How Many Calories Should I Be Eating A Day?

But My fitness pal says I should be eating 1200 calories. 

I would love to get hold the person who decided to ‘blanket prescribe’ 1200 calories to everyone who signs up to my fitness pal. 

Let’s just be very clear here. 1200 calories, for most adults is low. Like really low. 

So this leaves the question. ‘But how many calories should I be eating? 

And the answer is……

Drum roll please 

‘It depends’ 

Ok I know that’s not helpful. 

But please hear me out. 

To GAIN weight. You eat MORE calories than you are burning. 

To LOSE weight. You need to burn more calories than you are eating. 

So to be ‘in a calorie surplus’ (gain)

Be in a calorie deficit (lose) 

Weight loss and gain is actually that simple. 

BUT diet plans, and shakes, and weight loss club won’t sell memberships or products if they let on it’s THAT SIMPLE. 

But the TRUTH is. IT IS. 

Since I can’t lie. Its calories in vs calories out. 

No matter how you sugar coat the diet and give it a fancy name and tell yourself you have to squeeze a grapefruit into your eye because Kylie did it and it speeds up fat loss…..

NO. you lose weight and I will keep saying it. BY EATING LESS THAN YOU BURN. 


Ok you could do a fancy equation here which will tell you how many calories your body burns at rest. 

BUT again. That’s a maths equation that doesn’t REALLY know you. 

So here are some steps to take to find out how many calories you need to eat. 

  1. Use an app like my fitness pal (MFP) to TRACK what you are eating. daily. That’s everything, the cookie you have on tea break, the milk in your tea. Don’t just track the ‘days you were good’ actually the best days to track are the weekends or the days you are more likely to have ‘overindulged’ because these are the days which could be stopping your weight loss. Remember IGNORE what it’s telling you to eat just use it to track your daily/weekly habits 
  2. Get a start weight. Do this first thing in the morning before breakfast then DO NOT GET ON THE SCALES again for another 2 weeks. When you do. Get on them at the same time of day etc as you did before. ** personally I prefer to go off how you look and feel but if you are serious you may want to get a start weight** 
  3. Track track track. Yes. Because if you don’t how will you know? Top tip. You can scan food items barcodes so MFP enters them for you. Look for the ‘green tick’ then you know this food is verified. E.g. putting 3 eggs look for  ‘egg’ with a green tick select 3. This is better than in putting’ scrambled eggs’ 
  4. Put each item in separate. Had a toby carvery? Put it all in separately e.g. ‘200g roast beef, 200g roast potatoes, bistro gravy, 20g cheese, cauliflower, 1 carrot, 1 large Yorkshire pudding’ if you don’t know amounts have a rough guess. I usually say a full fist of potato is probably between 150/200g. Drink 4 cups of tea a day? Just put 1 lot of milk in at the start of your day e.g. ‘200ml semi skimmed milk’ 
  5. Trust the process. Remember its CALORIES that matter not what you are eating (yet) 
  6. REMEMBER THE WEEKENDS. I can’t stress this enough. You can’t tell yourself ‘oh but I only eat 1500 calories a day and I’ve stayed the same’ and I’m STARVING’. when on Saturday and Sunday you ate (and drank) 3000. Because you might as well have eaten 2000 calories a day. A quick bit of maths….you eat 1500 cals 4 days a week (= 6000 calories) you might eat 2000 calories on Friday. Then 3000 for 2 days (=8000 calories) 6000+8000 = 14000. DIVIDE that by 7days = 2000 – so you are basically eating 2000 calories a day.  
  7. After 2 weeks get weighed. Gained weight? Eat less. Lost weight carry on! Stayed the same? Either do a bit more exercise or take some calories away. E.g. take 200 calories off your daily allowance. (This is 1400 calories a week probably what some people eat in a day)

AND THAT. Is why you aren’t losing weight! 

It’s hard to put this into a blog. BUT it’s also important to point out that you could not be losing weight because you are not eating enough. If you go to the gym, aren’t seeing changes but you are religiously sticking to calories and not over indulging then perhaps you are not eating enough to fuel your body and the workouts. You are finding the gym harder….you feel tired. Exhausted all the time. This is also a way to hinder results. 

But I feel like that is a blog for another day……

If of course this has left you confused at all please feel free to drop me a message here mailto: theladylifts@gmail.com  I’m happy to help 🙂 

It’s also worth mentioning with all my personal training I offer personalised diet and nutrition advice. I also offer online nutrition and diet advice. Where I can help you really find out how many calories you need and help you lead a healthier lifestyle with no fad diets. 

No need to live local. This can all be done online 🙂 

About the Author Victoria Hudson

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