How to Calculate Appropriate Calories Per Day

Daily caloric intake should provide enough energy for your body to function when it is at rest, digesting food and performing physical activity. To maintain your weight, you must consume no more or fewer calories than your body burns each day through exercise and basic functioning. Estimate the number of calories your body needs each day with a simple calculation, then keep a food diary to record your daily caloric intake and ensure that you do not go over or under your needs. If you find yourself gaining or losing weight, adjust your daily caloric intake accordingly.

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Calculate Basal Metabolic Rate for Women

Step 1

Weigh yourself and measure your height. For the most accurate weight measurement, weigh yourself first thing in the morning. Record your weight in pounds and your height in inches.

Step 2

Multiply your weight in pounds by 4.35.

Step 3

Multiply your height in inches by 4.7.

Step 4

Multiply your age in years by 4.7.

Step 5

Add the numbers you got in steps 3 and 4 and subtract the number you got in step 5. Add the resulting number to 655 to get your basal metabolic rate. For example, if you are 23 years old, weigh 120 pounds and measure 5 feet 7 inches tall, you have a basal metabolic rate of 1,383. Your BMR equals the number of calories you burn each day through basic functions.

Calculate Basal Metabolic Rate for Men

Step 1

Weigh yourself and measure your height. For the most accurate weight measurement, weigh yourself first thing in the morning. Record your weight in pounds and your height in inches.

Step 2

Multiply your weight in pounds by 6.23.

Step 3

Multiply your height in inches by 12.7

Step 4

Multiply your age in years by 6.8.

Step 5

Add the numbers you got in steps 3 and 4 and subtract the number you got in step 5. Add the resulting number to 66 to get your basal metabolic rate. For example, if you are 23 years old, weigh 160 pounds and measure 6 feet tall, you have a basal metabolic rate of 1,820. Your BMR equals the number of calories you burn each day through basic functions.

Multiply BMR by Activity Factor

Step 1

Write down the average number of days on which you get aerobic exercise, or keep an exercise journal for a week.

Step 2

Multiply your BMR by 1.2 if you get little or no exercise. Multiply your BMI by 1.375 if you perform light exercise on one to three days each week. Multiply your BMR by 1.55 if you get moderate exercise on three to five days each week. Multiply your BMR by 1.725 if you get vigorous exercise on six to seven days each week. Multiply your BMR by 1.9 if you get vigorous exercise every day and sometimes twice a day.

Step 3

Round the number you got in step 2 to the nearest 50 calories. This number represents an estimate of the number of calories you should eat each day to maintain your weight. For example, if you are male, 23 years old, weigh 160 pounds, measure 6 feet tall and get moderate exercise on three to five days a week, you should consume about 2,821 calories daily. If you are female, 23 years old, weigh 120 pounds, measure 5 feet, 7 inches tall and get moderate exercise on three to five days each week, you should consume about 2,144 calories daily.

Tip

Check your calculations with an online caloric needs calculator.

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