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How to Calculate Calories to Lose Weight & Reach Goals

by
author image Aubri John
Aubri John has been a contributing researcher and writer to online physical and mental health oriented journals since 2005. John publishes online health and fitness articles that coincide with her licensed clinical skills in addictions, psychology and medical care. She has a master's degree in clinical social work and a Ph.D. in health psychology.
How to Calculate Calories to Lose Weight & Reach Goals
A woman is riding her bike outside. Photo Credit aaron_belford/iStock/Getty Images

The body that you have compared to the body you want might vary by a few to many pounds. Calories are the key to weight loss. In order to lose weekly weight you must make daily sacrifices like cutting calories from food and burning more calories with exercise. Accomplish your ideal physique by being realistic about your capabilities while also setting healthy and achievable weight-loss goals. Begin your weight-loss journey by calculating the calories you need to give up each day in order to reach your final goal.

Step 1

Multiply your weight by your activity level to estimate your daily caloric needs for maintaining normal bodily functions and current weight. Before you can reduce your calorie intake you have to know what it takes per day to function. If you are an active man multiply your weight by 15 but if you are inactive multiply by 13. If you are an active women multiply your weight by 12 but if you are inactive multiply by 10.

Step 2

Subtract 500 or 1,000 from your calories needed to maintain current weight. Lose 1 to 2 lbs. per week by reducing your calorie intake by 500 to 1,000 per day. For example, if you require 2,000 calories per day but want to lose 1 lb. per week you must limit your daily calorie intake to 1,500.

Step 3

Create a specific long-term weight-loss goal, your method for achieving the goal and short-term tasks you need to accomplish to meet that goal. Record your goal and tasks in a food and fitness journal to keep track of your success. Medical professionals recommend losing no more than 2 lbs. a week but you should consult your physician for specifics based on your health.

Step 4

Count calories consumed per day. Foods containing carbohydrates, protein or fat are sources of calories. For every 1 g of carbohydrate or protein you consume you also take in 4 calories. For every 1 g of fat you consume you take in 9 calories and for every 1 g of alcohol you consume you take in 7 calories. Check nutrition facts labels for calories per serving size of the foods you eat and write you food calories down in the journal to keep track.

Step 5

Count calories you burn from exercise each day. You can burn 100 to 500 calories every day by engaging in at least 30 minutes of exercise. Double what you burn by working out for a full hour. Go for a daily walk, take a kickboxing class, ride a bike or try various cardio machines at the gym to boost your daily calorie burn.

Step 6

Total your calories consumed and calories burned from exercise and record the result in your journal. At the end of each day calculate your calories consumed from food and the calories you burned with exercise. The total should not exceed your daily goal for calorie intake. If you take in more calories than intended, you might need to change your food consumption, reduce your portions or add more exercise.

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GOAL
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
GENDER
  • Female
  • Male
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