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How Many Calories Do I Need to Maintain My Current Weight?

author image Erin Coleman, R.D., L.D.
Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in dietetics and has extensive experience working as a health writer and health educator. Her articles are published on various health, nutrition and fitness websites.
How Many Calories Do I Need to Maintain My Current Weight?
Man's feet on bathroom scale Photo Credit: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

Weight maintenance is a good goal if your body mass index, or BMI, falls within a normal, healthy range of 18.5 to 24.9, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Determine your BMI by multiplying 703 by your weight in pounds, dividing that number by your height in inches and dividing by your height in inches once again. Your calorie needs for weight maintenance are based on your gender, age, activity level and current body weight.

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Calories per Pound

The more active you are, the more calories – per pound of your body weight – you require to maintain your weight. Harvard Medical School reports that inactive adults need about 13 calories per pound of their body weight daily, moderately active individuals require 16 calories per pound and active adults need about 18 calories per pound. Athletes may require additional calories. For example, a 175-pound, moderately active man needs about 2,800 calories daily, while a moderately active, 125-pound woman requires approximately 2,000 calories a day to maintain her weight.

Male General Requirements

In general, adults require fewer and fewer calories as they age, due to lower metabolisms – which are associated in part with decreases in lean body mass. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 estimates that adult men need 2,400 to 3,000 calories when they are 19 to 30 years old, 2,200 to 3,000 calories daily when they are ages 31 to 50 and 2,000 to 2,800 calories a day if they are over age 50. Active adults often have energy needs within the higher end of these general calorie ranges.

Female General Requirements

Because women are generally smaller and have less lean body mass than men, their calorie needs for weight maintenance are usually lower as well. Women ages 19 to 30 generally require 1,800 to 2,400 calories a day, females ages 31 to 50 need about 1,800 to 2,200 calories and women over age 50 usually require about 1,600 to 2,200 calories a day to maintain healthy body weights, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010.

Individualized Needs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Daily Food Plan is a resource that helps you determine your individualized calorie needs for weight maintenance. This tool uses information such as your age, gender, height, current weight and activity level to estimate your daily requirements. Using this resource as a guide, a 35-year-old, moderately active, 5-foot-5 woman weighing 130 pounds needs about 2,200 calories per day to maintain her weight.

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