How many calories should you eat per day to lose weight?

I wrote this blog post for Body & Soul Australia.

Click here to read the article there!


My Original Blog Post

It is human physiology 101 that in order to lose weight, we must first focus on reducing our calorie consumption so that it is less than what our bodies burn in a day, ie, we need to consume a calorie deficit.

Firstly, what are calories?

A calorie is a unit that measures energy. They’re usually used to measure the energy content of foods and beverages.

How many calories you should eat in a day to lose weight?

To create a calorie deficit, you first need to work out the number of calories your body will likely burn per day (often called your estimated energy expenditure). For the average woman, it’s 2000 and for the average man, it’s 2500. So, for weight maintenance this is the number of calories they would aim to consume per day for this.

For a weight loss of approximately 0.5 kilos a week (an amount that I recommend to be a safe, long term amount to lose per week), this number is multiplied by 0.75 to give you a number that is 75% of your estimated energy expenditure. So, for this average woman and man, it would be 1500 and 2000 calories respectively.

So, how do you know yours?

Everyone’s estimated energy expenditure is so different. Factors that affect how many calories YOU will burn in a day depends on your height, age, weight, activity level, gender and many more.

There are many calorie calculators that are available online where you can enter in all of your personal details to work out your estimated amount of calories burnt per day, however, lots are inaccurate! You want to look for one that is formed using the Mifflin-St. Jeor equation, a formula that has been shown to be a fairly accurate way of estimating calorie needs in numerous studies.

There is one of those here


Please remember that this is still an estimation. If you want to lose weight and you’ve never considered looking at calories before, I suggest that you use your estimated intake as a guide and then use a food tracker app to help you log your calories to stay at or under this number.

Research shows that people who log calories lose more weight and are likelier to keep the weight off in the long run.

Some of my favourite apps that help you do this are MyFitnessPal, Lose it and FatSecret.

Once you do this for a while, monitor your progress and adjust accordingly – the calculator may be wrong! No one knows your body better than you, so it can take some trial and error.

Still see no results after doing this?

It’s so important to remember that weight loss can be a difficult journey for some and I strongly recommend that you work with me to help you reach your goals.

Please also keep in mind though that the quality of the calories you consume counts just as much as the number. What I mean by this is that you want your calories to be nutrients from whole-foods such as fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds as these will nourish and support your overall health, not calories from processed junk foods with little nutritional value such as candy, chips and crackers!

If you would like me to take the guesswork out for you and help you meet your own calorie goals whilst meeting your nutrition needs, please see my Personalised Meal Plans!