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Related Tags (related articles): Diet (138), weight loss (123), exercise (284), Calorie (12), BMR (1), Basal Metabolic Rate (1), Harris Benedict Equation (1)

Calorie Counter - Determining Your Daily Calorie Needs

Submitted by Teo Graca | RSS Feed | Add Comment | Bookmark Me!

We burn calories every minute of every day, whether we are sleeping, laying on the couch, sitting in a chair or exercising. When it comes to weight loss or gain, there is no guess work - it's like running a car.* You need the calories (fuel), and you don't want to take in too little, or you might lose energy!

This article assumes you already know you the difference between good and bad food and are ready to focus on "how much" food, versus "what kind of food." Also, I don't believe it is healthy to lose or gain more than a 2 or 3 pounds each week. In this article, I focus on how to measure your progress so you can feel good about what you accomplish!

If you are looking to lose weight through a diet change, counting calories a great way to help you decide what works for you. It allows you to track what you are really putting into your body, instead of just guessing. I spent a little time today studying the two KEY and most used calculations, and then created the calculator below that uses them BOTH to determine your burn rate for calories. I found a lot of calculators out there, but none that combined both calculations. Enjoy!

The first is the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) formula from SCHOFIELD (1985), which uses height, weight, age and gender to calculate the calories you use daily. The only factor it omits is lean body mass, so the ratio of muscle-to-fat needs another formula.

The Harris-Benedict Equation is the second formula, which uses your activity level to estimate the number of calories you use daily. The BMR formula by itself is only accurate if your daily activity involves laying around in bed all day.

Pounds BMR Formula

  • Women: BMR = 655 + ( 4.35 x weight in pounds )
    + ( 4.7 x height in inches ) - ( 4.7 x age in years )
  • Men: BMR = 66 + ( 6.23 x weight in pounds )
    + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) - ( 6.8 x age in year )

Metric BMR Formula

  • Women: BMR = 655 + ( 9.6 x weight in kilos )
    + ( 1.8 x height in cm ) - ( 4.7 x age in years )
  • Men: BMR = 66 + ( 13.7 x weight in kilos )
    + ( 5 x height in cm ) - ( 6.8 x age in years )

Once you know your BMR, you can calculate your Daily Calorie Needs based on your activity level using the Harris Benedict Equation.

To determine your total daily calorie needs, multiply your BMR by the appropriate activity factor, as follows:

  • If you spend all day in bed
    Calorie-Calculation = BMR
  • If you are sedentary (little or no exercise)
    Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.2
  • If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week)
    Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.375
  • If you are moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week)
    Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.55
  • If you are very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week)
    Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.725
  • If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training)
    Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.9

Combining these two formulas gives you the total number of calories you need in order to maintain your current weight. Use the calculator below to determine the daily number of calories you need to gain or lose weight.

Determine Your Daily Calorie Burn To Accommodate Your Weight Loss Plan!

*Diet: The above information assumes you are eating nutritious foods (unprocessed, naturally grown, non-fried, etc.) that maintain proper PH levels in your body, not consuming poisons like artificial sweeteners, which can destroy your metabolism, and getting plenty of protein. If not, your burn rate could be significantly lower.

Example: A 180 pound woman, 5' 2" tall, age 38, with a sedentary activity level burns 1852.4 calories/day. If she reduced the calories in her diet 3500/week (500/day), she would lose a pound/week, OR if she increased her activity level to moderate with an exercise program and kept her existing diet, she would increase her burn rate to 2392.7 per day and burn more than 500 calories per day to lose a little more than a pound each week. Losing or gaining weight is a simple matter of burn rate versus the calories you consume.

Super Secret Information "They" Don't Want You To Know: There may be a genetic disposition to not taking care of yourself, but there is absolutely no genetic disposition to being fat or skinny - too much food and not enough exercise makes you fat, too much exercise and not enough food makes you skinny - calorie burn rate versus calorie intake - losing or gaining weight - it is all about the calories* - it's basic 3rd grade level math - the math most of us don't use for simple analysis of everyday life.

Using The Calculator: Find where you are today, then set the calculator weight for where you want to be and adjust your actual diet and activity level to match. Find and live your vision and you will get there! The calculator just helps you determine your path.

Conclusion: Combining a good exercise and diet program is important to maintaining your health and staying fit. For diet, counting calories gives you what you need to come up with the right program for you!


  • Alcohol stops all calories from food from being burned - alcohol is always processed first by your body - all other calories are turned into fat until the alcohol is processed.
  • Consider this too: There are 3,500 Calories per pound of human fat, so if you want to lose 1 pound each week, cut your calorie intake to 3,500 calories less than your burn rate, per week or increase your activity level.
  • Basic BMR: The Schofield equation used here is the standard used by the U.S. EPA’s APEX and SHEDS models and are judged to be the best representation of the general population. If you want details, you can browse through the 153 PDF file (EPA/600/R-06/129F from May 2009) available on official EPA site.
  • The Harris-Benedict equation sprang from a study by James Arthur Harris and Francis Gano Benedict, which was published in 1919 by the Carnegie Institution of Washington in the Monograph “A Biometric Study Of Basal Metabolism In Man”.

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