TDEE Calculator : Easily Calculate Your Daily Calorie Needs
Use this TDEE calculator to quickly find your Total Daily Exercise Expenditure also known as your calorie needs.
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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 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).
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.
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.
FAQs regarding your TDEE.
Does it Matter what you eat if you count calories?
Yes and no. Regarding weight loss, you can eat nothing but snack cakes or pizza and still lose weight if you maintain a calorie deficit. (This has been proven by several studies.) But in regards to healthy body composition and overall good health, a balanced diet is recommended. This is why we recommend tracking macros as a way to ensure that you are getting enough of each macronutrient and in turn micronutrients from ensuring that you are eating plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit.
Does TDEE include exercise?
Yes, the TDEE is your total daily energy expenditure so it should be factored to include all the movement you do in a 24 hour period. Even if you are sedentary there is still movement factored in because you are still doing activity around the house, eating, showering, running errands, etc. Don’t confuse TDEE for your REE which is your energy expenditure if you simply laid in bed all day and did absolutely nothing.
How can I calculate my calorie needs/intake?
Calculating your TDEE using the calculator above is also calculating your calories. Your TDEE is an estimation of how many calories you need in one day. Once you have your calories calculated, you can focus on reducing your calories in a way that will help you reach your fat loss goals. calculating your TDEE is one of the best ways to calculate your calories.
Just remember that whatever you decide to eat – the above information is enough for the majority of the population to get started losing weight.
How do I calculate my BMR For weight gain?
Calculating your BMR (basal metabolic rate) really isn’t a useful measure. This measurement is the calories your body uses to function absent of all movement and even digestion. Since no human exists in that context, the more accurate measure is The TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) which includes digestion and activity. Use your TDEE as the basis for calculating how much you should be eating for weight gain. Usually, adding 10% to your maintenance TDEE is a good starting place.
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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
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