How many calories do I need?

Before we can begin to assess our diet and find ways of losing weight, gaining weight, or maintaining a healthy weight we must first recognise how many calories per day we need to fuel our bodies.

The guidelines below are designed to help you maintain your weight. For a weight loss of 1lb per week you would need to cut back by 500 calories a day. If you want to lose weight it is very important to monitor the fat content of your meals.

WOMEN AVERAGE 2300 (weighing around 10 stone)
MEN AVERAGE 3000 (weighing around 11.5 stone)


The lighter you are the fewer calories you need.

Also take into consideration your level of activity. If you do a lot of exercise, our have a job that is very active, like a waitress or a builder you will need more energy. If you work in an office you require less. We need more calories when we are younger and less as we get older.

Here are some samples of how you might use up your daily calories:

Bowl fruit and fibre, skimmed milk 200 Bacon on Toast 400
Packet Crisps 130 Packet Crisps 130
Cup Soup 70 Bar Chocolate 200
Cheese and Coleslaw Sandwich 300 8 pints lager 1600
Apple 60 Kebab and chips 1000
Portion Roast Chicken 160 DAY’S TOTAL 3330
Mashed Potato 180
Peas 80
Boiled Carrots 15
Gooseberry Fool 200
Fruit Salad 120
2 large glasses white wine 300
Packet of salted nuts 250

You can see from these two examples how we can get our daily calorie requirement in differing ways! We all have bad days where we eat greasy food and drink too much, but try and make this less often and to eat a healthy balanced diet, such as sample one, at least most days. If you are careful most of the time you can get away with having a a bit of a treat, perhaps on the weekend!

If you are dieting it may help you to make a chart like this everyday, and look for ways to cut back on calories, for example here you could save 580 simply buy not having nuts in the evening and skipping the fool and bag of crisps. You still would be left with enough food to satisfy your hunger. To help you, you could buy a little Calorie Counter book to check values of foods you’re unsure of.

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