Daily Calorie Intake for Women to Lose Weight

In a balanced diet, a man needs approximately 2,500 kcal in a day to maintain his weight, whereas a woman needs around 2,000 kcal a day. One pound is equal to 3,500 calories. So, logically a ‘500 calorie daily deficit’ should lead to ‘1 pound fat loss’ per week. But, it is observed that in reality this may not work efficiently. Although an absolute minimum calorie intake to lose weight cannot be set as it varies according to the body composition and activity level. However, it is possible to find out the daily calorie intake for you, if you want to lose weight, using following guidelines.

Calculate Daily Calorie Intake to Lose Weight

The daily calorie intake will vary according to age, gender, health, height, weight, environment, genetics, diet, exercise routine, body-fat percentage, etc. Roughly, it is accepted that women who are not active need about 1,200-1,300 calories per day, while active women need about 1,400-1,600 calories per day to carry out the basic activities and bodily functions of the day. A woman’s minimum calorie intake should not be below 1,200 calories in a day. The simple formula called Harris-Benedict Principle helps find the basal metabolic rate (BMR). It tells us about the amount of energy required by the body for the daily functions. For effective weight loss, women need to lower their daily calorie intake. To determine the minimum calorie intake, you need to calculate your BMR first.

BMR of an adult women = 655 + (9.6 * weight in kg) + (1.8 * height in cm) – (4.7 * age in years)
BMR of an adult women = 655 + (4.35 * weight in pounds) + ( 4.7 * height in inches) – (4.7 * age in years)

Type of Physical Activity Daily Calories Needed
Very little or no exercise BMR * 1.2
Light exercise: 1-3 days per week BMR * 1.375
Moderate exercise: 3-5 days per week BMR * 1.55
Heavy exercise: almost everyday BMR * 1.725
Very heavy exercise: twice a day or extremely heavy workout BMR * 1.9

With the help of the formula, you can calculate the number of calories that you require daily to maintain your current weight. Once you know your BMR, you can calculate the required daily calorie intake for you and then reduce it gradually to lose weight. Remember, you should burn certain amount of calories by performing exercises. If the amount of calories burnt is more than the amount of calories taken in, weight loss is possible.

Calorie Content of Common Foods

If you wish to calculate the calories intake, here is a food calories list for you.

Name of the Food Item Number of Calories (per 100 g or 100 ml) Name of the Food Item Number of Calories (per 100 g or 100 ml)
Turkey 179 Lamb 260
Pork 142 Mutton 181
Herring 167 Carp 104
Salami 519 Chicken 142
Apples 67 Pears 79
Oranges 47 Grapes 93
Potatoes 88 Mushrooms 35
Carrots 45 Green peas 96
Biscuits 425 Wheat flour 349
Pasta with eggs 386 Brown wheat bread 242

The knowledge of the minimum calorie intake for weight loss would help you shed the extra pounds, provided your diet is accompanied by proper exercise. Calories should be cut down gradually. It is risky to reduce the calorie intake drastically. A sudden drop may affect the body’s metabolism adversely. Also, you should recalculate the required daily calorie intake when you lose some weight, to assess your altered BMR.

Jenny Power - MD Health And Fitness Writer Jenny believes that we all deserve a life of vitality—and that we have the potential to create it for ourselves. That’s why she is dedicated to tackling the root causes of all health and fitness related problems. Our team work every day to empower people, organizations, and communities to heal their bodies and minds, and improve our social and economic resilience. Dr. Jenny is a practicing Medical Doctor, a four-time #1 Health and Fitness bestselling author, and an internationally recognized leader, speaker, educator, and advocate in her field. She is the the founder of Healthy Plus Website, chairman of the board of the Institute for Natural Health Medicine, a medical editor of The Washington Post, and was a regular medical contributor on many television shows.

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