How Many Calories Should I Eat in a Day to Lose Weight?

How many calories should I eat in a day to lose weight? This is a very common question and one that I will be answering right now! In order to properly answer this question, I will be breaking this article down into 3 distinct sections, which are listed below:

  1. Calorie Deficit
  2. How To Achieve This
  3. How To Implement This

Let’s get to the information!

Calorie Deficit:

If you have been doing some research on how to lose weight, I am sure you have heard of the term, calorie deficit. What this means is you are consuming fewer calories than your body burns. This forces your body to find alternate sources of energy, which is why when we lose weight, we often think of it as “burning fat”.

We are burning fat to fuel our bodies!

The number of calories one needs to consume varies largely depending on a multitude of factors including our age, gender, body weight and amount of muscle mass (amongst many more). For example, a man who is the same age and weight as a woman may require more calories because he is a male, and could have more muscle mass.

Let’s discuss how we actually achieve a caloric deficit in the next section of this article!

Achieving a Caloric Deficit:

There is no one size fits all approach to figuring out your caloric deficit. There are many ways of doing it, however, none of them will be the exact number of calories you will need to consume in order to achieve this. The commonality amongst all forms of achieving a caloric deficit is that you must monitor your progress to see if that is the right calorie amount for you!

I personally like to use a calorie calculator online. When you fill this out to the best of your abilities, it will spit out a number that is in the ballpark of the calories you need to consume. Make sure this is your calorie deficit number and not your maintenance calorie number.

I find this approach is quite straight forward for people to follow, and if followed up properly by monitoring progress, it would be quite effective.

When you have your calorie number, monitor your progress for around 2 weeks while eating right around this amount of calories and see how you progress. If your weight is increasing or staying the same, consider reducing calories in an appropriate manner. If your weight is dropping 1-2 pounds per week, you should be in a good spot. If you’re dropping excessive amounts of weight beyond 2 weeks or so, you may need to consider increasing your calories to keep progress optimal, sustainable and effective long term. These are general guidelines, individual circumstances need to be factored in!

Implementing a Caloric Deficit:

Achieving a caloric deficit is one thing, and that is a huge part of the process, so congratulations to you if you have done this! However, effectively implementing it long term and sustainably is also super important! When we achieve our caloric deficit, we need to ensure we have a plan in place that will allow us to consistently execute it.

What factors may influence this plan you ask? Well for starters, our life schedule is what I would say the biggest impactor is. For example, if you didn’t plan ahead, you may stop at a fast-food joint and consume 1,200 calories quite quickly because you didn’t prepare ahead of time. Meanwhile, had you planned quality nutrition, you may have had an 800 calorie lunch consisting of a pasta dish. These are all examples.

When we prepare, we need to make sure it is sustainable. Prepping 21 meals of chicken and rice is something that I can just about guarantee will fail quickly. Very quickly. A good rule of thumb for those in search of sustainable and therefore long term results is the 80/20 rule. This means that 80% of your nutrition comes from quality sources, while 20% comes from sources that we would consider to be less quality.

This may look like prepping 17 of your meals for the week as quality. Don’t get quality twisted with not being enjoyable. You do not need to only prep chicken and rice to have quality meals. Matter a fact, there are many, many more nutrient-dense meals than that! Things like pasta with chicken and veggies, steak wraps with veggies or turkey sandwiches with carrots are all examples of quality meal ideas. There are basically infinite possibilities for quality meals!

Your less quality nutrition can come from things that most people would consider to be “junk food”.

These could be things such as donuts, brownies or drinks such as alcohol. Also, just a little tip, don’t think that junk food is some magically terrible food. Junk food is oftentimes used as a buzzword for scare tactics. Meanwhile, all” junk food” really is, is less quality foods.

Wrapping Up:

Well everyone, that concludes the article on determining calories for weight loss! The goal with this article was to not only give you the information needed to find your caloric deficit number; but how to actually achieve it, and most importantly, implement it in a sustainable way that will yield long term results!

What do you think of the ideas within this article? I would love to hear your thoughts below! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and as always, if you have questions or comments please do not hesitate to leave them below and I will be sure to reply!


Here are some other articles that may be beneficial for your knowledge!

What is a Caloric Deficit?

Nutrition For Goals

How to Sustain a “Diet”


Until Next Time,

Kohl Johnson

Please refer to my liability disclaimer to ensure you know who is responsible for use of this information after reading.

Support is much appreciated if you benefited from this:

Kohl Johnson

I am a 16-year-old fitness fanatic! I have learned nothing but quality training and nutrition information from the utmost well-respected individuals in the field. Now, my only focus is to share this knowledge with you for your benefit, in the most honest way possible. We are all in this together! LET'S GO!

4 Responses

  1. Thank you for sharing the importance of calorie deficit and understanding that it can’t be achieved through a one size fits all method. I have used IIFYM to calculate my personal calorie intake in order to lose weight and when I followed my macros specifically (while also sticking to healthier options to do so) I noticed drastic changes in my weight. 

    It was a lot of work to track my calories, carbs, fats, sugars, etc. but if you are someone who needs that type of structure, it is definitely worth it.

    Thank you for sharing!

    • Hi Kara, it truly is about finding a method that allows you to create and sustain a caloric deficit during ones fat loss journey. It makes me very happy to hear that you found an approach that works for you! Congratulations, not everyone is able to do that!

  2. Hi kohl. Thanks for sharing this article to help resolve how many calories one should eat in a day to lose weight. I had no idea about the term “Calorie deficit” before now, good to know what it means.

    I agree with you on time factor. If not properly planned for, one can easily consume a large number of calories in a fast food joint. Thanks for the tips.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment

Follow by Email