How Many Calories Should I Eat To Lose Weight?

At least once in your life you have to count calories if you want to be successful in long term weight loss. When my personal training clients complain to me that they can’t lose weight no matter what they do, my first question to them is “How many calories are you eating each day?” I know a lot of the popular diets over the years claim that you don’t have to count calories to lose weight, but in my opinion you do.

How Many Calories Do I Need to Lose Weight?

Most people have no idea how many calories are in the foods they eat. At least once in your life you have to count calories so you know that a banana is about 110 calories, a ½ cup of oatmeal is 150 calories and so on. You really should know roughly how many calories you are eating at all times. When you know, it’s easier then to make adjustments.

When you’re having trouble losing weight, one of the first things I like to do with my clients is to take their weight and times it by 10 and that is the amount of calories they should eat to lose weight. For example: if you weigh 175 lbs, you should eat 1,750 calories a day to lose weight. This weight loss formula: your weight x 10 = your weight loss calories, is a great way to start.

Now to make this formula work better I recommend you limit your fat intake to 30% and split your protein and carbohydrate calories evenly. This is a great way to eat if you are working out to build muscle and still want energy to do aerobic activity.

Keep in mind that this is a very simple formula that works for most people. I go into much more detail with my clients when it comes to nutrition and athletic performance. But for general weight loss you can’t go wrong counting calories and using this formula. By doing this, you will learn a lot about the foods you are eating and how many calories are in them, which is important knowledge to have. This knowledge will stay with you for the rest of your life.

Here is a link to a calorie counting site that can be helpful

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Best – Mike Cola


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About Mike Cola

Mike Cola has well over 50,000 hours of hands-on personal training experience. He started his own personal training studio in1989, Mike Cola Fitness, which is located in New York. Connect with Mike @ Google+

16 Responses to “How Many Calories Should I Eat To Lose Weight?”

  1. Charlie Pharis May 14, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Thanks for the info, Mike. Question: Do you figure the calories for your CURRENT weight, or your TARGET weight GOAL?

  2. Hi Charlie,

    Current weight…

    Best – Mike

  3. Hi I was wondering if I should include the calories I burn from the gym? For instance I have been around 111 pounds for 6 months now I do cardio 5-6x week and weight training 2-3x week. I have been doing this for a year now and consumed 1100 calories or less during this time. So for 6 months I can’t seem to get under 111 with my frustration I contacted a dietician who recommend I eat 1400 calories a day and not to subtract the calories I burn from the gym which I have done and now I have gained weight? Do you have any suggestions?

  4. Hi Mike,

    I’m a male, weigh 184lbs 5’7″ tall. Well two weeks ago I started working out 5 times a week for about 50-70 minutes daily. I was eating all sorts of stuff and not really counting calories prior to this. I’ve dropped my calories to about 1300-1400 daily these last two weeks. I’ve only seen about a pound of weigh lost. My question is am I getting enough calories or should I bump them up to 1840 (based on your x10 rule)? How long must I stay at this calorie amount? Must I take into account the calories burned at the gym (700-1000 daily)?

    Thanks Mike, any help is appreciated.

  5. I’m sorry forgot to mention I’m 35 years old.

  6. Mike. I am 22 years old a recently lost about 50lbs from July 2011 – Current. I lost the weight using a fad diet, HCG where my calorie intake was less than 800/day. Luckily I have been able to keep the weight off, but transitioning into non-supplement weight loss I find myself stuck. I appreciate this article in helping me figure out that I should be taking in about 1850 cals/day weighing 185 but I feel like this is TOO much for me. I have trouble eating many times a day due to my schedule and budget…Is there something you can suggest?

  7. If you follow this formula, how much weight would you normally lose per week?

  8. So could it be that all of the low calorie diets I’ve been following for the last few years with high intensity workouts is what is causing me not to lose weight? According to your formula I should be eating many many more calories. How many weeks before I start seeing results with your calorie diet and your workout plan for women? It’s been a week so far and no weight loss nor weight gain!

  9. The only thing you can do is stay active and don’t eat to many calories….It will work in the long run. Don’t quit…..

    The formula is just a guideline that works for most people but you have to experiment and see what works best for you…

    Best – Mike

    PS – check out this forum if you need some more help with your diet- http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/forum.php

  10. Hi Maureen,

    Everyone is different… but one percent of your body weight per week should be a good goal.

    Best – Mike

  11. Hi Megan,

    I don’t like eating multiple times per day for weight loss… I’m actually a believer in skipping meals (a form of intermittent fasting)… I write about it on this blog all the time..

    You can go below 1850 in calories but I would not go to low…. Experiment… Try 1500 and see how you make out.… if you’re not hungry don’t eat…

  12. Hi Javier,

    1300 to 1400 cal a day is not much…. you will definitely lose weight but you might be hungry and lackluster in the gym…. I think 1840 or maybe a little less would be a better number for you…

    Don’t be in a rush… if you lose a pound every week you’ll be at your goal weight before you know it.. keep up the good work and don’t overdo it in gym.

  13. Hi Melissa’

    You might be overtraining…. take it easy in the gym for a few weeks and keep the calories 10 times your body weight and see how you feel and look.

    Everyone’s body is different so you have to experiment and find what works best for you.

  14. I don’t mean to sound rude or anything, but your formula sounds completely unhealthy.. for my case anyways. I am a 92 pound girl and I multiplied it by 10 and got 920 calories to consume? That sounds COMPLETELY unhealthy! Let’s not forget I exercise x7 days a week, for an hour on the treadmill. I do 30 minutes of running/jogging then 15 of brisk walking and then the last 15 cool down with a general walk. I don’t know.. but.. sounds like that could cause trouble. I’m only trying to give constructive criticism here, but maybe you should reconsider it especially for those like myself that are low weight’s but have a few more pounds they want to lose. I know, you’re asking, what do I need to lose weight for at 92 pounds? Well, I am 4’11, and I believe, in my opinion, that I can stand to lose a few more. But following those guidelines would only cause my body more harm than good.

    Just letting you know.

    Have a good day.

  15. Hi Megan,

    I don’t disagree with you… 920 cal is not enough for you especially since you’re exercising so much….

    I generally don’t like to see people go below 1200 cal a day long-term….

    This formula is just a general guideline that has worked for many of my personal training clients…

    Thanks for the comment…

    Best – Mike

  16. Hi Mike,

    Everybody is talking about calories intake these days.. Personally, I believe that u should forget about such things.. Everybody has a different type of body.. All you have to do is eat healthy like fruits (papaya, oranges, apples, water melon, grapes), green boiled veggies, home made vegetable soups, salads etc.. And workout 5 day per week giving 100 minutes each day.. You will be surely losing weight if u r bulky..

    Thanks!!

    I wish everyone a happy and healthy new year 2013 :)