TDEE Calculator : A Tool for Weight Loss That Trumps ALL Else

Use this calculator to quickly find your Total Daily Exercise Expenditure (TDEE).





Formula ?If you know your body fat %, Lean Mass formula may be more accurate.

Activity Level

Your TDEE is:

Not sure how to use this? Read on and find out!

As I’ve mentioned before my journey towards health (and looking like a greek god) is not an easy one.

Despite there being more information on health and fitness today than ever before, I’ve found myself getting confused and frustrated by all the mixed messages.

After what feels like 100’s of hours of research (I’m a geek), I’ve found a few principles that seem to be the “keys” to effective and sustainable weight loss. One of them is the importance of building healthy habits into your life. Another one is having the belief you can actually do it.

In this brief post we’ll talk about what I feel is the most important one of all.

TDEE – The Science Behind Weight Loss

Every day your body burns a specific number of calories just by existing. This is known as your Basal Metabolic Rate. The BMR is based on your weight, height, and age. (Calculate your BMR here)

When you exercise or simply expend energy through physical activity, you burn additional calories. When you combine your BMR with the calories you burn through physical activity, you get your Total Daily Energy Expenditure.

This is what is known as your maintenance calories. If you eat this amount of calories you will maintain your weight.

So How Do I Lose Weight?

You lose weight by having a calorie deficit.

A calorie deficit is eating less than your body needs to maintain itself and thus creating a deficit. Ever had more bills than you had money? You had a financial deficit. A calorie deficit is having less energy than you need to stay the same weight.

Let’s say that based on your age, weight, and height your BMR is 1700 calories and through some physical activity you end up with a TDEE of 2300 calories. To maintain your weight you simply eat 2300 calories every day.

To gain weight you eat more than your TDEE and to lose weight you eat less.

Of course, you can also achieve a deficit through burning more calories through exercise.

Every effective diet I’ve come across, whether it’s high fat, low fat, high carb, low carb, uses a calorie deficit to achieve weight loss.

how many calories to eat

How Many Calories Are We Talking?

Technically you can eat nothing all day and achieve weight loss through having a calorie deficit.

Many “miracle diets” claim incredible results through eating specific magical foods or using unique protocols. Unfortunately many diets out there are nothing more than glorified Crash Diets. These diets put you into severe caloric deficit resulting in, yes weight loss (usually short-term), but they can also cause health complications and damage to your metabolism.

To avoid doing damage, the general recommendation I’ve found and used is 500 calories less than your TDEE. Some people advise more, but I’ve found that to be unnecessary.

Also, having any more than a 500 calorie deficit makes it likely that along with losing fat you will lose lean muscle, which is not ideal as lean muscle helps burn additional calories.

There are 3500 calories in a pound of fat, so at 500 calories a day you will lose a pound in a week. (See how much exercise burns a pound of fat here.)

Note that your body can become conditioned to the same repeated exercise. This can affect your TDEE (see more about this).

get started

How Do I Get Started?

I suggest that you use Macro Counting to accomplish the goal of creating a calorie deficit in order to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way.

Counting Macros (a.k.a. flexible dieting) is non-restrictive and allows you to eat all of your favorite foods as long as they fit within your TDEE and macro goals.

You could eat unhealthy foods and still achieve weight loss (as demonstrated by The Twinkie Diet). but weight loss and health are not mutually exclusive. My advice would be to fill the majority of your diet with fresh veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, and lean meats. This way you can feel great AND achieve weight loss.

We have a multitude of Macro tracking resources on this site, plus a comprehensive program that you can buy and get started straight away.

Don’t get bogged down by the latest and greatest research coming out of universities you’ve never heard of. All the conflicting diets and controversial advice from health gurus are enough to give anyone a headache.

Focus on your TDEE, which has proven time and time again, to be the most important tool for weight loss and getting healthier.

Just remember that whatever you decide to eat – the above information is enough for the majority of the population to get started losing weight.

You'll Love Our Macro Solution Program

Step-by-step ebooks, or fully customized personal macros coaching. Now with complete vegan edition.


  • 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
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  1. Ann 1 week ago

    I am not losing any weight. I’ve been eating about 1600 calories a day for over three weeks. It just won’t budge. I weigh 178, female, 5’3” (I carry most of my weight in my legs and butt). I lift weights 2-3 times a week for ~20 minutes, and swim 2 days a week for 30 minutes.
    Any tips or advice? Should I lower my calories more??? Or should I try to increase and reset it? How does that work?
    Thank you!

    • Ted Kallmyer 1 week ago

      Do you know how many calories you had been eating prior to starting?

  2. janorius 2 months ago

    Thank you very much for the infomation…….

    • Antonio Escobedo 3 weeks ago

      I’m 5’5 150 pounds im trying to lose 20 pounds and only consume 1800 calories a day I walk 2 miles every morning and train in a boxing gym for two hours a day but I feel like I’m getting weaker and not losing weight is this because I’m not eating enough calories am I to active to only eat 1800 calories?

      • Ted Kallmyer 3 weeks ago

        Yes, you need to eat more. You want to be in no more than a 20% calorie deficit and this is really important for you because you don’t have much weight to lose and are exercising heavily.

  3. mohammad khalid 2 months ago

    sir if drink a nutritional shake with milk mix up(approximately having 240 calories of fat pro and carbs)having all micronutrients ….is it enough for me for fat lose effectively…instead of 240 calories…i eat only 760 calories from my normal diet…i mean i complete 1000 calorie diet ,..although my bmr with lightly active is 2300 calorie….and plz tell me how much i can go on deficit calorie intake..for fat lose…if i m a male and for female .?

  4. Mary 3 months ago

    I had my BMR tested and it said my BMR is 1710. I do yoga three days a week and HIIT three-4 days a week. But I have a sedentary job and other than my workouts, am pretty sedentary. Should I put light activity level or moderate for my TDEE calculation?

    • Ted Kallmyer 3 months ago

      It also depends on the duration of the exercise, so I couldn’t advise based on what you described.

  5. Michelle 3 months ago

    How should I adjust the calories and macros if I am breastfeeding ?

  6. Carolina 3 months ago

    Hi! I have a doubt regarding level of activity to select. I weight 141 pounds and are 5.4´ and want to go down to 121 pounds. I do weight training 3 times a week and spinning the other 3 days. Is this light or moderate? I´m asking because in light exercise I will have to eat 1350, isn´t this a bit low? Thanks so much for your help!

  7. Auburn 3 months ago

    So my tdee is 1619 calories. I’m 5’5 and weigh 125. I’m trying to lose weight (maybe 7-10 pounds) so should I go 500 under that? 1,119 calories a day? That seems a little low to me so I’m just checking.

    • Samantha 3 months ago

      I could be wrong but to avoId what I went through don’t go under the magic 1200 calories. I went on about 1000 calories a day (I’m 5’2) to lose 6 kgs and ended up with a low heart rate, didn’t lose any weight, was always tiredwhich ceased my training. Guess what got fat and became anxious.
      Hope you get a professional answer here