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How Many Calories Do You Need to Burn to Lose Weight?

This Simple Formula Can Help You Ensure You're Burning Enough Calories to Lose Weight

Shot of a sporty young woman checking her watch while exercising outdoors

At the most basic level, if you eat less and exercise more, you'll lose weight. But figuring out exactly how to create a calorie deficit requires some math.

"In order to lose a pound of fat, it's estimated that you need to burn about 3,500 calories," Lauren Green, DO, a registered dietitian and assistant professor of neurology at the University of Southern California, told POPSUGAR. "So, if someone reduces their daily calories by 500 per day for one week, they should lose approximately one pound." (Experts agree that one to two pounds is safe.)

If that's your goal, you'll need to track how many calories you're eating — there are apps and other online tools that can help, including the Calorie Control Council's Food Calorie Calculator — and assess how many calories you burn during the day.

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Once you've determined your baseline, you can plot out a strategy for creating that deficit. For example, if you burn 200 calories with exercise and reduce your daily food calories by 300, you'll achieve the same results without feeling deprived, Dr. Green explained. Suddenly this weight-loss thing seems so achievable, no?

Image Source: Getty / Mikolette
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