How many calories to ingest to lose weight

Do you know how many calories you should take to lose weight?

If your goal is to lose fat, you know that calories play a key role.

It's through the caloric balance that you can gain, maintain or lose weight.

No de part as you train, if you're still over-caloric, your gym adventure isn't going to go the best way.

And no, it's not because you just use theoretically healthy foods that you're going to lose weight.

In addition, the goal is not only to lose weight, but fat, and so knowing the number of calories you need gains even more importance to achieve good results.

So let's get started.

Basal Metabolism

First of all, you need to calculate your basal metabolism.

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What is this?

Basal metabolism is the calories your body uses just to keep working.

Even if you spend the day sleeping, the body needs calories to function.

To do this calculation, we will use the Mifflin-St Jeor equation.

How many calories to ingest to lose weight

Calculate basal metabolism

There are differences in the calculation of basal metabolism between men and women, so let's present both equations.

The formulas are as follows.


(10 x Body Weight) + (6.25 x Height) – (5 x Age) + 5 = Basal Metabolism


(10 x Body Weight) + (6.25 x Height) – (5 x Age) – 161 = Basal Metabolism


Let's call Pedro to exemplify.


Pedro is six feet old, weighs 85 kg and is 25 years old.

He is determined to lose weight, and knows that eating is essential to achieve good results, so he decides to calculate how many calories he needs daily.

The account for Pedro is as follows.

(10 x 85) + (6.25 x 180) – (5 x 25) + 5

850 + 1125 – 125 + 5 = 1855

Therefore, Pedro's basal metabolism is approximately 1855 Kcal.

These are the calories your body would burn even if it stayed home all day watching movies.

However, this is only part of the story, since the more activity, the more calories are used.

Level of activity

Now that you know about how many calories your body burns at rest, it's time to add the rest.

The more active your day to day, the more calories you'll burn.

Below is the table you should use to get an approximate value of the calories you need to maintain your weight.

Level of activity Multiplier
Little or no 1,2
Take 1,375
Moderate 1,55
Intense 1,725
Maximum intensity 1.9


Use the value of your basal metabolism and multiply by the level of activity appropriate to your case.

If you go through the day doing nothing, you don't even train, your level of activity is little or no.

On the other hand, if you study or have an undemanding office job, and train between 3 and 4 times a week, the ideal will probably be the moderate level.

As for the higher levels, they are for people who not only do several intense workouts per week, but also work in a physically demanding area.


In Pedro's case, he goes to the gym four times a week, and during the day he has a typical office job.

Looking at the table, the correct calculation would be as follows:

1855 x 1.55 = 2875 Kcal

Pedro needs to ingest approximately 2875 Kcal to maintain his current weight of 85kg.

However, our goal here is not to maintain, but to lose weight.

How many calories to lose weight

Calories to lose weight

You know how many calories you need to maintain your current weight, so now it's simple.

Attention, the goal here is not only to lose weight, but to lose fat and maintain maximum muscle mass.

So what should you do?

Reduce calories, but not in excess.

Let's go one more time and get Pedro to help us.

Given that Pedro maintains his current weight by using 2875 Kcal, he will start ingesting 2675 Kcal a day to lose weight.

This is a cautious but smart approach, in which there is a reduction of only 200 Kcal daily.

The higher the initial cut, the more likely it is to lose strength, muscle mass, and have energy breaks.

Chooses to reduce between 200 and 300 Kcal in the first two weeks and then evaluates the results.


To be able to more accurately assess your progress, weigh yourself before reducing calories, and take some photos.

You can also take some measurements of certain parts of the body, such as the belly or legs.

Above all, don't just be guided by the scale.

After two weeks, what kind of results did you get?

You lost five pounds and you got a five-pound look in the mirror?

Keep doing what you're doing.

You didn't lose weight and you don't make any difference in the mirror?

Reduces another 100 or 200 kcal.

Above all, be patient and adjust gradually.

Finally, as you lose weight, you'll eventually need to reduce the calories you eat, or introduce cardio training to help you.

This is because the less weight you have, the fewer calories your body will burn.

calories to lose weight


Losing weight is not to stop eating but to eat intelligently.

Having an estimate of the calories you should eat is useful, not only to lose fat efficiently but also to maintain as much muscle mass as possible.

Don't forget that these are just approximate values, as there are too many factors that can influence your caloric expenditure.

Use it as a guide to build your diet, and adjust according to the results, that is the most important thing.

Attention, you don't need to become a food sniper, and be overly strict and accurate, especially if you don't have competitive goals.

If your daily calorie value is 2500, it's okay if one day you ingest 2400 and the next day 2600.

Finally, it is important to distribute these calories well.

If 90% of your calories are carbohydrates, the results won't be good.

You need enough protein, carbides and fats.

To find out how much protein you should eat daily, check out this article, but if you have any doubts about what you should eat to lose fat, come by.

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