

    1. Hi lovely,

      Thanks for reaching out!

      If your goal is to slim down your legs there are 3 steps you should follow – do the right type of cardio, do bodyweight resistance training, and adjust your diet for weight loss. Removing one from your routine won’t help you achieve your goals faster so we still encourage that you incorporate light-resistance workouts in your routine and focus more on nutrition.

      In the meantime, if you could only focus on power walking then you can choose ‘light’ as your activity level.

      I hope that helps. If you have more questions, feel free to email us at


  6. Hi,
    I am confused with the activity level.
    If I walk 10000 steps per day. I also do some resistance exercice two days a week.
    Am I in a light activity ? Thank you very much for your answer,
    have a nice day !

    1. Hi lovely,

      If you’re doing light-resistance workouts 3x per week together with cardio, you should choose ‘moderate’ as your activity level when calculating your ideal daily calorie intake and macros. :) If you have any questions, feel free to reach out at

      Wish you all the best! xx

  7. Hi Rachel !
    Firstly I Must commend you on your amazing toned body ! Well done
    Please can you tell me if you have
    Ever struggled with heavy thighs / legs ? What diet do you recommend if possible .. Thank you regards Bernadine

    1. Hi lovely,

      Thanks for reaching out! I completely understand how you feel and I’ll do my best to help! :)

      If you’re struggling with muscular/heavy thighs and your goal is to slim down your legs, there are 3 steps you should follow – do the right type of cardio, do bodyweight resistance training, and adjust your diet for weight loss.
      In terms of diet, the right type should be tailored for your body type. If you don’t know yours yet, feel free to take Rachael’s Body Type Quiz.

      If you need more tips, feel free to email us at


  8. I always get confused on my activity level. Currently I’m following the endomorph video course and I walk/power walk for an hour x6 days a week. So would I be light or moderate activity level?

  9. Hi Rachael!
    I’ve always had the issue that my thigs bulk up from sitting for long periods of times, from doing squats and generally are the thickest part of my body. It’s that and my back that seems to store all the weight. I’m an endomorph body type and I’d really like to lose the thickness from my thighs! I’ve started the gym but I don’t want to do exercises that could make them bigger! Are hip adduction and hip abduction machines a go or a no? I want to get into better shape! Any tips or advice?

    1. Hi lovely! Thanks for reaching out! :)

      The hip abduction machine shouldn’t cause bulky muscle – but this will build muscle on the outside of your thighs. If you don’t want this, I would avoid using the machine. Also, I prefer doing hip abductors standing with the cable machine so you engage your core and more of your entire body.

      Also, here is a guideline that Rachael wrote for endomorphs that you will find useful <3

      I hope this helps, please let me know if you have any questions! xx


  10. If I am 41 year old female, weigh 116 pounds and looking to lose about 8 pounds and slim down my thighs, what would my calorie intake and daily exercise look like) I am 116 pounds and 5’4 and 41. I exercise about 30 minutes a day by running or doing yoga but I do exercise 6 day’s a week. I also walk in addition to running and yoga everyday but my running is about 30 minutes.

    1. Hi lovely <3,

      I think I just responded to your email!:)

      Your calorie intake should be 1921 and eating at a slight deficit would go between 1712 and 1612!:)

      Here's a blog post where you can learn more about calorie intake and how to calculate it!:)

      Hope this helps!<3


  11. Hi Rachael thank you for your response! If I were to begin following the mesomorph guideline (5 power walks, 3 resistance training, 1-2hiit) should I start with calculating my calories and TEE from the light activity? Or should I begin from the moderator activity? I appreciate your help again and thank you for the support!

    1. Hi lovely <3,

      You can start with moderate activity!:)

      Please let me know if there's anything else I can help you with!:)


  12. Hiya! I am really in love with your blog! As a newbie, I’m really wanting to start this healthy journey. I noticed you said in the other post that we would notice muscle definition first before weight loss. So in that case if we do gain more pounds after a couple weeks, do we calculate our calories again to match the new weight? How often should I do this calculation if I do gain/lose pounds?

    Would you also be able to explain what a “light activity” means as well? I can’t tell where I fall in terms of activity level. I really appreciate you sharing your knowledge!

    1. Hey lovely,

      It is so exciting that you are starting your fitness journey! :)

      This is not a must, it can happen. :)
      You can calculate your calorie intake now, and when you lose drastic amount of kgs you can do it again. :)
      You can calculate as often as you want, it’s just that the numbers won’t change much if your weight is different for only a few grams.

      If you work out for about 1-3 times per week then you are in the light activity group.


  13. hi rachael!,
    i’ve calculated my calories and reduced my intake but i still haven’t lost weight. it’s been a month and i don’t know if i’m doing something wrong. is this normal and do i need to be patient?
    thanks <3

    1. Hey lovely :)

      Are you working out or doing some cardio along? :)

      Make sure that you make at least 10 000 steps which is optimal for weight loss.
      You can do bodyweight resistance training for the fastest results.

      But have in mind that each body is different and it can’t take the same amount of time for everybody to lose weight.
      Stay patient and motivated! :)


  14. Omgoodness, yes, I meant so say fasted cardio of 10,000 steps 5 times a week and resistance training 3 times a week. So what is the difference between light activity and moderate activity? I want to be more cautious with my calories intake. Thank you once again :)

  15. Hi, I’m a mesomorph and I walk 10,000 steps 5 times a day (fasted cardio for 45-60 mins and run for only 5 mins as a beginner) and I do resistance training three times a day. For rainy days I can’t do power walks, I do the cardio video that you put up! What would my activity level be considered? Don’t know if it’s light or moderate. Thank you<3

    1. Hi lovely <3,

      Thanks for reaching out! :)

      I am assuming you wanted to say 5 times a week and resistance training 3 times a week? :)

      I would say this puts you in a moderate activity group! :)

      Please let me know if there's anything else I can help you with!:)


  16. Hello Rachael,

    I was looking at the comments below and I was wondering about the TEE activity too. I did 16,000 steps today and ate more than normal because I walked more, so the TEE activity range would count as ‘heavy’ when I track my calories, right? And tomorrow is my rest day so I don’t plan to count TEE. Am I doing it right? My daily activities also varies and depending on that I try to eat the right calories/amount accordingly. Please let me know if I’m tracking each day right, it could get so confusing at times! Thank you :)

    1. Hi lovely,

      You needn’t focus on individual days but on the general level of your activities – so if you are following the Program, for example, your general activity level is ‘moderate’ – so you should eat every day in accordance with that and not moderately on the days when you do moderate level activities and heavy on the days when you work out more – you need to look at the overall picture. :)

      I hope this helps! xx


  17. Hi there :)
    I was browsing through and wondered if the activity range can be different from day to day. Some days I walk 10k steps and do resistance training three times a week, which I am aware from the comment below that you guys mentioned it would be considered “moderate.” But during 1-2 rest days, would my activity for those days be considered “little to none”? There are also days I work and am unable to do 10k steps. Is it possible to calculate different TEE’s during the week if that’s the case for me? Thank you very much, I appreciate your help in advance :)

    1. Hi lovely <3

      Everything is calculated based on your total activity level so you shouldn't have one regime for days when you work out and days when you don't. If you do 10,000 steps on some days and do resistance training 3 times a week, that's a bit under 'moderate' since Rachael recommends walking as much as possible, at least 5 times a week, and you can also put in some running twice a week so you are somewhere in between the categories. If you manage to up your walking to 5+ times a week, then you can count your TEE with 'moderate' activity level.

      I hope this helps! xx


  18. Hi Rachael,
    As a mesomorph and a 30 year old, I do 30 mins walking walk 5-6 times a day. I also do resistance training 3x a day which is only 25 mins or so. Does that put me at the “light” activity range? I figured you do way more than me and you consider yourself moderate. Thank you for your help.

    1. Hi lovely <3,

      Thanks for reaching out! :)

      3 sessions of resistance training per week are enough combined with the right amount of cardio!

      If you wish, you can extend your power walks a bit ( try doing 10,000 steps in a day, but you don't have to do it all at once) and that would already be considered as "moderate" :)

      Also, try sticking to a healthy diet as much as possible! :)

      Hope this helps!


  19. Hi rachael,
    My BMR is 1351 and my TEE is 2094.05 should i lose weight when i just intake calories around 1000 low than what my body needs.

    1. Hi lovely,
      If you are eating at a 1,000 calorie deficit – this is too little.
      Usually for fat loss, you should be in a calorie deficit of around 200-500 calories. A more severe calorie restriction will result in a more severe fat loss. However, any form of dieting and calorie restriction will reduce your metabolic rate. Please have a look at this blog:
      This is important because if you are starving, you may damage your metabolism and this can disrupt your goals. Take a look here:
      Hope this helps! Xx

  20. Hi, where I’m from, some of the dishes don’t necessarily have the calorie information I need. How do I know I’m not over eating and stuff. P.S I’m an endomorph.

    1. Hi lovely,
      Thanks for reaching out! :-)
      Rachael’s 3 Steps to Lean Legs ebook includes a detailed Meal Plan and recipe ebook so you ensure that you are always eating the right amount of food and the correct ingredients! :-)
      You can join Rachael’s Lean Legs Platform for free and get access to her 7-day meal plan. You can sign up for the platform for free here
      If you have any other questions, feel free to ask! Xx

  21. I am curious why you personally eat a 300 calorie deficit. I assume you are not trying to lose weight, but are aiming to maintain your current body composition. Is the deficit to keep from putting on too much muscle? Or is it necessary to maintain a low body fat percentage? I guess my underlying question is what will happen if a woman who has a healthy (but lower) BMI and is moderately active eats her maintenance amount of calories rather than a small deficit? Will she put on fat or muscle rather than maintain her current body composition?

    1. Hi lovely,

      Thanks for reaching out!

      Rachael was just giving an example – if she wanted to lose body fat, she would be at a slight calorie deficit.:)

      If you have a healthy but lower BMI, I would suggest that you eat your maintenance amount of calories and not at a calorie deficit :)

      If you eat to maintain your weight and combine cardio with bodyweight resistance training, you will build lean muscle.

      If you have any questions, feel free to ask!xx


  22. Replying to Marina. Thank you for your help, Marina. 1700-1900 sounds much more realistic. A few years ago I was eating around 1340 calories per day and very low fat and I went down to 140 and almost broke back under that weight. Then, one day we spent hours shoveling snow and I got really hungry, ate a bacon cheeseburger and french fries after that. In one day my weight rose back to 142 and began to steadily climb no matter what I did until it’s where it is now at 156-157. I think the reduced calorie eating I’m getting a stationary bike which I hope to ride every day 20-30 minutes because I’m not getting enough exercise but if I do HIIT or weights, I build up muscle very quickly. The whole thing has been very frustrating. Eating low fat has always helped me lose weight but I start to feel depressed as well and then my metabolism yo yo’s. Do you think that if I eat 1700-1900 calories a day and do the exercise bike I really have a chance to lose the weight/fat?

    1. I’m so sorry for my late reply, lovely! I didn’t get a notification :(

      Do you perhaps know your body type? Some body types can build muscles from spinning. I think if you stay at a slight calorie deficit – 200-300 calories, you won’t get as hungry. That will prevent you from binge eating and you won’t feel like you’re restricting yourself too much.:)

      I would advise you to do more power walking if you can! Would you be able to do around 10 000 steps per day 4-5 times per week? :) And don’t forget about resistance training – it will help you get toned and raise your metabolism.

      You can also check out Rachael’s program – it includes cardio, resistance training, and a complete meal plan all tailored to your specific body type :) If you’re interested, you can find out more about it here

      And as always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask! xx


  23. Hello – I did my calculations and ended up with a daily caloric intake of roughly 2500 cal per day. This sounds very high. I’m 50 years old, 5’6″. I currently weigh around 156 pounds and do a brisk half hour walk 3-4 times per week. Does this sound correct as far as how many calories I should take in per day to lose fat? thanks!

    1. Hi lovely,

      I checked that for you! Your BMR is 1417 and your TEE is 2197. So in order to lose weight, you need to be at a slight calorie deficit (300-500 calories). That means you should eat around 1700-1900 calories to lose weight. Let me know if you have any other questions! xx


  24. Does your calorie intake change if you are hypothyroid ( I don’t have a thyroid but they are still have a hard time controlling it)?

    1. Hi lovely,
      No, you should still refer to your ideal calorie intake regardless of hormonal imbalances. We recommend finding a good naturopath or an integrative doctor who will help you with treatment. All the best! xx


    1. Hi lovely,
      That’s a very severe calorie restriction, so we wouldn’t recommend it as it can damage your metabolism in the long run.
      Carb cycling should be fine as long as you don’t eat below 1200 calories, which is the absolute minimum for a healthy weight loss.
      A healthy diet that includes low carb days should kickstart fat loss. However, carb cycling is designed for short-term use. It is not a long-term solution for body fat management.


  25. Hi! I think I have been unintentionally starving myself by eating too few calories and working out too much. For the last 3 years I weighed about 124 and I now weigh 130-131 (I am 5ft 6in). I have not changed anything in my diet or workouts and as far as I know, I do not have anything medically wrong.

    Here are some facts for context.
    My fitbit says on average I walk 15,000-20,000 steps in a day and that I burn around 2400-2700 calories. I am not sure how accurate this is! I eat around 1400-1600 calories a day (sometimes 1300 if I have a busy day with no time to eat). Additonally, I workout 7 days a week and usually do an hour of cardio like running or power walking and then 15-20 mins of weights and resistance. I change up my workout everyday.

    So 2 questions….am I working out too much and is that why I gained the 6-7 lbs? If so, will I gain more weight if I stop working out as much because my metabolism is currently slow?

    What do you suggest I do to speed up my metabolism, be healthy, and loose the 6lbs I gained?

    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi lovely,
      It’s likely that you’ve gained weight due to a significant decrease in metabolism. Eating and training this way will cause problems with your metabolism and weight long term, so it’s better not to be excessive with diet and exercise. You could have perhaps gained some muscle and also the lack of food may have caused problems with water retention – both of which can add weight.

      We would love to help you as much as we can :) So that’s why we have created the Lean Legs Program.

      The Program is an 8 week workout and nutrition plan designed to help you get lean and toned without bulking.
      It will help you slim down your legs, but will also help you slim and tone your upper body and core too (the workouts are full body).

      It also includes a full meal plan, a separate recipe eBook and demonstration videos.
      You can find out more about the Lean Legs Program here:

      Lean Legs Program

      For more helpful info please have a read of these blog posts:


  26. hi Rachel, I have calculated that i should be eating around 1800 calories with a 500 calorie deficit, which is much more than i have been eating and i’ve seen no progress at all recently. I am very active excersising 8 or more times a week and eating very healthily. I’ve seen very little progress for a long time and still weigh a lot (60kg). I’m naturally quite muscular and wish i could reduce that to be more lean (i do have a fair bit of fat on my thighs and arms).

    1. Hi lovely,
      Usually I find that there are a few potential reasons for not getting results:

      – If you’ve ever done any super low calorie diets in the past, this will affect your metabolism and make it harder for you to lose weight. And on the other end of the scale, binge eating prevents you from getting results too. I’m not sure if either of this situations apply to you, but it’s one thing to take into consideration.

      – Sometimes weight loss isn’t just about calories in and calories out. Your body is a lot more complicated. Any issues with gut health, hormones, thyroid, cortisol or nutrient deficiencies can actually make a HUGE difference to your weight. Please have a read of this blog post as it explains these situations in more detail and you’ll be able to see if any of these sound like you.

      We would love to help you as much as we can :) So that’s why we have created the Lean Legs Program.

      The Program is an 8 week workout and nutrition plan designed to help you get lean and toned without bulking.
      It will help you slim down your legs, but will also help you slim and tone your upper body and core too (the workouts are full body).

      It also includes a full meal plan, a separate recipe eBook and demonstration videos.
      You can find out more about the Lean Legs Program here:

      Lean Legs Program


  27. Hi Rachael! Based on the calcs you shared here, I should be eating 1707 calories per day to be in a 500 calorie deficit for weight loss. This is when I calculated moderate exercise into the equation.

    Here’s my question: On days that I do NOT exercise, should I be eating fewer calories? Or do I eat the same number whether I exercise or not?

    (I typically workout 3-5 days per week)

    Thank you!

    1. Hi lovely,
      If you’re trying to lose weight you can lower the amount of calories on days when you’re not working out. So once you have calculated your BMR it shows you how many calories you burn in a day (even by doing nothing). I wouldn’t recommend eating less than that.


  28. Hello :)
    Thanks so much for all your amazing info it has been very helpful! Would you be able to provide me with the equation for males??

    1. Hi Shenai, you’re welcome! This is the formula to work out your BMR for men. The rest is the same as I’ve written in the blog post.

      BMR = 88.362 + (13.397 × weight in kg) + (4.799 × height in cm) – (5.677 × age in years)

      I hope that makes sense! xx

  29. Hello,
    Great post and super well described !

    Simple question: if I am looking to build muscle, I should create a slight surplus in my intake, right…?

    1. Hi lovely, you can still build muscle on a deficit, but it’s easier to build muscle in a surplus. If you want to build a significant amount of muscle and/or improve your strength, it would be better to be in a surplus xx

  30. I am 6ft1 weighing 262 pounds, i have high bloodpressure (which is coming down) and taking 500MG of Metformin for diabetes twice a day. I walk 5-6 miles a day on a treadmill with elevation and do some weight training a few days a week, and usually burn about 1000 calories during workout. I used to eat between 1400-1700 calories a day but was told that due to my weight and due to that I exercise I should increase it to 3500 calories a day because likely I am starving myself. I haven’t done this but increased it to about 2200 a day. I don’t know if this was the right move or not. I try to stay within my macros with 20% carbs, 35% fat, 45% protein.

    1. Hi Matt, the calculations for men and women are a bit different. But 1400-1700 calories is extremely low and I would also consider that starving yourself. If you are trying to lose weight, 3500 calories might be a bit much (but might not, I haven’t done your calculations). But I would increase your calories to around 3000 (up from 2200) and keep your carbs at 20-25%. Good luck!

  31. Hi dear
    Can u pls suggest me the diet chart for my husband . His bmr is 1384 and he is having hypothyroidism . The daily dosage is 200mcg.
    Thanks in advance

    1. Hi lovely, I’m so sorry to hear this. With hypothyroidism, your metabolism slows right down and your body burns a lot less calories. So your husband will really need to focus on fixing the hypothyroidism first before worrying about calories. My body was burning less than half the normal amount with hypothyroidism. I’m still trying to fix it but taking a higher dosage of iodine has helped. A lot of doctors only recommend a very small amount (200mcg) per day. I saw a naturopath who specialises in hypothyroidism and I am taking 12.5mg (not mcg), which is about 60 times higher than what your husband is taking and I am seeing results really quickly. So it could be worth going to see a naturopath who specialises in hypothyroidism. I didn’t have much luck with my doctor. I wish him all the best! xx

  32. Hi Rachel, I am 18 years old and a food and nutrition student at university. I have recently been taking an oral contraceptive prescribed by my doctor, but am noticed an increase in my body weight. I am 162 and 55kg i use to be a bit smaller, and was wondering if there is anything you would recommend in diet/excercise that i could change to reduce the side effects i am experiencing from this pill?
    I have also calculated my daily intake of Kilojoules, but have noticed that if i deviate over 2000 kj for an extended time i put on weight very quickly. i think i should be eating more Kj without out weight gain and was also wondering how i might be able to change this with diet and excercise.
    Thankyou Rachel :)

    1. Hi Sophie! Unfortunately if the contraceptive pill is causing you weight gain, the best thing to do would be to change the type of pill (have a chat to your doctor about this), or go off the pill. It is likely the weight gain is due to hormonal changes, which won’t change through diet and exercise. Do you mean 2000 kj or calories? Hopefully you mean calories :) If so, with your weight / height, you shouldn’t really need to eat more than 2000 calories per day. I hope that helps! xx

  33. Hi Rachael,

    I’ve been eating for about 1000-1100 calories a day with about 90g protein, 100g carb and 30g fat but have been in maintenance since. Maybe I’ve hit plateau because I have not seen much progress. I’d like to try to increase my calorie intake but still continue to lose fat. How would you advise me to do that? I am 146cm and 38.5kgs but I am meaty/flabby in my arms and legs, those are my problem areas. My legs are quite bulky but I am not sure if it’s more of muscles or fats. Probably fats. I am quite active as I do HIIT 3x (30-40minutes that includes squat jumps, burpees, high knees, sprints, squats/lunges with light weights about 3-5kg) + cardio 1-2 times a week. Cardio differs between interval sprints with power walk or 28 minutes of power walk with 12 minutes of light jogging. I want to get skinnier legs and arms. I don’t want to bulk up my legs because I am short and do not want to look anymore stubbier. Please help me out! Thank you :)

    1. Hi hun! I think you’re maybe reaching a plateau because you’re not actually eating enough (but in saying that, you are very small). Slowly try to increase your food intake to at least 1200 calories, this should be the minimum. Also, if you have bulky legs, I would try to avoid doing too many of these HIIT leg exercises that you mentioned. You could still do HIIT, but try HIIT workouts like this. Otherwise try other resistance training exercises like this. Also, being short, interval sprinting may not be the best for you. I would try to stick to steady state cardio instead. Good luck! xx

  34. Hi Rachel
    When i work out my ideal calorie intake should this be the -200-500 calories as an everyday plan or a couple of days a week?

    1. Hi Kerrie, ideally every day. But it’s up to you! You can do it for a couple of days per week and you will definitely still lose weight, but progress might be a little slower xx

  35. Very helpful!

    3 questions:

    1- you said the resting rate = the number of calories your body would burn if you were lying in bed all day/doing nothing. But does daily life (without workouts) increase the BMR? Walking to/from the subway, around work, errands, housework, etc – seems that would add more calorie burn than “doing nothing”.

    2- Should skinny fat people focus more on calorie surplus to gain weight, or a deficit to lose the belly/fat? I’m skinny fat – biggish squishy belly, little muscle tone, skinny arms and legs. 5’8″ and almost 130lb. I am concerned that if I plan a surplus to gain muscle, I’ll just get a bigger belly, or if I plan a deficit to lose the belly, I’ll lose muscle. Confused!

    3- my exercise varies between low and moderate/high intensity, but my schedule is pretty inconsistent. Should I target the same # of calories per day and assume an average level of activity, or should I be changing my calorie intake up or down based on whether its an active or less active day?


    1. Hi hun! To answer your questions:
      1. Daily life won’t increase your BMR, but it will increase your Total Energy Expenditure. So this is why in step 2, you will multiply your BMR by your activity level. I hope that makes sense.
      2. No if you’re skinny fat, I would still focus on a deficit to lose weight. Your deficit perhaps doesn’t need to be 500 calories, it can be less, depending on how much weight you want to lose. You can still gain muscle on a calorie deficit.
      3. I would aim for the same number of calories per day as an average. However if you do have a really hard day with a super intense workout (or 2 workouts), you can definitely eat a bit more. And then if you have a really lazy day just chilling out at home or something like that, you can reduce it.
      Good luck! xx

  36. Hy Rachael! I am exercising usually 5 times/week, but usually 1-2 times are jogging or low intensity activities. Should I consider myself in the 3-5 days moderate level or in the 1-3 days level? I walk a lot since I am living in campus and there are long distances between dorm and labs. :p Hope it counts lol xd
    However, I got the calories for weight loss for both cases with 500 kcal deficit and I got 1550 kcal or 1350 kcal/day. It is not too much for weight loss?
    What do you recommend for slimming down my legs?

  37. Hi!! I’m 52 kg and 5 ft 1inches I wanna loose weight to 40 kg .how many calorie should I intake to do so.

    1. Hi Reshma, it’s very hard for me to give this estimation because it also depends on your age and activity level. 40kgs sounds very light, but then again, I don’t know your body type. You can use the calculations in this blog post to estimate your calorie intake xx

    1. Hi Madina, if you’re trying to lose weight, higher calorie days would just be your total energy expenditure (so you’re not at a calorie deficit). If you’re not trying to lose weight, you would just add around 500 calories to your total energy expenditure xx

  38. Hi racheal I am skinny girl on 48kg I did 6 times per week exercises and my goal is to lose belly fat and lean muscle but my abs still it is not flat also I eat healthy and clean can you help me whats wrong

    1. Hi hun, I would say that the main issue for you might be under eating (but I can’t be sure without more detail). Also often people think that what they’re eating is healthy (i.e. cereal, juice, etc), but it’s really not. Have a read of my clean eating guidelines and how to calculate your daily calorie intake to give you an idea on how much you should be eating, and try to work on your nutrition! Also make sure you are incorporating some type of circuit / resistance training into your workouts xx

      1. Thanks alot baby ..I would read your post on clean diet and I hope will work me the new plans ..lets say ur full motivation for me all the time thanks again lots of love …

        1. My training like this (full body weighy training 3 days -HIIT 2days -walking around 1 hour 1day) and my body taype ectomorph skinny fat am I right or you recommended me to change this plan

  39. Hi Rachael,

    First of all, I love your blog and appreciate your articles on fitness and nutrition- they e been a huge help to me!

    I’ve been training for 9 months now and have seen lots of improvement. Im one of those “skinny fat” girls who have always been small/skinny but never toned. I’ve managed to gain some muscle definition by doing 4x hiit sessions per week along with 1x yoga class and 1 (sometimes 2) weight sessions.

    I’m currently around 48kg and am 163cm. I’ve been monitoring my calorie intake which has been around the 2000/2100 cal mark (based on your formula my intake is around 2119cals) and have been aiming for a macro diet of 40% carbs, 30% fat & 30% protein.

    I don’t really want to get any smaller in weight and in fact would like to gain more weight (around 50kg) through muscle gain

    My questions is should I be aiming for a surplus calorie intake or deficit o achieve my goal?

    Would love your advice please!

    Lei xxx

    1. Hi Lei,

      Congratulations on all of your hard work! I’m sure it is paying off :) I would suggest eating at maintenance level or slightly above (in a surplus) if your aim is to gain muscle. All the best! xxx

  40. Hi, I’ve worked out that I should be consuming 1950 calories a day and that is with the 400 calorie deficit. I’m 17, 5 ft 5, 165cm, and workout around 5/6 times a week. But this still seems a lot of calories? Don’t want to follow it if I’m just going to gain weight when I want to lose fat and tone up! Would you recommend following what it says or lower calories to a little less that that? Also worried about my calorie deficit being too much!

  41. Hi Rachel!

    I just found your blog and have been scrolling through so many posts – thank you so much for all the great info! I am prepping to start eating better and working out more, and the calorie info in this post is awesome! I just have a quick question when I do the formula and calculate my calories for the day (BMR x 1.5 = 1848 calories/day) then if I do the deficit (1848 – 500 = 1348), I’m just confused if I should be eating 1848 calories per day and getting to a deficit from doing exercise so I come down to 1348 calories, or do I consume 1384 calories per day and then exercise? Not sure if that makes sense! Thanks so much!!!!

    1. Hi Ann, yes this makes sense :) So you should be eating 1348 calories and exercising. However, smaller calorie deficits (i.e. 200 or 300 calories) would also work. 500 calories is the most extreme that you would want to go. So if you would like to start at a smaller calorie deficit (so you are eating around 1548 to 1648 calories per day) this would also be fine! :) xx

  42. Hi Rachael,
    im Giorgia and im italian so im sorry for my english. I am 1.60 for 57kg and i do a good diet and i also do exercises 5 times a week. I dont understand why im not able to loose other weight. :(
    sometimes i would like to let it go.
    i hope you will answer me.

    1. Hi Giorgia,
      This is Rachael (have to login through my boyfriend’s account as having issues). I’m sorry to hear this. It could be from a number of different reasons – you could be eating too much food or too little or the wrong types of food for your body type, you need to be doing a combination of both cardio and strength training to get good results, you need to be consistent, plus other things like getting enough rest, sleep, reducing your stress and ensuring your hormones are working properly. It’s hard for me to give one answer because it could be many many things. Have a read of all of my other blog posts relating to weight loss and this may help you. All the best xx

  43. Hi Rachael,
    I train 6 days a week (both morning and night) for taekwondo for sessions from 1 1/2 hours to 2 1/2 hours everyday. I’m 55kgs and last time i did my BMI i got a result of 18.5% (that as 6 months ago at 57kgs). i eat around 1200 calories most days and try to balance my diet and usually calorie count. I am struggling though because i have quit a lot of fat on me around my arms and all in my stomach, i have lean muscular legs but i can’t get rid of the fat in my stomach.
    I have been struggling with my weight for around 4 years (I’m 17) and I want to get down to 53kgs for my weight category for competition.
    I have tried nutritionists and paleo and high carb and cutting things out but nothing works.
    What would you suggest that i should do to start to get rid of the excess fat?
    Portia xxx

    1. Hi Peta,
      This is Rachael (have to login through my boyfriend’s account as having issues). I’ll send you an email to respond xx

  44. oh I forgot to mention that!
    At the moment I weigh 149 lbs / 67.7 kg and I am 5’6″ / 168 cm tall. My weight before I had the insulin problem was at ca. 58 kg!

  45. Hi Rachael,

    I’m 16 years old and my BMR is around 1500kcal. I do triathlon and play tennis and I have recently started to do more HIIT.
    I became insulin resistent due to eating too much fruit and honey, so I really have to watch my sugar intake. In the past year I lost almost half of the weight that I gained from the insulin resistance, but I am worried that I’m not eating enough. I have also lost my period (once it was gone for more than a year when I was about 14, then it was regular again but now I haven’t had it since september). When I don’t work out, which is usually once or twice a week or when I’m sick, I eat around 1200-1300 kcal. When I do workout, I eat around 1500-2000kcal, depending on the length of the workout and how many calories I burn.
    I haven’t been able to workout for pretty much 3 weeks due to a cold (I live in Pittsburgh so it gets very cold in the winter) but I managed not to gain weight.
    Do you think I am not eating enough? I am worried about my period and if I’m not fueling my body enough.
    sorry for the long comment, but I hope you’ll reply! your instagram account is always a great inspiration, I’m working toward getting a body like you!

    1. Hi Elena,
      It’s a bit hard to comment without knowing your weight and height. However, if you have lost your period, it is highly likely that something has gone wrong and you are possibly eating too less. I would recommend seeing a doctor about that hun. When you workout perhaps try to eat closer to 2000 than 1500 calories. Also on your rest days, you can eat similar to your workouts days (or at least 1500). I hope you work things out! Don’t forget to seek professional advice for your menstrual issues. PS thank you for all of your support :) xx

  46. Hi Rachael,
    I have a quick question for you. I am 5’1 and currently 118 pounds. I lost weight last year by eating only 1,000 calories per day and I lost my period. I finally reached my goal weight of 110 pounds and then had to go back up to 118. Do you think if I eat healthy foods and workout I can lose weight without losing my period?

    1. Hi Karli! Eating 1000 calories per day will definitely see you lose weight but does have negative side effects such as messing with your menstrual cycle and in the long term may affect your fertility. You can definitely lose weight by eating a bit more and exercising. Just make sure you’re doing both cardio, weights and HIIT, eating mostly healthy foods and being consistent and you will see results! x

  47. Hi Rachael! I am so glad I found your page on instagram! Your blog has been so helpful and It’s nice to read about your daily workout and diet, thank you! :) I look forward to reading the rest of your entries. Is this calculation suppose to help you lose, maintain, or gain weight? I am 120lb, 5’5″, 28 years young. I am not really trying to lose weight but I want to be tone…i want a flat tummy…I want to look like you! :) I hold fat around my midsection. My nutritionist and according to MyFitnessPal, i should be consuming about 1500 cal per day, but the formula above states i should be consuming 1900. I have been sticking to about 1100-1300 cals a day. How will I know if I’m not eating enough? I often full satisfied and full with food choices and I do see improvement with my body ever since i started my workout program. Any help, tips or advice will help! I’m a little worried that i’m not fueling my body enough.

    1. The calculations are to help you lose weight. If you’re eating at a calorie deficit, you will lose weight. Did your nutritionist say you need to eat 1500 calories per day for maintenance or weight loss? And is the 1900 calories you worked out for maintenance, or did you subtract the 500 calories to be in a deficit? I would definitely go by what your nutritionist has recommended! I think 1100-1300 sounds too low, but it depends on what your basal metabolic rate and exercise level is… If your nutritionist has recommended 1500 calories then I would stick to that x

  48. Hi Rachael, this is so so helpful, thank you!
    Just a quick question, is there a percentage of your carb intake that you should limit to sugars? Like, I worked out I should be eating around 160g of carbs and when I put my macros into my fitness pal it told me I should only eat around 40g of sugar, but a few pieces of fruit and I go over this! I know my fitness pal isn’t always the most accurate, and fruit is good sugar, but wondered if this may stop me seeing the best results?
    Thanks! xx

    1. Hi Jenny,
      You’re welcome :) You’re right, myfitnesspal isn’t the greatest. Fruit is high in sugar so I would try to limit to around 2-3 pieces per day (I usually have this amount). But as long as you’ve got your carb intake right and are also including healthy carbs from wholegrains, this shouldn’t matter too much xx

  49. Hi Rachael, thank you for your response, I would like to ask you two questions:
    1) I love so much fruits, but, calculating my macronutrients I have verified that I can take in a particular percentage of it, because of carbs and sugar. The question is: can I, sometimes, eat only fruits? I have some problems with my diet and I can’t control myself, when I allow myself to eat something that I really like, so I’ve thought that I could devote one day to eat what I love without restrain myself.
    I’m a bit worried about this, because I wold take in 90% carbs, 6% pro and 0% fats once per week, or, if I can, more infrequently. Will I gain weight in this way, or ruin my strain?
    2) How many times can I go out to eat with my friends? What about once or twice per month?

    1. Hi Giulia,
      I would advise not to eat just fruits for an entire day. That is a lot of carbs and sugar and very little protein and fat. You can definitely increase your carb intake on some days and on these days you can eat lots of fruit, but I would still try to eat some good protein and fat as well. Also, I try to go out to eat with my friends about once per week and I think this would be fine. However, there are often healthy options at most places so if you stick to healthy options then you may be able to go out more. But it is very tempting to order something different and skip the healthy options! It’s up to you :) x

  50. Hi my dear,
    Sorry I didn´t find a better way to contact you, I really hope you can answer back on my email address. That would be so great!

    First of all, I love your Instagram Account!Really a great motivation.I have a few questions and would be soooo happy if you could answer them for me.
    I am 22 years old, 51 kg and 160 cm tall. I would like to lose some weight I want to have a body like yours. Especially my belly doesn´t look like i want it. I want to be lean and have great abs like you. So how does your daily food look like?What do you eat in the morning, snack, afternoon etc?
    2. how does your workout routine look like?
    3.Do you eat candy sometimes?
    4. Do you eat dried fruits and how many?
    5. Do you think I can achieve a great body withouth lifting heavy weights on machines just with bodyweight training and small weights like 5 kg?
    6. how many times a week do you do cardio?
    7. What was the “key” do your great body?
    8. What do you tihnk about protein shakes?Will I gain weight by drinking protein shakes? Would you recommend them? Also do you drink them on rest days or “just cardio”days as well or only on restistance training days?
    9. How did your body change after starting to drink protein shakes?
    10. I am sooo scared to gain weight/fat by eating more then I do now :( I am really afraid to eat in the evening I have no idea what to do, do you think I can lose weight by just eating like 2 big meals and then a snack and after workout a shake and no dinner?

    I hope you don´t mind that I asked so many questions :)

    I am very desperate right now because I eat quite healthy, work out 6 times a week. Go for long runs etc but still don´t look like I would like to look like :( …

    Lots of love


    1. Hi Annalena,
      Wow thank you for your comment! I’m sure lots of people would also like to know the answer to these questions. So I will answer all of your questions in a Q&A blog post next week :) xx

      1. Hi there!

        Just found your blog, and I started reading everything! I think I’ve been on here for a few hours…oops!
        Just had a few questions, hope you can answer them.

        I’ve had a really hard time with my body. I used to be a swimmer + water polo player. I got a shoulder injury, after which I couldn’t continue. Then, I began my “fitness” journey. I had just cardio months, stopping everything, then eating 1,000 calories a day, then binging, I had personal trainers, stopped that because I hated the diet and workouts they game me (no results). I have an hour glass shaped body, but a bit more to the athletic side. My problem areas are my thighs (the bulk up really quickly, even after 2 gym session, or as I like to call it “swells up”) and I have a small muffin top. Whenever I gain wait, I can always tell by my thighs. My butt gets bigger too, and people tell me I’m lucky?

        Anyways, currently I’ve been going to the gym. I don’t really connect with the trainer, and it’s just so expensive. Currently, I eat around 1,200 calories. I am 167cm, and I weigh 60-61kg. My goal is 55.

        I’ve been thinking about purchasing your Ebook. However, I’m mostly a vegetarian, but I’ll eat fish sometimes. Could your guide still help me?

        As for the exercises, I will be doing those at home. What if it is raining out side, (or worse, endless snow storms) how can you do the cardio workout?
        How long (minutes) do your circuits last?
        Are there videos that I can follow along to for the entire duration of the training session?
        Are there any HIIT samples in the guide?
        Last but not least, as far as I understand, there is a workout every day (except for one– rest day)?

        I am so sorry for asking so many questions! I really hope you see this comment :D


  51. This is awesome; just the sort of info I was looking for! :D I’ve had a couple of meal plans made up for me by someone else but I’ve been wanting to work out my own for a bit of variety and to suit my different goals. Thanks so much! xo

  52. I am 1.76m and 62kg at the moment. My BMR is 1.400 kcal. I have a light activity job (multiply by 1.4-1.6), so I need to take in 1.970 kcal for a constant weight, right? Strangely, I gained weight moderately, when I ate 1.800-1.900 kcal per day while “bulking”/building muscles (and working out with heavy weights around 4 hours per week!). My body fat percentage is around 21-22% at the moment and I have a nice amount of muscles.
    I am on a diet at the moment and I lose weight at around 1.400 kcal. But I work out a loooot. I do heavy weight training around 3-4 times a week, I bike everyday 10-30 km, I jog a little 2-3 times per week (3-5 km) and I visit courses like BodyCombat and Dancing classes every now and then.
    Due to a small thyroid gland, I take L-Thyroxin pills. They regulate my metabolism, so it cannot be slowed down as a consequence of a too low calorie intake. I have my levels checked regularly, they should be fine!
    Why the heck can you eat so much?! :D I would love to eat some more because I like food a lot and it sucks to only prepare mini portions or munch on a salad daily… Please help! I want to cook and bake some more and not eat the same meal for days or weeks afterwards xD

    1. Hi Julia, if you eat 1,470 kcal you should lose weight. However, these calculations are for the average person and may not work for everyone. Because you have thyroid problems this may affect it. I eat a lot because I have a high metabolism and need to eat that much. I have been weight lifting for around 1 year and have gained a significant amount of muscle so this is probably why I can eat the way I do. I would try increasing to 1,500 kcal and try to vary your foods. Keep doing weight training and also HIIT to help boost your metabolism. If you’re still having problems, it might be worth talking to a doctor or nutritionist xx

  53. Hi, I have calculated my calories and the result is: 1473 kcal, but, when I take in them, I put on weight, or I swell up. Why?

    1. Hi Giulia, the most likely reason is because your body is not used to it. If you’ve been surviving on a low carb diet for a long period, your body will be used to this and switching to a higher carb diet will cause your body to store fat. If this is the case, you have actually damaged your metabolism. The best thing to do would be to slowly increase your carb intake. For example, if you’re currently eating about 100g of carbs, next week try 110g and see how that goes for a week or two, then increase to 120g, etc x

      1. Hi Rachel, I just recently found your blog and have been trying to figure out what I should do. Your comment to this person makes me wonder if I have damaged my metabolism as well. I eat very low carb during the week and then eat whatever I want on the weekends. Does having the cheat days make up for the carb restriction during the week and kind of even out..or can you still damage your metabolism this way?

        1. Hi Jennifer, hmm it depends how severely you restrict yourself in the week. It does kind of balance out a bit if you overeat on the weekend, but this is not a good habit to be in (I’ve done this before myself). It’s better to be more consistent and allow yourself a little bit more food during the week so you don’t want to eat everything on the weekend! xx

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