“How many calories should I be eating to lose weight? I’m a 5’7, 37 year old woman who is moderately active and weighs 140 pounds” - Vanessa
This is a really important question when it comes to weight loss Vanessa! To lose weight, you have to burn off more calories than you consume, but how do you know exactly how many calories you need to maintain and/or lose weight?
First, let’s figure out your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), or how many calories you burn in a single day, even if you were lying in bed the entire time. We like this easy to use online calculator: http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/ According to this, your BMR would be 1,405.
Next, we need to take into account your activity level. So next, let’s figure out what your personal daily calorie needs are to maintain your current weight using what’s called the Harris Benedict Forumla:
To determine your total daily calorie needs, multiply your BMR by the appropriate activity factor, as follows:
If you are sedentary (little or no exercise): Calorie Calculation = BMR x 1.2 • If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1–3 days/week): Calorie Calculation = BMR x 1.375
If you are moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3–5 days/week): Calorie Calculation = BMR x 1.55
If you are very active (hard exercise/sports 6–7 days a week): Calorie Calculation = BMR x 1.725
If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training): Calorie Calculation = BMR x 1.9
Source: ACE Fitness
Since you mentioned you are moderately active, we’ll multiply:
1405 x 1.55 = 2,177, which is the amount of calories you can consume per day in order to stay at 140 pounds.
In order to lose a pound per week, you’ll need to cut 500 calories a day. I recommend eating 250 calories less, or 1,927 calories a day, and burning off an extra 250 calories through exercise.
Hope that helps take some of the guesswork out of it!