How to Stick to Your Weight Loss Goals | Calculating Your Calorie Needs

For those like me trying to lose some weight over the summer, it is essential that you figure out your calorie needs. For the longest time I was so strict trying to eat 1,200 calories (thanks to MyFitnessPal) or less and I was so frustrated that I wasn’t seeing any progress. Luckily I was taught in one of my classes exactly how to determine your calorie needs and I’m going to share it with you.

Step 1

Figure out your BMR: Basal Metabolic Rate means the amount of energy utilized by body in physical and psychological resting rate, after a night sleep, awake without any previous physical activity post meal (10 h after last meal) & neutral environment.  (2019). BMR was explained to me like this: if you were in a coma in the hospital burning no calories other than your normal body processes (breathing, heart beating, digestion, etc.), this is the amount of calories the hospital would give you in order for your body to still perform its natural functions properly. This is the amount of calories you would need to consume if you were in bed all day and didn’t move. You should never eat less than this amount especially if you don’t want to slow your metabolism. Check the link below to calculate yours.

BMR Calculator here

Step 2

Once you figure out your BMR, you’ll need to calculate your TDEE: Total Daily Energy Expenditure. This is the amount of calories you will need to consume depending on your activity level to maintain your weight.

TDEE Calculator here

Step 3

Once you have both your BMR and TDEE calorie estimates you will then find a realistic number between those two and you will have a healthy calorie deficit which will allow you to lose weight in a healthy manner that will last!

If you want to get more specific about it you can think of things like this: 3,500 calories is equal to 1 pound, remember? So if you want you can divide that by 7 (days in a week) which would equal 500. That 500 represents the calorie deficit you need to subtract from your TDEE to lose 1 pound a week. If you want to lose 1/2 pound a week you can subtract 250 from your TDEE.

If I were to subtract 500 from my TDEE I would dip below my BMR and I don’t want to do that and I also don’t recommend that. You want to eat enough calories for your body to function properly of course but also it is really hard to consume enough nutrients if you are being too strict with your calories. That being said, if you want to lose 1 pound a week but 500 off of your TDEE is below your BMR then you can supplement with a little bit of exercise.

I wouldn’t get too obsessive over the numbers though, even if you ate between those two numbers and didn’t exercise at all you would still lose weight. The slower the progress the easier it will be for you to maintain your weight loss and your healthy habits.

I hope this was beneficial to some of you, I know that everything changed drastically for me once I learned about it. With so many fad diets and misinformation out there it is really hard to understand the right path. These are simple calculations used by professionals to determine your minimum and maximum amount of calories you should be consuming to maintain or lose weight.

To sum up this post….

  • Calculate your BMR to find the minimum amount of calories you need in order for your body to properly function
  • Calculate your TDEE to find the amount of calories needed based on your activity level to maintain your current weight.
  • Consume between those two calorie estimates to lose weight in a safe and reliable way.


A. Sampath Kumar, G. Arun Maiya, B.A. Shastry, K. Vaishali, Shubha Maiya, Shashikiran Umakanth,
Correlation between basal metabolic rate, visceral fat and insulin resistance among type 2 diabetes mellitus with peripheral neuropathy,
Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Research & Reviews,
Volume 13, Issue 1,
Pages 344-348,
ISSN 1871-4021,

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