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

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

Age

Gender

Weight

Height

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!

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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 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.

    Citations:

  • 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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202 Comments

  1. Espresso 2 months ago

    Hello everyone! I’ll be surprised if anyone notices my comment among the hundreds of others, but heres to hoping!

    So I am a 170 pound Female with a height of 5 ft 6 inches and my BMR was measured at 1600 and my TDEE with moderate 4-5 day exercise at 2,430. Im looking to have a 1000 calories a day diet where I focus on healthy foods and take a multivitamin every day to every other day.

    As for working out, I dont like being around large groups so i keep to myself and just stay at home using my stairs and treadmill for cardio along with basic stretching and the occasional weight lifting (using the heaviest things i can find in the house that i can hold in my palm). As for my cardio i have a preference to my treadmill and ill usually go 60-70 minutes for 3 days and 20-40 min the other two, and that lowering of time is really just so i dont exhaust myself and if im in too much pain from yesterday. I usually have my program choose my speeds and incline based on my heartrate but the usual is half of the time is 4 mph and the other half is 3.5 to 3.8 mph with an incline that adjusts between 3 to 7.

    In the end my question is, by doing all of this work and having a more extreme calorie deficit will I be able to lose at least 2 pounds a week, i understand of course that at the start it wont show due to underlying factors and that losing muscle goes along with the loss of fat however for my question im sticking to the weight im losing being 1/4 muscle and 3/4 fat, also with weights will i be able to keep and retain more muscle than if i didnt?

    Note: Ive done fasting and water fasting for years with no trouble at going 1 week to 3 weeks at a time however it did make me groggy to the point of fault so now im looking at this as a more easy going version of an intense diet. Also throughout my life after the age of 15 ive always eaten very little but i did binge a lot of unhealthy foods which caused the spike in weight gain, however ive stopped binging for a solid 2 years and find that when i do eat under 800 calories which is a normal for me I really only get light stomach pain after waking up which goes away quickly after an egg or a protein bar along with throughout the day at least 6 cups of 8oz water.

    To anyone who read through all of this, Thank You! Please also understand i am considered 20 pounds from obese (overweight at the moment, middle of the scale) so I do have the fat needed to handle less calories and of course the experience to go through with it and not give up 1 week in due to cravings like many who dont ease into their diets.

    Final note:
    I am open to finding individuals and groups that understand my mindset and are like minded or at least encouraging to allow us all to feel like were not in this alone, my family is incapable of joining me and my lover personally has his own diet plan which is more for muscle gain, which im fine with getting but prominently id like to focus on fast loss.

    My main fat areas are:
    ▪1 finger length (outward) of fat around my belly, squishy not hard and starts after my rib cage.
    ▪Love handles that dont show unless im slouched but im able to pinch and hold the fat in my fingers.
    ▪My face, ive got the onstart of a double chin that shows somewhat while im smiling and fat stored cheeks that are more prominent than my peers and family. Im able to gather in both areas fat in my fingers.
    ▪Finally the worst area and where I have the most fat, my whole thighs and somewhat of my ass, when i t started gaining weight i noticed it in my face and lower half but not my whole legs as ive always been a soccer player and runner and even when i let myself go i never built fat beyond my thighs, ass, belly, face, somewhat of back (love handles), and very minimal in my upper arm at the bottom but i also don’t work out that section of my arm.

    Please send me advice and feel free to ask questions if i wasnt clear enough or you need more info to better diagnose and answer my question! Also if you have suggested diets that fit what ive listed above and dont involve eating multiple meals throughout the day, feel free to post it and explain why you think its better!

    Noted that ive fluctuated for 2 years between 167 pounds and 171 pounds and as such im trying to break the cycle as just dieting didnt cause much of a change and neither did just working out, so im trying to combine them with a high calorie deficit to see results faster.

    My goal is to go from 170 with a good amount of water weight and fat to my medically advised weight of 140 or at least 145 in 3-5 months!

    Reply
  2. Tavimba 2 months ago

    Hello How do I tell the number of calories I’m eating

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer 2 months ago

      You have to track what you are eating. Most people use a food tracking app like MyFitnessPal for this.

      Reply
  3. Aaron ashok 2 months ago

    I’m a 15 y/o male and my TDEE is 1884 and my BMR is 1580 or so and I indulge in atleast 30 min of physical activities per day and my diet was up to 1000 calories a day to reduce my weight of 82 kg to 58 kg and now I’ve increased my diet intake to 1800 with my weight of 58 kg with not much exercise , would i lose, maintain or gain weight?

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer 2 months ago

      Hi Aaron, you should maintain at that but remember you are also still growing which this calculator doesn’t account for. You may want to aim for around 2000 calories a day and monitor your weight. Alternatively, you could search for a TDEE calculator that was designed for adolescents for a more accurate estimate.

      Reply
  4. Eram 2 months ago

    Hi there

    My weight is 86kg Female, 5 ft6, body fat 38% (Need to lose 30kilos) I eat around 1500, I work out 4 5 times a week. I was 90kg 3 months ago, my fat was 42.9% however I feel the fat loss isn’t enough ? Should I be eating more calories? How many calories do I eat on non workout days? Please advise.

    Reply
    • James 2 months ago

      Well done on the success so far. Sometimes the results from the calculators need to be tweaked for individual situations, particularly where there are higher amounts of fat to lose. In your situation please consider a coaching plan https://healthyeater.com/personal-coaching

      Reply
  5. Jess 2 months ago

    26 y/o female, 5ft 7inch, 245lb, Sedentary. It said that my TDEE is 2264 so should I be aiming to have no more than 1700 for weight loss? Absolutely desperate to loose weight, failed miserabley and over the months attempted to loose weight but just end up piling it on!

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer 2 months ago

      Hi Jess, That would be a good start, but because you have 50+ pounds to lose, calculators will give you slightly skewed results. It would be more beneficial if you ate around 1500 calories. If you exercise for at least 45 min, then eat at the 1700 level. If you want a more detailed plan and also support through the process please check out our coaching services.

      Reply
  6. Kim McMillan 3 months ago

    Also, not sure if I calculated my activity levels right – am I Lightly Active or Moderately Active? I chose Lightly due to my desk job. I am looking to lose weight, I would ideally like to be around 55kg.

    Reply
  7. Kim McMillan 3 months ago

    Hello!
    I am a 39 year old 5ft 2in Female, 58kg. I have a sedentary desk job (but a standing desk!) do HIIT for 45 mins 3/4 days per week plus weight lifting for 45min 2 days per week at F45. The calculator says my BMR is 1208Cal and my TDEE is 1661Cal – I have set my daily calorie intake at 1386 (or 5800KJ) Is this enough/too little?.. Your response would be greatly appreciated 🙂

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer 3 months ago

      Hi Kim, Head over to our Macro calculator which will adjust everything for weight loss. It seems like you should be giving yourself about 300 calories for your 45 minutes of exercise so select “light” or “moderate’ Based on that.

      Reply
  8. Anon 3 months ago

    20 y/o male, at 162lbs and 5’9”. I went on quite a strict calorie deficit back in February this year and managed to drop from 275lbs to my current weight (eating 1200-1500 calories a day). I’ve now been going to the gym 6 times a week (4 days weightlifting (1hr) with little cardio, 2 days focused just on cardio(1hr)) and also managing to get 13000-15000 steps done a day. My calorie intake at the moment has been ranging from 1500-2000 calories a day – is this correct or should I increase or decrease my intake?

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer 3 months ago

      Hey there, Great job on your weight loss! That’s a great achievement. It seems like if you want to be able to increase your lean mass with all that lifting, you’ll need to be eating more on days you’re working out. Head over to our macro calculator and select moderate for exercise and “lose 10” “high protein” This will put you in a slight deficit. See how your body responds and then you may want to increase your calories a bit more to focus on muscle building. The ultimate goal would be to have yourself in a small calorie surplus for muscle growth but not too much that you’re adding fat. That’s why gradually increasing can be best.

      Reply
  9. Stephanie 3 months ago

    28 yo female, at 196 and 5’4″. I’ve been stuck at this weight since starting a new job, which is rather sedentary (previously did a similar job but took the train to the city so I walked a lot before and after work). I’ve increased my caloric intake from 1500 to 1750 (now 500 below my needs) I was exhausted and always starving. I’ve started a new workout routine. (previously warm up, weights pyramid lifts, and stretch 4 days a week | now 30-minute cardio, with 20-second high-intensity intervals every 5 minutes 3 days a week) Wish me luck. Anyway, one of my concerns was that my caloric intake was too low, and impacting my metabolic rate. Any insight on this?

    Reply
    • James 3 months ago

      Yes, you’re previous intake was too low. You are at the right amount now. Persevere with this over the next few weeks and see how you go.

      Reply
  10. Elena 3 months ago

    I am a female , 36 years old . I train 5 to 6 days a week, 35-40 min a day( 4 days weight training + 2 HIIT ) for the last one and a half year . I eat around 1700 like 97% of the time . The thing is, I lost Nothing , not even one pound in tha last 14 months . I don’t know what I am doing wrong. I am 87 kg and I am stuck here no matter what …

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer 3 months ago

      Hi Elena, That sounds frustrating. It could be a number of things. But I imagine it has to do with over-estimating your calorie burn. If you need some expert help in determining what you should be eating, please consider one of our coaching options here.

      Reply
  11. Brad 3 months ago

    I’m 36yr Male and really struggling to figure out how to lose weight. Currently weighing in at 93kgs and 6ft tall. I would say my work is lightly active and after it I weight at the gym 5days/week for approx 1.5hrs, includes warm up and cool down on treadmill. My Fitbit calculates my TDEE at approx 3500-4000cals per day on average. I continue to add weight or maintain 92kgs unless I eat about 1750cals per day. This doesn’t seem to match any of the advice or calculates online and it’s really messing my my progress. I feel like there something else causing the issues. My Doc has done blood tests and all come up in tip top shape. I count calories religiously and still just cant figure it out. Is it possible that I need to still eat less? Please help im close to giving up on my weight loss goals!

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer 3 months ago

      Hi Brad, There’s probably a few things going on. If I were to coach you, I’d have to delve into your eating/dieting history and look at your macro percentages. I would also look at your muscle to fat ratio. If you’re hitting the gym heavy, you are probably gaining some muscle. Since it’s nothing medical, the answer is how you are eating and how you’re exercising. However, it’s a bit more involved than what I can offer here in the comments. Please consider one of our coaching options here.

      Reply
  12. Ulises 3 months ago

    Hi i am 18yrs old and usually do martial arts for 1hr and 30mins then head to the gym for 30-45mins. My bmr is 1690cals/day… I don’t know what kind of activity level i should put if im only training for about 2hours a day and should i take away calories from my bmr?!? I tend to eat at 1400cals a day and dont really get hungry but i am also at 18% body fat and 47% muscle mass… Only problem is that i dont know if im cutting out calories correctly!!! Please help im so lost!!!

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer 3 months ago

      It sounds like you are undereating. It also seems like you would be very active based on your exercise. I suggest that you have a look at our macro calculator which will let you choose 20% deficit or 10% deficit. It seems like at your stage you would want just a 10% deficit.

      Reply
  13. Kristy 5 months ago

    Hi im a 34 yr old female 166cm and 105kg i am breastfeeding and have an office job 5 days a week i try get to the gym at least twice a week. My tdee is 2089 and my bmr is 1747 so to lose weight does that mean i should be eating less than my bmr or around 1800 calories a day??

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer 5 months ago

      Hi Kristy, If your TDEE is 2089 after factoring for breastfeeding and exercise, you would then deduct 20% of those calories for weight loss. This would be 418 calories for a weight loss TDEE of 1671 calories per day.

      Reply
    • Mandy 4 months ago

      Kristy- you should look up IIFYM & Breastfeeding group on Facebook. The moderator is certified in calculating macros for breastfeeding women. She says that you should be eating 1800-2200 calories (at a minimum) so that your supply doesn’t tank. If you go with thr 1600 suggested here, as soon as you stop breastfeeding you would have to cut lower than the 1600 to lose anymore weight. As you stated your BMR is 1747. So, eating 1600 isn’t enough to sustain your basic bodily functions at rest.

      Reply
  14. Sam 5 months ago

    This could possibly be the most vauge and misleading calculator i have ever seen. The thing doesnt even ask for a body fat percentage ! Oh lord.

    Reply
    • James 5 months ago

      Perhaps instead of taking the time to write your hyperbole, you might have noticed that by clicking the Lean Mass formula, a box for entering your body fat percentage appears…

      Reply
  15. Cricket 5 months ago

    Hi there, Im a 38years old mother of two. I currently weigh 118kg. My TDEE is 2279 amd BMR is 1900. I have my food calculator set at 1900 cals/day and usually burn around 400cals on my elliptical 5 times a week…yet this week I gained 4lbs….Last week I was eating approx 2200-2700 cals a day but would workout for an hour on the elliptical at a 20 incline for an hour..burning approx. 830cals…I dont understand what Im doing wrong to cause this weight gain…PLEASE HELP

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer 5 months ago

      Hi Cricket, A couple things. Since you have excess fat tissue (>50 pounds/25 kgs), it is likely skewing the formula which is recommending you to eat more than you should be. Secondly, you need to deduct 20% from your TDEE to put yourself in a calorie deficit. Thirdly, you are overestimating your calorie burn for an hour on an elliptical. This means last week you were in a calorie surplus. I’d be happy to calculate everything correctly for you if you feel led to chose one of our coaching options. I think it would be beneficial for you since you won’t have success with traditional calculations.

      Reply
  16. Jennifer 6 months ago

    Hello,
    I am a 39 y/o female. I am currently 171 pounds. I have a desk job. I walk at a brisk pace for 2.5 hours at least 4 times a week for 2-3 miles. My TDEE is 1776 and my BMR is 1336. I use an app to track my food intake. I am currently eating around 1500 calories a day (this is up from 1300). I follow a LCHF lifestyle. My issue is I am getting light-headed every day. My Carb/Fat/Protein levels are as follows 20/120/94 which is 5%/25%/70%. Could you offer any advice on why I am light-headed and not losing weight? Additionally, my blood sugar stays in the high 60 to 80 range and I do not have diabetes of any sort.

    Reply
    • Jennifer 6 months ago

      The 2.5 hours on the first line was a mistake. It is less than an hour. My average pace is 17’07” MI.

      Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer 5 months ago

      Hi Jennifer,
      You aren’t eating enough carbs and too much protein. Your body is actually burning protein for energy which is not what you want. Protein is expensive and not an efficient energy source. I suggest you go with a more balanced approach. Check out our macro calculator and use “light” for the exercise setting. On a day you don’t walk you should be eating at sedentary levels. Don’t be afraid of carbs, they do not make people fat unless you eat them in excess.

      Reply
  17. Taz 6 months ago

    Hi, I am 37 years old, 173cm and 75kg, I work from home, 3 times a week I weight train (compound movements) followed by a 3 HIIT Cardio session, the rest of the day, until sleep I am just sat down working. I walk for 1 hour, 4 times a week to burn 300 calories. Apart from that I am sat down all day or doing very basic things. In the calculator would I put that down as Moderately Active? I am trying to burn belly fat and for the past 3months have not lost more than 3 pounds. My calories are 1840 with protein at 45% (207 grams) Fat 20% (41 grams) and Carbs 35% (161 grams). I was originally eating 2000 calories but I just was putting on more weight doing the same exercises.

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer 6 months ago

      Hi Taz, What you described sounds like light activity to me. This is probably why you aren’t losing very fast. You are in too little of a deficit and you are eating way too much protein! The only thing you are doing there is spending too much money and putting a strain on your kidneys at that amount.

      Reply
  18. Kirsty 6 months ago

    Hi, I’m a 25yr old girl, I have a office job but I do a combination of classes (AMRAP, boxing) and weight lifting around 5 times a week.. I am 5ft5 and weight 66kg currently. My BMR is accordingly 1480 I aim to eat 1500 but struggle to hit that at days. I currently do intermitting fasting so I have an eating window between 12-9 ish.. I am currently eating low fodmap due to unknown stomach issues (suspected colitis..?!)..

    In October I weighed 63kg and I went to 69kg.. I have only been gaining. I lost the recent weight due to illness.. I am baffled as to why I can’t loose any?!

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer 6 months ago

      Hi Kristy, Remeber your BMR is how many calories your body uses to keep your body alive without any skeletal movement. So, if you are eating barely 1500 and doing the intense type of exercise you described, you are not eating enough. Give this article a read. You have to support your exercise with the right nutrition.

      Reply
  19. Dee 6 months ago

    My TDEE is 1412. I am 5’2″, 66 years old, sedentary at the moment due to multiple issues, and currently weigh 151.8. I have been stalling for a month (lost 1/3 of a pound). I do low carb due to diabetes, i.e. have 30 or below carbs per day, 80 or below fat, and around 60-75 protein. I have lost 37 pounds since January but it slowed down considerably in the past 3 months, and now it is a snail’s pace. My goal is 127 or so and I was hoping to get there by the end of the year (in 5 months) but I don’t think that is going to happen. I have about 1050-1200 a day but sometimes go above a bit because it’s hard to do that and it screws with metabolism.

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer 6 months ago

      Hi Dee, There can be many reasons for a plateau but do try to eat at least 1200 calories per day. Eating too little can slow down your metabolism. Also, it’s a good idea to have a look at your thyroid function and other hormone levels.

      Reply
      • Dee 6 months ago

        I’ve had those checked recently (not sure if I’ve had all checked,but many)and they are ok.I know eating too little can slow down metabolism which why it becomes harder to lose each time or to keep weight off. I try to stay between 1100-1200-mostly I am closer to 1200 with some days higher so it probably averages out to 1200. I wish I knew the reasons for my plateau though! I’m getting upset as I also want my diabetic numbers down and I have sleep apnea and struggling with a minimal mask. Stress isn’t helping but I lost with stress before!

        Reply