Over time, when the calories you take in equal the calories you burn, you’ll maintain your weight. When you take in more calories than you burn, you’ll gain weight. And when you take in fewer calories than you burn, you’ll lose weight.
The trick to maintaining, gaining, or losing weight is to find out how many calories you burn each day. Then you adjust your intake accordingly. For example, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds and you burn 2,200 calories a day, then by trimming 500 calories from the amount you need to burn (meaning your daily intake should be 1,700 calories), you’ll lose around 1 pound of fat a week. (1 pound of fat equals about 3,500 calories). After about 10 weeks you would reach your goal!
Don't worry about crunching the numbers yourself. The calculator above will do the planning for you. Just fill in the information to get the:
- Number of calories you burn in a day
- Number of calories you should take in each day to meet your weight goal
- Recommended daily amount of key nutrients and food types you should get through your diet
Use the following guide to determine your activity level:
- High activity: Vigorous physical activity for 60 minutes or more at least 4 to 5 days a week or having a job that is physically demanding (such as a roofer or aerobics instructor).
- Intermediate activity: Moderate physical activity like swimming, jogging, or fast walking, 2 or 3 times a week, 30 to 60 minutes each time.
- Low activity: No planned, regular physical activity; occasional weekend or weekly activity is the only type of physical activity (like golf or recreational tennis).