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How Many Calories Are Required To Maintain My Weight?

Updated on July 24, 2012
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Maintaining your Weight

So you have finally met your goal and are at the weight you would like to maintain; you are probably wondering what you need to do to maintain your new body. So many people focus on losing weight and meeting their goal and then when the reach their goal they go back to eating like the used to eat. The fact is you needed to lose weight because your normal way of eating caused you to get heavier. Once you meet your goal you need to maintain your weight by watching the number of calories you eat and by making sure you maintain a somewhat active lifestyle.

Calculating your Baseline

To get started with maintaining your weight we need to determine a baseline. This is the number that will help us determine the rest of the numbers and finally the final number of calories you can eat each day and still maintain your weight.

Your Weight (lbs.) x 11 = Your Basic Caloric Needs

This is the approximate number of calories you will burn on a daily basis if you didn't eat or exercise. Since I can only assume you will eat and do some sort of activity this number is not very helpful. However, it's a good number to start with.

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How Active Are You?

Now that we have determined your basic needs, we need to determine how active you are. It is really important that you are honest with yourself. If you are mostly sitting on the couch each day and say you are moderately active you will likely begin to gain weight. If you enjoy your time on the internet or watching TV you are likely "Mostly Sedentary". If you go for a run or have a basic workout routine you are "moderately Active". If you are a professional athlete who trains on a daily basis you are a "Dedicated Exerciser". Please use the chart below for the next equation:

< 30 yrs. old
30-40 yrs. old
> 40 yrs old
Mostly Sedentary
Moderately Active
Dedicated Exerciser

Now you will probably want to grab a calculator for this next equation. For the following equation you will need to know your basic caloric needs which we determined using the equation above. The following equation will determine your metabolic rate.

Basic Caloric Needs x Percentage from the Chart = Your Metabolic Rate

Now that we know your caloric needs and your metabolic rate, we are getting closer to determining the number of calories you can eat in order to maintain your current weight.

Weight Loss and Building Muscle

If you are more interested in continuing your weight loss you should subtract 500 calories from your final total. This will allow you to lose weight at a healthy rate. You can also increase your activity to lose weight if you would rather eat your current number of calories..

To gain muscle you should increase your activity and lift weights on a regular basis. You will also want to add 500 calories to your final total. To gain muscle you should try to make sure that a large portion of these calories are made up of foods that are high in protein.

Number of Calories Needed To Maintain Weight

The last and final equation is really easy, all you need to do is add the two numbers together.

Basic Caloric Needs + Metabolic Rate = Calories to Maintain Weight

Remember that maintaining your weight isn't just about the number of calories that you eat. You should try to eat several small meals each day with a variety of proteins, carbohydrates and healthy fats. You should also try to exercise each day if you are not already doing so.

The best way to maintain your weight is to be mindful of what you are eating and to try to maintain an active lifestyle. Try to find an activity that you enjoy like a sport or swimming so that you can enjoy being active rather than turning the activity into work.


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    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 5 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Thanks, that's useful information. No matter how many fad diets and weight loss schemes come along, the fact is, if you take in more than you burn, you will gain weight.