Recommended caloric intake depends on more than just your weight. Fortunately, a formula exists to determine daily caloric needs, using not only your weight, but also your age, height, gender and activity level.
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The Harris-Benedict Equation determines a person's basal metabolic rate, or the number of calories he needs to survive at rest. The BMR is then multiplied by a certain number depending on your activity level. The formulas might sound complicated, but there are numerous calculators online to help.
Caloric Intake to Maintain Weight
Using Resource 2, we can see that a 24-year-old male who is 6 fee 2 inches tall and weights 200 lbs. needs to consume 2,088 daily calories to survive at rest. Complete the Harris-Benedict Equation by multiplying your BMR by your relevant activity level. If you're sedentary, multiply by 1.2; lightly active, multiply by 1.375; moderately active, multiply by 1.55; extremely active, multiply by 1.725. Thus, if the 200 lb. person above is moderately active, he would need about 3,236 calories to maintain his weight, since 2088 x 1.55 = 3,236.4.
Caloric Intake to Lose Weight
To lose weight, you must expend more calories than you consume every day. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 lb. of fat is approximately 3,500 calories. To lose weight at a healthy rate of 1 lb. per week, cut 500 calories per day from your diet. Thus, the daily caloric intake of the above example is reduced to 2,739 calories.