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How many calories should you lose per day to lose weight?

 How many calories should you lose per day to lose weight?

Calories are usually the main concern when trying to lose weight. This is quite legitimate, because this calorie intake is directly responsible for weight gain or, conversely, its loss. Our explanations for how to calculate your energy needs and how many calories you should eat per day to lose weight.

How many calories a day to lose weight? Calculate your energy needs

To figure out how many calories you need per day, you'll need to estimate your energy needs. The good news, some scientific methods and calculations make it possible to estimate your daily energy needs fairly accurately.

basic metabolism

It is necessary to calculate your basal metabolic rate. This means the minimum amount of energy that your body needs in a resting state to ensure its vital functions: digestion, standing, functioning of organs, maintenance of body temperature, etc.

Here is the Harris and Benedict formula used to calculate the basal metabolic rate:

For a man = [13.7516 x weight (in kilograms)] + [500.33 x height (in metres)] - (6.7550 x age) + 66,473

Women: [9.5634 x weight (in kilograms)] + [184.96 x height (in metres)] - (4.6756 x age) + 655.0955

For example, for a 35-year-old woman with a measurement of 1.60 m and a weight of 58 kg, we get the basal metabolic rate:

554.6772 + 295.935 - 163.646 + 655.0955 = 1342

To meet her basic needs, this woman would then need 1,342 calories per day.

level of physical activity

To calculate how many calories the body needs per day, it is also necessary to take into account the level of physical activity. Indeed, in addition to ensuring its vital needs, the body expends additional calories related to daily activity. Therefore the above estimated basal metabolic rate must be multiplied by a factor corresponding to the daily activity level.

level of physical activity

Mathematics coefficient or degree



light physical activity


moderate physical activity


Intense physical activity


Very intense physical activity


Let's take the example of a 35-year-old woman. If his daily physical activity is moderate, he must multiply his basal metabolic rate by 1.55 to get his daily caloric needs, i.e. 2080 calories.

Total power requirement

Thanks to the previous calculations, we obtained an estimate of the total power requirements. In our example, 2080 calories. That is, by consuming 2,080 calories per day, this woman will not gain or lose weight.

Note, however, that this account has some limitations. To find out your needs as accurately as possible, it is recommended to consult a nutritionist. Only he knows how to adapt this account to your organization and its specific needs.

Example of a controlled calorie menu

In practice, here is an example of a typical calorie-controlled menu for healthy weight loss. To build it, we took the example of a 35-year-old woman whose daily caloric requirement is 2,080 calories. Depending on your specific needs and level of physical activity, this basic list should be adapted.




having dinner

1 green tea

150 ml vegetable milk

40g walnut muesli

100gm compote without added sugar

150 grams of raw vegetables

100 grams of poultry

200gm green vegetables in olive oil

30 g wholemeal bread

1 fresh fruit

15 grams of oil seeds

100 gm cottage cheese with honey

200 ml vegetable soup

100 gm white fish

120g cooked whole starch

30 grams of cheese

1 fresh fruit

The importance of eating the right number of calories per day to lose weight

When it comes to losing weight, it's all about the scales. Calculating the correct number of calories needed to lose weight is an essential step.

Here are 3 possible situations:

Energy consumption equals energy requirements: weight remains stable;

Energy consumption is less than the required energy: there is a decrease in weight;

Energy consumption is greater than the required energy: there is an increase in weight.

To lose weight, it is considered necessary to create an energy deficit of 10 to 15% of the total energy requirement. In our example, it would then be necessary to consume less than 1,870 calories per day for significant weight loss.

Be careful, however, that the lack of energy should not be so great that it leads to nutritional deficiencies and harmful coping mechanisms. In fact, below a certain number of calories, the body protects itself by saving its energy and storing more calories eaten. The result: weight loss becomes more difficult and the yo-yo effect becomes inevitable.

Counting calories to lose weight is not enough

Counting calories to lose weight is never enough. In practice, the body not only ingests calories, it is above all nutrients. There is no point in restricting calories if the diet does not encourage the consumption of nutrients essential for the functioning of the body. In fact, 50 calories from a chocolate chip cookie and 50 calories from an apple equals on a calorie level but not on a nutritional level.

The protein, fat and carbohydrate content of the diet, as well as micronutrients, are essential for maintaining a good balance and promoting healthy and lasting weight loss.


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