Just how many calories do you need?

Do you know how many you actually need to eat in a typical day? If you're like most people, then chances are you don't. But here are some guidelines to help you work out how many calories you need each day.

Just how many calories do you need?

If you're inactive

If you're inactive, you need about 28.6 calories per kilogram (13 calories per pound) of bodyweight.

For a 68 kilogram (150 pound) woman, that's about 1,950 calories a day. For a 79.5 kilogram (175 pound) man, it's about 2,275 calories a day.

If you're slightly active

You are considered slightly active if you have fewer than three exercise sessions a week, but are regularly on your feet. If you fall into this category, then you need about 31 calories per kilogram (14 calories per pound) to maintain your weight.

For a 68 kilogram (150 pound) woman, that's about 2,100 calories, and for a 79.5 kilogram (175 pound) man, around 2,450 calories.

If you're active

You're considered active if you're getting 30 to 60 minutes of exercise at least three times weekly. If you're in this category, you need about 33 calories per kilogram (15 calories per pound) of body weight.

For a 68 kilogram (150 pound) woman, that's around 2,250 calories. For a 79.5 kilogram (175 pound) man, that's about 2,625 calories.

Play the losing game

If you want to lose about 0.2 kilogram (1⁄2 pound) a week — a realistic goal for people who make small healthy lifestyle changes — you need to consume about 250 calories less per day.

Eating 125 fewer calories can be easy if you try things like choosing fruit instead of ice cream for dessert or resisting an afternoon snack of cake.

On the flip side, it's just as easy to add 125 calories of exercise with a 15-minute walk at lunch and another short jaunt after dinner. Or you could also wash the car, rake leaves and opt to use the stairs instead of the elevator.

Keep this information on calories and these ideas for successfully losing weight in mind to help you answer the question: just how many calories do I need?

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