How To Calculate Your Daily Calorie Intake

how to calculate your daily calorie intake

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? This is how to work it all out!

Please remember that these formulas may not work for everyone but they are a pretty good indication. Also, the formulas are for females only. There are different formulas for males.

STEP 1: CALCULATE YOUR BASAL METABOLIC RATE (BMR)

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

STEP 2: CALCULATE YOUR TOTAL ENERGY EXPENDITURE (TEE)

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.

muscle toning

STEP 3: CALCULATE YOUR IDEAL CALORIE INTAKE

FAT LOSS

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, 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.

MAINTENANCE

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).

WEIGHT GAIN

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

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

Picture of Rachael

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.

114 comments on “How To Calculate Your Daily Calorie Intake”

    Ella says:

    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

      Ana - Lean Legs Support says:

      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! :)

      Love,
      Ana

    Vicky says:

    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 :)

    Vicky says:

    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

      Sara - Lean Legs Support says:

      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!:)

      Love,
      Sara

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