How many calories do I need to eat to lose or gain weight?

If you are on a continuous diet and do not see the results you want, it is probably not the training plan that is to blame. Most often, too many calories keep you in place. Regardless of the lifestyle you choose – Paleo, Whole 30, Atkins, Low Carb, Keto – caloric deficit is essential in the weight loss process.

What is a calorie?

A calorie is a unit of measurement, as are centimeters or kilograms. In less technical terms, a calorie is the amount of energy needed to heat a liter of water to one degree Celsius. What do you have to do with the calories on your plate?

A calorie is a unit of measure of the energy in the food you eat. Your body does not use energy to raise the temperature of the water but you need energy (measured in calories) to fuel your daily activities. This includes daily metabolic processes, as well as the activities you are involved in during the day. In order for your body to use this energy, it must first be released from the foods you eat.

Calories are absolutely necessary to keep you alive. The basal metabolic rate (the number of calories your body uses to keep you alive) is about 75% of the calories your body uses each day. The rest of the calories you burn during the day are used to energize your muscles as you move during the day and when you exercise. A small amount is also used in the digestion process.

How many calories should you eat in general?

There are several factors that determine the exact number of calories you should eat each day. Factors such as lifestyle, genetic predisposition, weight, sex play an important role. The easiest way is to start with the goal you have. Do you want to lose weight, maintain yourself or gain muscle mass?

Below you will find the mathematical formula I use to determine the number of calories for maintenance ( Harris Benedict formula ). If your goal is to gain weight then add 15% to the result. If your goal is to lose weight, the result decreases by 15-20%.

The formula below shows the basal metabolic rate, more precisely the calories burned without physical activity.

  • Women: BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age)
  • Men: BMR = 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age)

Once you have solved the mathematical formula, multiply it according to the level of physical activity you have. The result is an active metabolic rate .

1.2Sedentaryzero physical activity
1.375Very easy physical activity1-3 hours / week
1.55Easy physical activity3-5 hours / week
1.6Moderate physical activity5-8 hours / week
1.725Intense physical activity8-12 hours / week
1.9Extreme physical activity12 hours + / week

It is true that not all calories are equal in terms of impact on health, but in terms of weight loss, you can also lose weight with french fries and ice cream if you take care to eat below your caloric level. I do not recommend in any case.

How do I count calories?

Simple today. With the help of mobile applications specially made for this. I used MyNetDiary and My Fitness Pal but there are definitely many more now.


I think that there is too much focus on the physical aspect. I used far too much makeup and tried every day to reach perfection. It consumes time and resources. You don’t have to be perfect, it’s okay to walk on the street without make-up, it’s ok to do sports without makeup and pushup bra etc. I think the most important thing is to pay attention to food, to ask yourself if what you have on your plate is really nutritious, to enjoy the company of family and friends, to connect with nature and to exercise. I’m not saying it’s good or bad. Do what is right for you, to feel comfortable in your skin.

When you have clearly set goals (to lose weight, to gain weight), it is important to take into account calories. Don’t forget about physical activity, and it contributes to caloric deficit. It is also important to correctly estimate the level of activity you have, otherwise it may affect your results.