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How Many Calories To Maintain Weight? - Are You Overating
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How Many Calories to Maintain Weight? - Are You Overating

The great old questions of weight maintenance, losing weight and gaining weight typically comes down to a math equation that determines your caloric intake versus your expenditure. I am going to explain in detail the difference between how many calories you need to lose, maintain and gain weight.

I want to make this as simple for you as possible. There are a ton of advanced (and very difficult to understand) formulas and calculators out there for achieving don't need those. In fact, by the time you are done going through the difficult process of understanding how many calories you are burning, you will be ready for a snack.

The average male burns 2000-2500 per day naturally. If you weight 150lbs, you are likely to be closer to the 2000 mark. If you weight 250lbs or over, you are going to be closer to the 2,500 mark.

For females, the average is 1,500 to 2,000. Older women and more slender women typically burn around 1,500 where a heavier set female will typically burn closer to 2,000 in their day to day activities.

Thse are both good starting points for how many calories you burn (before exercise). I am going to use these numbers in my upcoming examples and give you some nutrition guidelines as to what you can eat to maintain, gain, or lose weight depending on your weight, age, and gender.

(1) How Many Calories to Maintain Weight?

With no exercise:


A 250lb+ male would have to consume 2500 calories or less during a day.


-A slender or older women would have to consumer less than 1500 calories per day to maintain their weight -A heavier set women would have to consumer less than 2000 calories per day to maintain weight

With exercise:

Based on your daily exercise calories burned, you would be allowed to eat that much in relation to how many "extra" calories you burned. For example, one hour on the treadmill walking for a 250lb man at 4 miles per hour (briskly) would burn approximately 449 calories. A 150lb women doing the same thing would burn 269 calories.

That means that if you went for a 1 hour walk per day, you could indulge in those two extra granola bars. Sound worth it?

(2) How Many Calories to Lose Weight?

One pound of fat is approximately 3500 calories. This means that you have to burn 3500 more calories than you intake before you burn a pound of fat. Obviously there are other ways to alter body weight, primarily through water loss or retention, but natural and sustainable weight loss will happen when you lose body fat.

With no exercise:

With no exercise, you will need to eat less. This sounds unhealthy, but it is not necessarily. Most humans eat far too much food and intake more calories then we need. If you want to reverse that cycle, you can intake less calories than you burn. This does not mean you stop eating, however by cutting out a 100 calories here and 100 calories there, you are going to begin to see weight loss results.


If you are a male 250lbs+, you could aim for 2000 calories intake per day. This means you would be minus 500 calories net every day, which would lead to a full pound of fat loss per week. This is considerable and will show very quickly. Often times all it takes is substiting a piece of fruit for a cookie, or a light dressing for the full fat dressing.


A woman would typically want to cut down their calorie intake from 2000 calories to around 1500-1700. This will lead to close to a pound of weight loss per week. Again, it is all about making small changes. Don't stop eating, simply introduce new healthier foods to replace the unhealthy ones.

With exercise:

With exercise, you can considerably speed up weight loss, in particular if you intake less calories than your daily intake is. For example, if you are 250lb male and you burn 2500 calories naturally, and you burn an extra 500 calories per day on top of that, you are burning 3000 calories per day. This means that you could lose a pound per week by eating less than 2500 calories, or 2lbs per week by eating 2000 calories or less.

(3) How Many Calories to Gain Weight?

I was going to get into weight gain, but it is pretty obvious how to accomplish this. Most of us are great when it comes to gaining weight (just eat more), and the help is typically needed when it comes to understanding the calories need to maintain or lose weight.

I hope you found this article informative and if you have any feedback, please let me know below.

Street Talk


I find it much easier personally to "eat less" than to exercise more. I recently put this into action and went from running to walking and changed my diet slightly and was able to lose around 20lbs in six weeks. Do exercises that you find sustainable and eat what works for you...don't go on reverse binge diets, ones that focus on eating one thing or in one certain way. These will not allow you create "habits" out of being healthy.

  about 1 decade ago
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