How Many Calories Should I Eat to Lose Weight?

So you want to lose weight, just like everyone else.

What’s the best way to go about doing it? With a bit of trial and error, of course! In this article, we’re going to teach you how to figure out how many calories you need to consume to lose weight, as well as keep it off.

Start With The Basics

The first thing you should do before you try to lose weight is establish a calorie baseline. What is a calorie baseline, you ask? It’s the number of calories you need to maintain your current weight. To figure out your baseline calorie intake, you need to add up the calories you get from every day food and drink, and then subtract any calories you burn through exercise. (For more on how to calculate your BMR, check out this BMR calculator.)

Once you have your baseline calorie intake, you can determine how many calories you need to lose. To lose one pound of fat, you must burn calories at a higher rate than you consume them. That’s the basic formula for weight loss.

The Trouble With Determining Your Caloric Needs

When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the numbers and lose sight of what’s important: you and your own personal goals. That’s why it’s so important to establish a baseline calorie intake and then subtract the calories you need to maintain from your daily calorie count.

Determining your caloric needs is not an exact science. It’s very dependent on your own body fat percentage as well as how active you are. There are just too many variables for it to be precise. That’s why we suggest you come back to it every month or every other month and reassess and adjust your intake and output accordingly.

Use A Food Diary

Keeping a food diary is one of the best ways to track your calories. It makes following your diet MUCH easier and keeps you motivated to stay on track in the first place. The best part is that you can actually quantify the calories you consume and thus how much you need to lose. It’s like having a personal nutritionist on call! 

If you’re not used to recording your food intake in this way, it can be difficult to determine how much you actually need. That’s why we suggest starting with a simple food diary for a week or two, just to get used to the idea. Once you’ve established the habit, you can move on to more sophisticated tools, like our free calorie counter or weight loss meal planner. (If you’re curious, you can also check out this blog post where we show you exactly how to create a food diary using our free online tool.)

How To Eat To Lose Weight

Now that you have your baseline calorie intake, you can start the process of figuring out how to eat to lose weight. The general idea is to consume fewer calories than you burn, but you must be careful not to deprive yourself of any nutrient-rich food. Eating smaller meals more often throughout the day will help keep your metabolism up and aid in weight loss. This is why we suggest starting your day with a green juice or smoothie, which are both very high in nutrients but low in calories. (If you want to learn more, check out this blog post from our friend Lisa Hayima of Healthy Hints.

Beyond the basics, there are just so many ways to eat to lose weight, depending on your own personal goals and what works best for you. You may opt for a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet or restrict yourself to eating fruits and vegetables. You might want to try a diet where you eat only when you’re feeling hungry or you need to shed a few pounds. There are all kinds of ways to go about it, so long as you keep in mind that you should follow a nutritious food plan that provides you with all the essential nutrients your body needs to function properly.

Whatever it may be, take it one step at a time. Try out different methods and don’t be discouraged if some of them don’t work for you. You can’t expect to lose weight instantly, and that’s a good thing because it means your body is reacting favorably and you’re adapting well to the changes you’re making. When that happens, it’s usually a sign you’re on the right track and you should continue moving forward.