Use this TDEE calculator to quickly find your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (daily calorie needs).
Why is TDEE important?
Your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) tells you exactly how much you need to eat daily to maintain weight.
- Eat more than this, and you will gain weight.
- Eat less, and you will lose weight
This is called a calorie deficit – calculate it here.
Is TDEE and BMR the same?
No, they are not.
Every day your body burns a specific number of calories just by existing. This is known as your Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR.
BMR is based on your weight, height, and age but does not include daily activity or exercise.
TDEE is effectively your BMR + extra exercise or activity.
TDEE and BMR are not the same, and as most people do more than lie in bed each day, TDEE is a more helpful tool.
Should I eat my TDEE to lose weight?
No. Your TDEE shows you your daily maintenance calories. If you eat your TDEE, you will stay the same weight.
How do you calculate TDEE for weight loss?
You lose weight by having a calorie deficit.
A calorie deficit means eating less than your body needs to maintain itself.
Ever had more bills than you had money? You had a financial deficit.
A calorie deficit is consuming less energy than you need to stay the same weight.
TDEE Weight Loss Example
Let’s say your BMR is 1,700 calories per day. With some physical activity, you end up with a TDEE of 2300 calories.
To lose weight, you should consume around 1,840 calories per day.
How much should I subtract from TDEE?
After working with hundreds of successful clients, we’ve found a deficit of 20% from your TDEE is optimum.
You can also achieve a deficit by burning more calories through exercise.
Every effective diet, whether high fat, low fat, high carb, or low carb, uses a calorie deficit to achieve weight loss.
Why shouldn’t I subtract more calories?
Technically you could eat nothing all day and achieve weight loss through having a calorie deficit.
Reducing your calories by more than 20% may lead to loss of muscle. This is not desirable as muscle helps burn additional calories.
How long does it take to see results from a deficit?
There are 3500 calories in a pound of fat, so with a 20% calorie deficit, most people will lose about a pound a week.
Your body can become conditioned to repeated exercise affecting your calorie intake and TDEE.
So switch things up from time to time! Change exercise routines, intensity, and duration.
How to get results with TDEE and a calorie deficit
Macro counting is a great way to hit your daily calorie target. You lose weight healthily and sustainably.
Counting macros (and flexible dieting) is non-restrictive. It means you still eat your favorite foods – provided they fit within your TDEE and macro goals.
You could eat unhealthy foods and still achieve weight loss. – as demonstrated by the 27-pound weight loss of Dr. Mark Haub.
However, loading your diet with fresh veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, and lean meats is best. This way, you can feel awesome AND achieve weight loss.
Does it matter what I eat if I count calories?
Yes and no.
You could eat nothing but snack cakes or pizza and still lose weight – if you maintain a calorie deficit.
However, for healthy body composition, a balanced diet is recommended.
Tracking macros will ensure you get enough of each macronutrient and meet micronutrient needs.
Does TDEE include exercise?
Yes, the TDEE is your total daily energy expenditure, so it must include all the movement you do in 24 hours.
Even non-exercisers are still doing activities around the house – eating, showering, running errands, etc.
Don’t confuse TDEE with Resting Energy Expenditure (REE) or (Basal Metabolic Rate) BMR. These two represent your energy expenditure if you lay in bed all day and did absolutely nothing.
How do I measure my TDEE and calorie intake?
Use the calculator above. It uses the most common variables.
If you want a genuinely accurate TDEE – talk to a coach.
Totaling your calories for the day is usually done with a macro tracking app.
How often should I recalculate my TDEE?
It would be best if you recalculated your TDEE as you lost weight. Do this every 6-8 weeks.
How do I use TDEE to gain muscle?
Once you’ve calculated your TDEE in the calculator above, add 10% to the calorie amount. The new calorie amount gives you a good starting point for weight gain.
If you still aren’t gaining, move this to a 20% surplus (use the macro calculator).
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- Rising, R., Harper, I. T., Fontvielle, A. M., Ferraro, R. T., Spraul, M., & Ravussin, E. (1994). Determinants of total daily energy expenditure: variability in physical activity. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 59(4), 800-804. study link
- Schulz, L. O., & Schoeller, D. A. (1994). A compilation of total daily energy expenditures and body weights in healthy adults. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 60(5), 676-681. study link