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What is the right amount of calories?

By February 24, 2009 - 7:18pm
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I ’m “5’10 and weigh 166. I’m trying to lose 26 lbs. How many calories a day should I consume daily to meet my goal?

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One other idea: the YMCA that I am am member of is offering metabolic testing. I'm not sure how legitimate this is (I'll look into it more, if you are interested!), but it is supposed to calculate your RMR, that is, your resting metabolic rate. Your RMR is different for different people; it tells you how many calories your body burns while "at rest", as most of our calories are actually burned by our normal bodily functions: digesting, eating, sleeping, breathing, etc.

I've also learned that the more muscle you have, and conversely, less fat you have, in your body, the higher your RMR is (muscle burns calories more quickly than fat).

The Fit Diva Lara has written a few articles on metabolic rates, as well as Alysia K, that you can read below:
Losing Weight is Simple Math
Calculate your Metabolic rate.

February 26, 2009 - 2:01pm
HERWriter Guide

I really like the link that calculates your age, weight, height and exercise and gives you an approximation of how many calories you need to eat a day in order to maintain or lose your weight.

Conversely, you know how many calories will lead you to gain weight!

Kinnis, I agree that healthy eating and exercise is your best bet, rather than counting calories. While it's important to know how much you are eating every day, it's more important to focus on healthy foods and exercise, rather than numbers.

Another tip is to eat a handful of almonds about a half hour before your meals. Also - don't eat till you are full - eat until you are not hungry anymore. There is quite a difference in the two!

Good luck with your goals and remember your weight is still healthy right now and you are working out a lot, so muscle may mean weight gain. The scales is not always an accurate measurement of your overall weight. And don't be too hard on yourself, you are doing pretty well!

February 25, 2009 - 2:07pm

Thank you, Diane P & Anonymous.

I will be checking out the links you have provided to see if i can get any new info on how to better track my calorie intake... I will add some more time to my cardio workouts... And the days I have off from work I will try and get to the gym twice a day to see if that will help, because as of now I'm only going in the morning.

Thank You!

February 25, 2009 - 11:09am
EmpowHER Guest

I wouldn't get all hung up on the calorie intake....I lost 40 lbs just by half an hour or more of cardio a day with three days weight training at the gym and by eating lots of fruit, veggies, nuts, eggs and fish in about four or more small meals a day, cutting out all processed foods(except very occasionally)and focusing on health rather than simply weight loss. I think that it's a matter of changing how you look on food and exercise.
Good luck!

February 25, 2009 - 10:34am

Hi, Kinnis, and thanks for the question!

At your height and weight, you have a Body Mass Index of 23.8. That's in the "normal weight" category of BMI (18.5-24.9). At 150 pounds, your BMI would be 21.5, lower but still normal.

(For others who may want to calculate their BMI, you can go here:)


Part of the decision about how many calories to eat per day depends on the amount of activity you do, and how quickly you are trying to lose weight. Do you have an idea of what your calorie intake is now?

One pound is equal to 3,500 calories. So to lose one pound, you have to either expend 3,500 more calories or cut back on that amount. If you do it over a week, you would lose a pound a week. Twice that would result in 2 pounds a week, which is a good steady rate of weight loss.

If you want to figure out how many calories you are taking in now, here's a great site where you can enter your foods and keep track:


And while we're on calculators, this next one lets you input your age, weight, height and amount of exercise, and then it tells you how many calories you need to take in to either maintain or lose weight:


I don't know your age, but I put in 30 as a round number, and 3x a week for exercise. With your height and weight, it recommended 2138 calories a day to maintain your weight, and 1710 calories a day to lose weight.

If you get little or no exercise, it recommended 1866 a day to maintain, and 1493 to lose. That is lower than many guidelines recommend; most diet guidelines suggest that 1,600 calories a day is a healthy level -- you will lose weight, but you won't be as hungry, which will help you keep the weight off.

Remember, while all calories are equal -- 3,500 is 3,500, no matter what they come from -- your body does not benefit from all calories the same. You should get your calories from a mixture of lean proteins, whole grains and fruits and vegetables, and try to reduce in the areas of processed foods and foods with high levels of fat or sugar in them. (You do need some fat, though; be sure to work the good fats (monounsaturated, like olive oil) into your daily diet.)

I hope this helps! Come back and keep us updated on how you're doing!

February 25, 2009 - 10:32am
EmpowHER Guest

You should definitely approach losing weight from multiple 'sides'. Not only should you monitor your calorie intake, but also push to burn more calories during the day. Also, eating more often, but smaller sizes will help your body burn the calories you are taking in.

February 25, 2009 - 9:38am
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