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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

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

  • Aliona says:

    Hello! What about fasting days (500 Cal) and Carb Cycling? Is it good or bad for metabolism?

    • Diana - Lean Legs Support says:

      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.

      Love,
      Diana
      xx

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