How many calories a day to lose weight?

This is probably the most famous question when it comes to losing weight. You know, this is also some conversation that I avoid getting myself into, but it’s quite challenging when it comes to what I do. To cut a long story short, losing weight has a very simple formula, do you want to know the formula?

Formula for weight loss = More calories out and fewer calories in. In other words, burn more than you eat. It’s as simple as that, but then we get the next question follows, ” so how many calories should I eat in a day then” See it can be quite simple but not so easy. As a healthy lifestyle coach, health is first priority and losing or gaining weight must be a secondary focus. This can be a lengthy discussion so let’s look at a few basics to focus on when you think about your calorie budget. Let’s start with BMR….

What is BMR?

Basal Metabolic Rate or resting rate. In simple terms the amount of calories your body needs in a 24-hour period doing no activity, or at rest. I really don’t want to get too technical here and rather want to keep it as simple as possible.

So now you are asking: ”How do I get to this number?”.. Yes, I will get to this a little further below, but first, let’s talk about this number.

Why is this number important?

In my opinion this is such a crucial number. I guess you need to know your limits. If you ask “How many calories should I eat to lose weight?”, then this number is soooo relevant. Your age also has an impact on this number, because your BMR lowers as you age according to studies.

It’s a good idea to get yourself into an active routine if you want to increase this number. The higher this number, the more you can eat…. but wait, I need to be very careful how I put this. Let’s say your BMR is 1500 cal vs a person of the same age and sex as you are, whose BMR is 1800 cal. That person can eat 300 Cal more than you can at rest without the worry of gaining weight. Make sense or not really?

Let’s take another analogy just to be safe. Okay, so let’s say you have 1500 calories in your calorie bank vs the other person with 1800 calories. Both of you gets a plate of food and a drink which is about 1500 cal. Eating the food will be like a withdrawal out of both your calorie bank accounts. You are following me here hey?

After this withdrawal, you will have no calories left but the other person will be left with 300 cal…. get it? So the higher this number, the more you can withdraw or nicely put, the more you can eat. I hope you got it now, leave a comment below.

Cut out carbs to lower calorie intake, YES or NO?

Another sad story… This is what I often get when working with clients. “I want to cut out carbs completely” or ”I heard that carbs are bad” on and on it goes about carbs……. So YES, cut or lower the “bad carbs” and NO, not all carbs are equal.

Carbs, short for carbohydrates as you may know, is just a fancy name for sugar, and not all sugars are bad. Carbohydrates is the body’s main fuel source. The brain cannot function without it. So to bring this into context with the question, how many calories to eat in a day?

Cutting out bad carbohydrates will definitely reduce your energy or caloric intake. Not so long ago, one would have to work a week to be able to afford 1000 cal, today you can get 1000 cal just with the earnings of an hourly rate. I guess it’s not a bad idea to watch the fuel you put into your “tank”. Have more complex carbohydrates like fruit and vegetables on your plate than simple carbs, like pastries, sweets etc.

Breakfast is part of the deal

The importance of breakfast is a discussion and topic all on its own, but I just want to add this in because people tend to miss out on this. Skipping breakfast to save on calories or for whatever reason is SO WRONG. No wonder experts say that this is the most important meal of the day, Why?

This meal “jump starts” your metabolic engine, which means that this meal can either Make or Break you day. Let me give it to you again in simpler words. When you sleep, your body doesn’t need the same amount of energy as when you are awake, so it’s slows down your “metabolic engine”.

Then, when you wake, it increases the engine power so it needs more fuel. If you take too long to eat after waking up, the brain just shouts to lower the engine power as a safety precaution for the body.

Now the body uses less energy, almost the same amount as when you were sleeping. This is when the body craves for sugar to get that energy fix. When you decide to eat then, the body naturally stores more than it will burn resulting in slower fat loss or no fat loss at all.

I’m not in the counting calories game and I don’t like Complicated, or to complicate things, but I must emphasize that it is very important to measure your foods especially when you start off. Another tip is to read your food labels especially serving sizes.

Commercial breakfasts is not on my menu and my whole family starts their day off with a healthy smoothy or shake, whatever you feel comfortable calling it. Healthy smoothies has made my life easier for the last almost 20 years to be exact.

To get lower calories for maximum nutrition is not as easy as one might think, so I choose a shake mix that gives me this balance. I’m very picky when it comes to food or anything going down my throat. Look out for my next post then I will give you nice ideas for breakfast smoothies.

So what is the amount of calories to eat in a day?

Okay here is quite a bit of info, but let’s recap and put it all nicely together. Firstly, it’s good to know you BMR, Basal Metabolic Rate or resting rate. Here is a BMR calculator you can use to determine you BMR. I did not use it myself but I thought I would save you the time to look for one. There are many other ways you can get it. I use a Body Impedence Meter (fancy scale) for my clients.

As I mentioned previously, to measure your foods and keep a log, especially in the starting phase is important, this will help you a great deal if you need to troubleshoot. Find out your energy expenditure. For example, if you take a 110-pound (50kg) person who plays tennis for an hour, he will burn about 525 calories. But someone who weighs 175 pounds (80kg) will burn more than 850 calories during that same hour.

I always say to people that when it comes to losing weight, it’s a simple formula, but a healthy lifestyle and fat loss, needs a little more planning.

To ask how many calories to eat in a day, you need to take into account how active you are. A person who sits behind a desk the whole day and don’t exercise will need way fewer calories than a person who has a very active job.

So to put it all into perspective, how many calories to eat in a day, you should know that 40% of your daily diet should come from carbohydrates, 30% from protein and 30% from healthy fats. But to take it slightly further and break it down more, let’s say you are a female who needs to eat 1500 calories a day. 1500 x 40% = 600 Calories for Carbs. 1gram of carbs = 4 calories, so 600 / 4 calories = 150 grams. I hope this will help you. I leave you to work out the rest, so do the same with protein and fats.

I look forward to your comments.

Stay awesome,


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