How Many Calories Do You Need To Maintain Your Weight? [How To Calculate?]

We often associate calorie counting with losing weight, but this isn’t always the case.

If you’re happy with your current weight, you may also need to keep tabs on your calorie intake, so you can stay within your limits. 

How Many Calories Do You Need To Maintain Your Weight?  [How To Calculate?]

Once you’re comfortable with your weight, it can be easy to overeat or undereat, which can cause your body weight to fluctuate massively.

If you’ve found your ideal weight and you’re ready to stay there, stick with us to learn how many calories you need to maintain your weight and how to calculate them. 

How Many Calories Do You Need To Maintain Your Weight? 

If you’re trying to maintain your weight, you’ll be trying to strike the perfect balance between how many calories you consume and how many calories you burn.

However, the number you need to find that balance can differ from person to person, so how do you calculate how many calories you need to maintain your own weight? 

To understand how many calories you need to maintain your own weight, it’s important to understand exactly what factors influence your calorie expenditure and how to use this to estimate how much you should be eating to maintain your current weight

What Affects Your Daily Calorie Needs? 

To calculate how many calories you need to maintain your weight, you also need to understand how many calories you need for your daily energy expenditure.

Several factors can influence how much energy you burn, including: 

  • Physical activity
  • The thermic effect of food 
  • Your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) 

Physical Activity 

How physically active you are can significantly influence how many calories you burn.

If you’re not physically active, you’ll burn fewer calories than someone who’s doing more exercise.

If you’re more active, you’ll also require more calories than someone who’s not exercising. 

Thermic Effect Of Food

The thermic effect of food (TEF) simply refers to how much energy is needed to digest your food, absorb nutrients, and convert some of these nutrients into energy while storing others.

Approximately 10% of the energy you burn daily contributes to these functions. 

The thermic effect of your food can be affected by the composition of your meal, your age, and your activity level. 

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) 

If you spend time diving into the world of dieting, exercise, and calorie counting, you’d have heard the phrase ‘basal metabolic rate’ regularly.

Your basal metabolic rate is how much energy you burn each day performing life-sustaining functions, such as breathing and circulating blood. 

How much muscle and fat you have can also impact your basal metabolic rate.

If you have lots of lean muscle mass, you’ll burn more calories when resting than you would with fat mass.

So, if you’re leaner, you could burn more calories than someone who’s the same weight as you. 

Maintaining Your Weight: Calorie Requirements And Biological Sex 

How Many Calories Do You Need To Maintain Your Weight?  [How To Calculate?]

There are many factors that influence how many calories you need each day – one of the most significant ones is your sex.

The recommended daily calorie intake for women and men is different; for example, most women need between 1.800 to 2,400 calories a day to maintain their weight, while men need between 2,200 to 3,000 calories per day. 

Men require more calories than women, usually because they have a higher body mass and tend to carry more lean body mass than women. 

This rough guideline can be helpful for establishing how many calories we need; however, it’s still quite vague.

The estimated number of calories needed for men and women can vary by as much as 700 calories.

So, if you want to find something a little more specific, why not try this calculation? 

You can establish your specific calorie needs by figuring out your BMR. To determine your BMR, you’ll need to know your height in centimeters and your weight in kilograms.

Once you’ve established your weight and height, all you need to do is slot them into one of the calculations listed below: 

Male BMR: (9.99 x weight) + (6.25 x height) – (4.92  age) + 5

Female BMR: (9.99  weight) + (6.25 x height) – (4.92 x age) – 161

If you’re only performing a limited amount of exercise in the day, the number you get from your calculation will be your BMR.

If you’re doing more activity, you’ll need to multiply one of these numbers by your activity level: 

Low Activity 

  • Men: 1.11
  • Women: 1.2 

Medium Activity 

  • Men: 1.25
  • Women: 1.27

High Activity 

  • Men: 1.48 
  • Women: 1.45

If you perform this calculation correctly, the number you get will be the number of calories required to maintain your current weight. 

Other Factors that Influence Maintenance 

Maintaining your weight isn’t always easy, and even the most precise calculations may not be accurate.

Sometimes, factors beyond our control, such as our hormones, the types of food we consume, and our gut health, can affect how many calories we need to maintain our weight. 

  • Hormonal Impact: Our hormone levels can have a huge impact on our lives, including how we sleep, our stress levels, and even how our bodies regulate our weight. 
  • Diet: Unsurprisingly, not all calories are the same. If you’re living off a diet that’s high in fat and sugar, you may end up eating more processed than unprocessed food. This can lead to weight gain, and it can influence your body’s ability to maintain weight. 
  • Gut Health: Our gut microbiome can have a significant impact on our weight. If you have more bad bacteria in your gut than good, it may encourage weight gain and make it harder to maintain your weight. 

The Bottom Line 

Figuring out how many calories you need to maintain your weight always requires careful calculation.

The amount of calories you need is unique to you.

If you’re ready to maintain your weight, feel free to follow our calculations to establish your BMR, and adjust your diet and exercise levels accordingly.

Jenna Priestly
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