Daily Calorie Deficit

How Many Calories Do I Need to Eat???


There’s no magic pill for weight loss, but there is a simple science: The calorie deficit.  Losing weight is essentially calories in vs. calories out – the number of calories you eat compared to the number of calories you burn during daily activities and exercise.

There are 3,500 calories in a pound.  To lose weight, you need to eat less calories per day than your body needs to maintain your current weight. To lose 1 pound a week, you need a deficit of 500 calories a day, by eating less or burning them through exercise.

By following the simple formula below, I consistently lost 1-2 lbs a week and dropped from a size 12 to a 4.  By incorporating cardio and strength training, I reduced body fat which gave me leaner abs and increased muscle definition.

Working out consistently sped up my weight loss, but by following this formula and limiting the fat and sugar in your diet, you’ll start to shed those extra pounds.

Creating a Calorie Deficit
Use this formula to quickly determine how many calories you need a day to lose weight: (example for a 150 pound woman):

1. add a zero to your body weight (150 + 0 = 1,500)

2. add 20% for normal daily activity (+300). 1500 + 300 = 1,800 calories per day.  This is how many calories you need a day to maintain your current weight.

3. To lose weight, subtract 500 calories a day (by eating 500 calories less or by burning 500 calories with your workout). 1,800 – 500 = 1,300 calories you need per day to lose 1 lb per week.

Track Your Calorie Intake & Expenditure
Use a food journal to track the calories you eat per day.

And, use a heart rate monitor with a chest strap to track calories burned through exercise.  To learn how to pick the right heart rate monitor, read my article Before you Buy a Heart Rate Monitor.

Additional Weight Loss Tips:
  • Eat every 3 hours to keep your metabolism running and burning calories all day.
  • Get rid of the “white” stuff –  breads, pasta, rice, sugar, etc. and switch to the whole grain versions.  Whole grains digest more slowly so they keep you full longer.
  • Find healthy low fat/low sugar versions of the food and snacks you love to eat.
  • Always eat breakfast.  It jumpstarts your metabolism.
  • Have your last meal at least 3 hours before you go to bed.  But, you can have a protein shake (no fruit) before bed to feed your muscles while you sleep.