The idea is we have to know how many calories we can burn in a day (So-called TDEE, I’ll explain it later), and create a calorie deficit to lose weight by eating right. For every 3500 calories we cut, we should lose a pound. It usually takes at least two weeks to see the results.

How many calories we can burn daily? Based on our gender, age, height, weight and physical activities, it differs from person to person.

  • BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) is the calories required to keep our body functioning at rest. This is the minimum calories a person needs in a day. Please keep in mind, no matter how serious the diet plan you have, you must have this minimum calories per day.

We can estimate our BMR by using the formulas:

Women: 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)

Men: 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years)

(1 feet=12 inches)

After seeing these formulas, you might wonder where the physical activity factor goes. Don’t worry, we’re half way there. Now take a look at this chart:

Based on the description upon, you’ll know what physical activity level you’re in. Take this number on the right and multiple it back to BMR that you just calculated earlier. Boom! Now the number is called TDEE.

  • TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) is an estimation of how many calories you burn per day when exercise is taken into account.

The next step is to think about your goal to decide either to eat enough/less/more of food in order to maintain/cut /gain weight.

Finally, you should have a number that’s the estimation of the calories you need per day to meet your goal.

Take a look at the example:

I’m a 20 yr-old PCC student, female, working part time as a cashier and I go to practice paddling twice a week. I’m 5’3” and weigh 160 lbs. How many calories I need per day to lose weight?

BMR= 655 + (4.35 x 160) + [4.7 x (5*12+3) ] – (4.7 x 20)

= 655 +  696     +  296.1        – 94

= 1553.1 kcal

Based on the chart, my physical activity level might be between light and moderate, so the number I need to multiple is between 1.3~1.55, let’s pick 1.4. Therefore my TDEE= 1553.1 x 1.4 ≒ 2174 kcal

My goal is to lose weight, so theoretically I should eat 2174-(300~500) kcal everyday, which is around 1874~1674 kcal.

Now, you probably understand how many calories you should intake daily in order to meet your goal, but here is my true reminder:

Everyone should pursue healthier lifestyle before thinking about losing weight. By healthier, I have three main general rules to share:

  1. Eat mainly foods that you’re able to see in its original shape. No process foods, no package foods. Even peanut butter, cereal or juice might claim they’re good for you, trust me, they’re not! Nothing better than the actual foods. This is the most important rule I’d strongly suggest you to follow.
  2. Get your body moving! Doing physical activities at least three times a week, for 30 minutes to an hour each time.
  3. Get at least 7 hours of sleep daily.

I highly recommend applying these three rules on a daily basis because health is the real wealth. On top of that, using the evidence based calculation to get your daily calories and pay attention to what you eat (Will release on our next article), you can be physically and mentally healthier and achieve the physical appearance you define for yourself!


How many calories do I need per day?

If you like this article and are interested in how to distribute the calories into three different major nutrients (Carbohydrates, Protein and Fats) and do your meal prep, please give us some support and we’ll see you next week!

  • Licensed Nutritionist