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Work out your calorie target for weight loss in seconds with this easy-to-use, accurate calculator
In order to lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit. That means, you need to be eating fewer calories than you use on a daily basis, over a long period of time.
This calculator will help you estimate the number of calories you need to eat each day in order to produce weight loss. It’s important to appreciate that this number is just an estimate, a starting point if you like.
It’s not guaranteed to be 100% correct, so in order to ensure that you’re losing weight at an optimal rate, you should be monitoring your weight, calorie intake and activity on a daily basis.
WHAT IS A CALORIE DEFICIT?
A calorie deficit is a state where you’re consistently eating fewer calories than you on a daily basis. This results in weight loss because the body is not getting enough energy (calories) it needs to perform all its daily activities, so it starts to tap into stored body fat to provide that energy. As body fat is used, overall body weight begins to drop. The rate of loss depends on how much of a calorie deficit you’re in.
In order to lose a pound of body fat (around half a Kilo), you’ll need to be in a deficit of approximately 3,500 calories. Over the course of a week, that means being in a deficit of 500 calories per day. That means, if you maintain your weight by eating 2,000 calories a day (on average), then you’ll need to eat 1,500 calories a day (on average).
If you can maintain that for a month, you’ll lose around 4lbs (2kg), and over 6 months, you’ll lose 20lbs (9kg). It’s important to highlight however that as you lose weight, your metabolism will decrease, so the number of calories you maintain your weight at might drop to 1,900 calories (for example), so to maintain a calorie deficit of 500 per day, you’d need to be eating 1,400 calories per day.
HOW DOES THE CALCULATOR WORK?
The calculator is based on a number of different physical attributes. Below is a list of each attribute and how it affects your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE).
Men tend to have a higher muscle mass than women. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, meaning men tend to have a higher metabolism than women. That’s not to say ALL men have higher metabolisms than women, all else being equal, if a woman has more muscle mass than a man, her metabolism will likely be higher
We tend to lose muscle mass as we age, This is partly because we become more sedentary as we age, but also because of a process called sarcopenia which can accelerate muscle loss after age 60.
Your current weight is the number biggest determining factor in the number of calories you use per day, and it makes perfect sense. The heavier you are, the higher your metabolism will be, because it takes more energy to move a heavier body around. As you lose weight, your metabolism will decrease.
While taller people generally burn more calories at rest than shorter people, shorter people tend to burn more calories through activity, since it take them more effort to move around
Activity level is the main aspect of metabolism you have control over. The more you move, and the more intense that movement is, the more calories you’ll burn.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?
Now you have your calorie deficit number, you need to stick to that number on a daily basis for a period of 2 weeks. Monitor your weight every day for that two-week period, keep your activity the same each day, and test if your weight goes down.
If it does, congratulations, you’re in a calorie deficit! Stick to the same calories and activity levels and you’ll continue to lose weight.
If not subtract another 5% from that number, and try again.
TIPS FOR STAYING IN A CALORIE DEFICIT
Of course, you know you need to be in a calorie deficit, and now you know how to get into a deficit, but that’s the easy part, the tricky part is sticking to a deficit consistently over long periods of time.
And unless you only want to lose a couple of pounds, that means being in a deficit for months, potentially 12 months plus and while that’s not a long period of time in the grand scheme of things, when you’re in the day-to-day grind, it can be difficult.
So, how can you maintain it long-term;
- Pick The Right Foods
No, there are no ‘calorie deficit foods’ but there are foods that will make sticking to a calorie deficit easier. In short, these are foods that are high in protein e.g.
- Red Meat
And foods that are relatively low calorie, and high-fibre e.g.
- Any veg
- Any fruit
If you make these foods the cornerstone of your diet, you’ll stay full and satiated, and you’ll find it much easier to stick to your calorie target.
2. Keep Activity High
Exercise is important for weight loss, but it’s not the be-all and end-all. Sustainable exercise is key, and for most people, that means a minimum of 30 minutes of walking per day.
Having a step target that you stick to no matter what is vital.
3. Keep Accountable
You either need to be accountable to yourself, or accountable to a coach. If you don’t hold yourself to account then you’ll have no motivation to keep on track.
This means keeping track of your numbers, that is body weight, calorie intake, and activity levels.
4. Have a Clear Goal
If you don’t have an end goal weight, and a reason in mind, you’re going to find it hard to keep motivation high.
An example of a good goal might be – “I want to lose 10kg in the next 6 months so I can look good in a fitted suit at my brother’s wedding”