HomeCalculatorsCalorie Calculator – Daily Calorie Needs

Calorie Calculator – Daily Calorie Needs

calorie calculatorTo create your own personal fat loss program you need to calculate your daily calorie requirements. In other words, you need to know how many calories you require per day to simply maintain your current weight and how many calories you need to lose weight. The calorie intake calculator provides you with3 different calorie intakes, the first for weight maintenance and the other two for weight loss. Aim to use the “weight loss” daily level of calories, which is 20% less calories than maintenance. The “extreme weight loss” is 40% below maintenance. This level essentially represents the lowest level, i.e. you should not lower your calorie intake below this point. When you hit a weight loss plateau or find you are unsuccessful in losing weight with a 20% calorie reduction, you can reduce your level to 30% below maintenance. However, you should reserve a severe calorie restriction of 40% below maintenance for exceptional circumstances, such as unsuccessful weight loss despite moderate calorie restriction in conjunction with at least 3 exercise sessions a week.

Do not start with a massive drop in calories. Firstly, this sends your body into panic, triggering a starvation response. Secondly, if you hit a weight loss plateau, you have nowhere to go from there, i.e. you can’t lower your calorie intake further without some serious risks to your health. Therefore, you should aim for gradual calorie reduction.


A great method of keeping the weight loss going, especially after you’ve hit a weight loss plateau or are simply struggling to lose weight, is zig-zagging your calorie intake. Zig-zagging (aka calorie cycling) involves having “high” and “low” calorie days, while providing the same amount of calories per week. Calorie cycling can help keep your body from catching on to your weight loss efforts and is a great alternative to further decreasing your total weekly calorie intake. These numbers are only a guideline/ example of calorie cycling.

Calorie Guideline

A general rule of thumb is that you should not lower your calorie intake below 1200 calories for women and 1800 calories for men. This rule will apply to all of you who have read the rest of the website and have made exercise part of your weight loss strategy. A second tenet is not to decrease your calorie intake by more than 1000 calories below maintenance.

Remember, you want to burn the fat (exercise with moderate calorie restriction), not starve the fat (severe calorie restriction without exercise). These methods yield entirely different results. However, those of you who are entirely sedentary will have very low calorie requirements just to maintain your current weight. Your calorie requirements will be close to your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) – the level of calorie your body requires while at rest. Therefore, even a reasonable 500-calorie restriction could push you below the 1200-/ 1800-calorie mark.

Calories needed on average
  Women Men
Maintain Weight 2000 – 2100 2700 – 2900
Lose Weight 1400 – 1800 2200 – 2700



  2. I am 61 years old, about 5′ 3″ tall and weigh approximately 125 pounds. I am too skinny. My bones show, I don’t feel well. I am tired, have little energy, am stressed all the time and am tired of people telling me how skinny I am.

    I have started losing the weight about a year and a half ago, one of my part time jobs was very strenuous and the weight started going. I no longer have that job but still work a lot. Not physical work but one full and one part time job. I eat a good breakfast every day; cereal (hot and/or cold), sometimes fruit, toast, coffee. A good lunch followed by a yogurt and sometimes a snack later on. The evening is when I don’t really eat as i work. Sometimes I have something but not a full meal.

    I felt better with the extra weight on me – like 15 pounds! My doctor said the last two times I was there that I am fine but i don’t feel fine. I feel off and have no energy. I hate the way i look. What can I do? Is there a supplement I can take? Any advice would be welcome. Thanks so much.

    • Hi Karen,
      if you’re losing weight unintentionally your doctor really needs to do a thorough checkup, run a battery of tests and perhaps refer you to a nutritionist. In the mean time it’s worth writing down everything you eat in the course of a normal day and calculate how many calories you’re consuming. You might be consuming too few calories. Again the doctor needs to look at why this may be and rule out any medical issues. I can’t stress how important it is that the doctor do a thorough checkup, especially since you’re also tired and don’t appear to feel well generally. From what you’ve written you don’t seem to be eating a hearty lunch or dinner. Read this article on tips to gain weight.

  3. Great calorie calculator,very accurate and the only one i use myself,i also do calorie cycling this site breaks down the weekly numbers so no need to work things out,calorie cycling is one of the best ways to lose fat tricking your body and mixing things up is the magic !!

  4. Love, love, love YOU for your site! It is the best. So helpful.

  5. In order to know how many calories per day one consumes, is it recommended to actually count the calories of each food, or can one just know to eat healthy…watching portion size, making healthy food choices etc.. Can one still be successful by working it this way?

    Yes, I’m in love with you too!! Such a great website, the best on the web. So motivating to get back on track!

    • Hi Kate,

      Thanks so much! Basically the answer is – it depends. If you have a good grasp of portion control already it will probably work. And you’ll know it’s working because you’re losing weight or maintaining your weight (depending on your goal). However, if you don’t have a good understanding of portion control (and a lot of people don’t!), then your best bet it to count calories for a few months until you have a clear understanding of the calorie content of the foods you eat day to day. Remember not to get caught out with liquid calories, they count too, and can add up to quite a bit if you like soda, fruit juice and other sweet drinks. Hope this helps! :)

  6. Your site is AMAZING. I’ve been looking for a calculator like this for AGES. You have such great advice. I love it! Thank you :)

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