How Many Calories Do You Really Need?


In a dream world, wine wouldn’t have calories, chocolate would count as a vegetable, and you could eat what you want, while maintaining a healthy weight. Unfortunately, the reality is that calories add up quickly—sometimes in a single takeout meal. And when you’re constantly bombarded with cues to eat, from tempting TV ads to unlimited office treats, it can seem like the world is sabotaging your efforts. But understanding how many calories you really need, and learning to spot where they’re coming from, is the first step toward achieving a healthy weight.

Is “2,000 Calories a Day” Right for You?

When the FDA updated the nutrition labels, they needed a nice round number to compare percent daily values to, so they chose 2,000 calories. It’s a rough average and not meant to be a recommendation for how many calories to eat. Although, on average, Americans eat 2,500 calories a day, so if everyone did eat 2,000 calories, the national weight might come down! But because you’re an individual, not an average, 2,000 calories a day probably isn’t the exact right number for you. View it as an easy way to understand food labels and a starting point to calculate your personal needs.

Figuring Out Your Personal Needs

The number of calories you need depends on your weight, height, age, gender, and activity level. There are a few ways you can work it out. The most accurate (and expensive!) way is to get into an insulated chamber to measure how much heat your body is producing. A much simpler way is to put your personal data into an equation. (Make sure you don’t overestimate how active you are—a mistake many people make!) Personal needs differ massively: If you’re a 6-foot-tall male olympic swimmer, you might need an outrageous 10,000 calories a day, but if you’re a 50-year-old woman and working in an office, you might only need a modest 1,800 calories a day.

How to Cut Calories to Lose Weight

When it comes to weight loss, what you eat (“calories in”) is more important than how much you exercise (“calories out”). Tracking calories is still the best way to get to know your numbers. Of course, nobody enjoys the tedium of recording every sip and morsel! But you’ll identify patterns and habits that may be holding you back from your weight loss goals, quickly spotting those excess calories from, say, weekly happy hours, daily candy bars, and pre-dinner crackers and cheese.

Try the food logging feature in the Fitbit app for at least three days (including one weekend day) to get a sense of how many calories you’re typically eating. Then come up with a new “calories in” goal to meet your weight goal. As a general guide, that should be 500 to 750 calories less than the average you logged for those first three days, but pick a reasonable number that you can stick to. Continue to log your food for a few weeks so you can track how closely you’re coming to your new calorie goal. When it comes to weight loss, consistently eating roughly the same amount of calories is key.

How to Lose 1 Pound per Week

You might have heard of the 3,500-calorie principle—eat 3,500 calories less per week (or 500 calories less per day) to lose 1 pound. Unfortunately, it’s an oversimplification. Why? Because, again, everyone’s needs are different, and everybody’s metabolism responds to changes in their diet in a different way! However, if you cut 500 calories a day, you’ll almost certainly lose weight. It might not be exactly 1 pound each week, but the numbers on the scale will start going down. Then to keep dropping, you’ll need to continue to monitor your calories and weight, and make adjustments to what you’re eating as your weight and metabolism changes.

How to Lose Up to 2 Pounds per Week (Don’t Go Too Low!)

Want to lose more weight, fast? There are a lot of weight loss programs out there that claim you’ll drop a significant number of pounds in just one week. And many of them seem promising at first glance. But rest assured, if something seems too good to be true, it almost always is. Cutting calories too much won’t deliver lasting weight loss results.

The lowest I’ll let clients slash their calories is 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day for women, 1,500 to 1,800 calories for men. Dipping below 1,200 calories is not a good idea—not only is it extremely difficult to maintain, but your basic metabolic needs won’t be met, and all you’ll end up with is a slowed metabolism. Not to mention disappointment when you’re not able to continue to eat so little, and the weight creeps back on. Sure, you might lose weight quickly in the first few weeks on a starvation diet, but it’s mostly just water weight. Stick with a more realistic low-calorie goal, and after the initial drop, aim for a slow and steady pace of no more than 2 pounds per week. At this rate, you’ll be more likely to stick to your new eating habits, and keep the weight off for good.

Once you understand how many calories you really need, and compare it to how much you’ve actually been eating, you will be empowered with real numbers and can start making lasting changes. You don’t need to keep a food log forever! But doing the math might force you to be more mindful, considering everything you put in your mouth, and allow you to reconnect with when you naturally feel hungry and full. Also, remember that what you eat is as important as how much you eat. Choose foods that nourish your body because of the nutrients they contain, not the calories they don’t. And unless you’re a serious athlete, view any exercise you do as an added bonus, not an excuse to chow down on more calories. Anyone who’s started going to the gym in the hopes of losing weight, but failed to change their eating habits, can attest to that!

188 Comments   Join the Conversation

188 CommentsLeave a comment

  • The metabolism doesn’t slow down if you go below 1200 calories, but it might get harder to get enough of the right nutrition (vitamins, minerals and especially protein). Slow metabolism is a myth, physically the body needs an amount of calories to stay alive, like heating, heartbeat etc. The amount of calorie needed for that does not drop, no matter how much you eat.
    With 1200kcals a day I lose weight very slowly or not at all, that is why I stick with 1000. I would go down even more if I had the discipline. But I don’t need to, as I just want to lose sone pounds.

      • I share your thyroid problem. I was able to take off a good portion of weight, but the last 50 pounds have proven problematic. My doctor has been monitoring the blood levels-may be getting an increase in synthroid soon….

        • What is synthroid? I have hypothyroidism and the medication I am on did nothing for my thyroid, but did mess up my heart rhythm. I am going to have a specialist check it out as my family has a history of having their removed. I put on 50 lbs and no matter what I do it will not come off.

          • Synthroid is a common medication for hypothyroidism/under active thyroid. Another name for the same medication is levothyroxine, which is the generic version & what I’m on. Both come in Micrograms rather than milligrams (.50 mcg, .75 mcg are most common dosages.) If this is a new diagnosis for u, it will take some time for the medication to work properly & to find the exact anout ur body needs to bring your thyroid levels back to normal. Even once that’s been achieved, you should have yearly Physicals (covered in full by all health insurance once a year as a preventive screening, As well as Paps, Mammograms.) Your PCP should do a complete blood workup at that time & keep an eye out for any changes over time. My thyroid was stable w/medication for yrs but dropped again recently, so my PCP raised my medication dose. Now instead of 1 tab daily, I take 2 tabs on Monday & one tab the rest of the w/o & I’m back on track. There is definitely a science to getting it rt & a little trail & error. I hope that helps some. I think the original comment on here re: metabolism, was meant as a general concept for an average, healthy (as in no medical issues) person. It may be harder to loose weight rt now but not impossible. Log your daily calories, after at least 3 days (including a weekend) push to reduce your calories & much as u feel u can maintain. Until your thyroid is at its proper level, u may need to reduce your calories more than the “average” person. Although I’ve done 1000 cal. Myself, it’s hard & most people don’t recommend dropping below 1200. Unless you train really hard, no one needs 2000 + calories but Lord knows I can eat them lol. Take full advantage if ur fitbit & especially the fitbit community & challenges! It will motivate u to raise your step count, which will only help more. Best of luck & stay on those doctors & consistent w/your Dr. Appts until they get your meds right. ☺

          • I too am on synthroid and it’s suppose to speed up my metabolism but I don’t think it’s doing anything but make be gain. The doctor told me that I have to take it by itself with a full glass is room temp water first thing in morning a half before other meds. It did help. So many times when then prescribe meds they don’t take the time to explain the right way of taking it. Hopes this helps.

        • Hi Cindy,

          That’s what my dr did. I had hypothyroidism 3 years ago with a serious weight problem so my dr increased my Synthroid in an attempt to allow my body’s metabolism to speed up and help me lose weight; however, my labs started coming back normal without taking Synthroid so he took me off thyroid meds. I’m trying my best to utilize my fitbit and app in conjunction with MyFitnessPal in order to track nutrition, sleep, exercise, & weight loss. Numbers don’t lie. I’m also thinking I will add a multivitamin supplement as a “food” in MyFitnessPal and include the nutritional values so I don’t fall short on nutrition with my allotted 1,200 calories per day. I did this once before to track taking my daily meds and it worked great… it’s just a little time consuming to do the initial setup though but the fitbit has inspired me to move about and to work on better sleep habits in order to become healthier. Good luck, Cindy! 🙂

      • If slow metabolism is a myth then why did you just say you have a slow metabolism? If its a myth its impossible to have no matter what the case is, just food for thought. I thought your comment was funny I mean no disrespect hey I might of read it wrong for all I know.

    • This is an oversimplification. Basal metabolic rate actually adjusts to your intake, to a certain extent. The body essentially, in a state of scarcity, becomes more efficient with the calories it burns; conversely, in a state of abundance, the body becomes less efficient.

      The other concern is that you can send your metabolism into shock by reducing intake drastically. People should lose or gain weight slowly: 0.5-1.0 lbs/week. That’s equivalent to roughly 250-500 calories/day.

      • I bought the fit bit scale, it shows that I have lost 4.5 lbs as of the 16th of July. I’m very active and I am eating as recommended by the Fit Bit I’m eating at least 1500 calories per day. I walk at least 10k steps per day, I also workout and do yoga and palates . Due to my thyroid I have put on some waight,Should I be worried about loosing weigh this fast? Oddly enough I feel full and eat throughout the day.

      • 250 – 500 calories per day… less than my usual diet? Or total intake per day?

        Sorry, I’m 38 and my mum just had heart surgery and my husband has diabetes and I have major mental health issues and this is the first time I’ve ever looked at diet and exercise, ever. It’s really confusing!!

  • I must say, your blog contains utterly unique information. I have read so many blogs regarding fitness, all in all I found discussion about what to eat only. I found something new in your blog, simple points which you have mentioned above; I think this is the real information to figure out all necessary things for fitness. Thanks for sharing.

  • My weight is 194 lb. And I would like to know Wichita is my safe heart rate…. when I do exercise I get tired too easy…. thankyou.

    • I thought subtract your age from 220 ( female) and at 40% you begin to burn fat, do not go over 60% or you begin to burn muscle. Give it a try and go slow and build yourself up.

      • I don’t eat very much due to a thyroid problem. and also with dentures that don;t chew food ,like protein. people say I don’t eat enough that is why I cant lose weight
        Is this possible to under eat ,even if it is constant.

        • I just saw a dietitian and she said I was eating too few calories at 1200. I workout hard 6 days a week and average walking 20 miles a week and I wasn’t losing fat. I was gaining muscle and weight. The dietician said I should eat 1500 calories a day and make up the calories I burn off with exercise to get them back up to the 1500.

      • Daisies68, I sometimes don’t feel like eating breakfast,but i may toast bread and have sugar free jam.
        I have a snack with some crackers or a piece of fruit, or tuna and for dinner I would like chicken made different ways, fish broiled or just a lot of vegetables on top of some pasta.

        • Vix: 166 Beats per minute. When you go to the doctor and they check your blood pressure and heart rate, if you are healthy, your heart rate should be about 75 to 90. So as you work out the heart rate goes higher. You need to keep track of those beats per minute. Actually, what you need though is 40% of that 166. And what she had said was 40% is good but definitely don’t go over 60%. 166 is extremely high, so by taking only 40% you are still higher than at rest, but not dangerous.

    • Well Maria, your safe heart rate could very well be Wichita. But do understand, everyone’s body is different. Your safe heart rate could also be Miami, or San Francisco. Just don’t let it ever get to “Las Vegas” level!

  • Hi
    Love my Blaze, new to Fitbit. One change I’d like to see is being able to just load consumed calories instead of the tedious task of filling it out.
    I count 7 areas daily. Takes time, but keeps me focused. I measure saturated fat, calories, carbs, fibre, sodium, cholesterol and Protein. If there was just a way to put your calories (maybe more) in like you do with your water. Thanks

    • Hi Ed! I sometimes have to do this as well. There are other websites that do that (at least for calories) and allow you to link your to your FitBit account and it will transfer the calories over. I log my calories on the SparkPeople website or app and then it transfers the calories over to my FitBit account!

      • I walk my dog five miles everyday do 1000 steps takes me 96 minutes every morning I am sixty have a lot of pains in my legs bottom of my feet am I doing something wrong.

        • Marboretum mcmanus, you should try some new tennis shoes if yours are worn out. If they are not worn out, you should go see your doctor and then tell them everything you said in your comment.

        • It may be your shoes/feet. Go to a specialty shoe where they will analyze your walking gait, foot pattern & find the right shoe for you. Or you can get a referral from your primary care dr to see a podiatrist to see if you have flat feet or other foot issues.

    • I agree! Love my Blaze. Have kept food logs off and on for years, tedious for sure. It does enlighten you as to how many calories you Really are consuming. But, I find it easier to log food intake with paper and pen! IKR!

      • I myself use to log calories you just scan the barcode off packages quickly adjust the serving size and your off.

    • My dietician says the macro counting is a fad and totally unnecessary. She said count calories only and my plate should contain 1/4 protein (3oz is a serving), 1/4 whole grains and 1/2 fruits and vegetables. I can have a very limited amount of healthy fats such as a little butter on toast for veg.

  • I am on weight watchers and eat 30 points each day. Cannot get anyone to translate that to number of calories. I know when I walk 11,000 steps a day I can burn 1800 calories. Can anyone translate weight watcher points to number of calories?

    • Sorry it can’t really be done I am on weight watchers too and because our fruit is 0 we don’t count it so most days my 30 points range between 1190 and 1480 I track here and write it done on my tracker in points. It is more work but nice to see the amounts of calories in and burned for seeing my losses. Good luck You can do it!

    • Hi Rani! I don’t really think that’s possible. Weight Watchers points are based on more than just the calories in the food. Things like fiber and fat are also taken in to consideration when they calculate points. I believe if you have Weight Watchers online, you can link your FitBit to your WeightWatchers account and track everything on their website. Hope you find something that works for you!

      • That is a good rough average but it does all depend on the type of food you are eating. For instance, certain foods are only 20 or 30 calories per point (especially if they contain sugar); this means they are high point foods. Whereas, if the food is high in lean protein like chicken, turkey, fish, it will be much higher in calories per point, up to about 60 calories per point for chicken for instance. If you tracked both for a few days, you could get a fairly good idea judging from your own individual eating patterns. Sorry if this is confusing but I have been on WW for 16 years and when I first joined they told me 60 calories per point but the point formulas change over the years. I would say right now it actually averages out to about 45 calories per point, the way I eat. For instance, an egg is 70 calories and 2 points so if you eat a lot of eggs that would lower your average calories per point. Same with fish and very lean protein. Hope this helps.

    • Look at the ingredient panel to see how many calories are in the food you are eating… Keep a log and add it up at the end of the day.

    • I have a few friends who have been on WW, and I could never understand their point system no matter how hard they try to explain it to me. I think simply keeping a list of actual calories of your daily food intake would get you a more accurate idea of what you’re consuming, and once you’ve done that for a week or so, maybe you can compare the calories to the points?

    • I was told that you can approximate 50 calories per weights watchers point if you need to guess on a food. So your 30 points would be 1500 calories. However, you’d have to also add on the calories for any “0” point food like fruits and vegetables. That might help a little.

      • This is a ridiculous method. If your calorie deficit needs to be for e.g 500 a day to lose weight and that is 1500 calories you can’t then go ahead and eat a shed load of fruit because they are “free” as they also have calories. WW does not educate you about calories, macros etc.

    • An internet search provided this info:
      Divide the number of calories by 50. Every 50 calories is equal to one Point.

      Divide the total number of fat grams by twelve to determine fat Points.

      • How about just working out stay active burn calories than you eat less junk and feel better stay fit and forget the multiplication any additions and subtracting calories I’m a retired vet and I simply barn more calories than I eat I almost never stop moving doing something always then sleep

    • I’m on ww’s also. If you use online e-tools when you enter food it will give you calories along with other breakdowns. I found that I was eating about 1300 calories for the 30 points with what I ate.

    • That’s because there is no direct correlation between weight watchers points and calories. The points are assigned based on the type of food and its mix of fat, protein, sugar content, and fiber. In addition, many foods (fresh fruit for example) are zero points, even though fruit has tons of sugar and calories.

      The only way to accurately track your calories is to log your food in an app like myfitnesspal.

    • Hi Rani. How do you find out that if you do 11000 steps you burn 1800 calories. I did 27000 steps yesterday and only burned 2700 calories. Is my tracker not working right?

      • That was their total for the day. I am pretty sure that includes her basis metabolic rate in the total. Fitbit adds this to the calorie burnt. One way to confirm is to look at your calories burned when you wake up. Fitbit starts over at midnight in your time zone. So if you wake up a say 6:00 am you will have already logged 1/4 of you bmr before you take your first steps.

      • What was your heart rate? Because of my medication and my heart I can be exercising and burning calories while still laying in bed… is crazy. Your heart rate will determine I believe how many calories you burn. I could be wrong…….but I know my fitbit shows I am burning calories and not even moving.

      • Depends on your weight and metabolism
        A heavier and or more unfit person will burn more calories during any activity than a thinner fitter person.

        I personally have lost 14 kilos and have had to become more active or decrease calories to continue to lose weight

    • Can you tell me how to sync my fit-bit alta with MyfitnessPal app please? I’m using both but can’t seem to figure out how to sync them.

    • My fitbit won’t sync with MyFitnessPal, unfortunately, and customer service has not done anything to resolve.

      • I used to use myfitnesspal, but now use nutracheck , they link to each other, I get my fitbit steps and any other exericse onto nutrachecker and my calories go onto fitbit, it’s brilliant. It’s not free but not too expensive, I think it was less than £30 per year. when I struggled to connect it to fitbit I emailed customer service and it took them approx an hour to sort it for me.

  • As I am sure you are aware, everyone is different. So general guidelines can be useful, but they won’t be applicable to everyone. I was 336 lbs, and decided that I needed to lose weight fast. In 11 months I have lost 140 lbs, and I am now maintaining my weight. As the maths shows I was losing 4 lbs a week by making sure by calorie expenditure was 2000 calories more than my consumption. Having achieved my goal I am now levelling the figures out.

    But I maintained that weight loss by controlling my eating and exercising strongly without much noticeable hardship. Commitment and dedication, yes, but not suffering. My Fitbit and Aria were essential in monitoring this.

    • Hi David,
      Could you explain more about your regime? After taking an office job in October of last year I’ve been gaining weight quickly, as a result I’m extremely depressed. I know I need to watch my calories but is there anything else that helped you? Any shakes even?

      • I had a similar experience and the answer is actually simple, but definitely requires commitment: Just log it. Always. There is a mantra that “whatever is measured improves”. Force yourself to measure it every single time you eat something. Just do it without setting a weightloss goal, then once you see how much you are eating, decide on a target weight and set your goal. It took me 3 months before I saw any weightloss on average (weight loss is never always negative it looks like a hospital heartrate monitor turned sligthly on it’s side) if you keep with a consitenty goal (mine was 750 deficit but I usually floated around 500 Calories per day deficit in actuality). In 1 year, 2 weeks I lost 40 lbs from 215 to 158 at the lowest point (I increased my physical activity consistently during the timeframe. At my peak, I walked to work about a mile every day, walked 5-10 min every few hrs (these were the most important), did some strength training 3 or so days a week (Aerial, Skiing, weights depending on the week) and biked 4+ miles once per week during the summer. Exercise just made it go from effort to have a deficit to sweet, I can eat exactly as much as I want because I burned 300 calories more and so I can have a piece of pie for dessert. Using a product like Blue Apron which has calorie counts in the meal helped significantly as well. Without a simple source of Calorie values provided, it would have been a lot of effort to realize I was overeating about 100-200 calories per day before I started trying to lose weight. Another good note was to measure fat %, not weight or BMI. If you are exercising as well as eating less, you will not change weight frequently, but a good week of exercise and eating less will decrease your fat percentage by ~.05%.

      • I had the same issue as you. I spoke with a nutritionist and I needed to boost my metabolism. I was already walking and eating healthier so she suggested to cut back on my three main meals and add a morning and afternoon snack. It helped..
        Best of Luck

    • Thanks for this statement. I started at 345 and am at 330 now, with 240 as my goal. This gives me a more concrete idea of what my intake vs. expenditure sure be, looking to be fairly aggressive with it as you were. Thanks!

  • Unfortunately the Fitbit weekly report no longer summarizes calories in. Therefore, an important tool for using the Fitbit is negated. Reinstate calories in for the weekly report and this article for losing weight would then be useful.

  • I have had a total hysterectomy and I watch my calorie intake and exercise daily and I struggle with losing weight. Any advice??

  • I expend more calories than take in every single day. I walk 8-10,000 steps daily and am active 60+ minutes daily, and I either stay the same or gain. This is very frustrating. Any suggestions?

    • Try measuring your fat % instead of weight. I stayed constant weight/gained for about 3 months before seeing any weight loss being, however fat % decreased throughout the time consistently.

    • It may sound crazy, but you may see a change if you increase your calories. I have had this happen to me and I have read that this is what many others had to do for the scale to move. (But, I don’t know any of your numbers or anything)

  • This article seems to make sense. Keeping a journal is very important. I am on OptiFast diet supervised by an obese specialist. Once I transition into food I will be on 1200calories. I hope to lose 1-2 lbs per week.
    Thanks for good advice.

  • Being a senior male (71) with a very slow metabolism means that I cannot eat more than 1000 calories a day to keep from gaining weight. You need to further qualify your generalizations.

  • I appreciate your info, however, my Fitbit will only “allow” me approximately 1000 calories a day if I’m just doing 250 steps for 10 hours a day in addition to regular daily activity. However on days I exercise (requires 20 minutes of fat burn heart rate) or get extra activity minutes for keeping heart rate elevated for at least 10 minutes THEN Fitbit allows me 200-500 more calories. So your info contradicts what the app does. It’s shaming to consume barely 1000 calories and have it show you, you are in red zone and have exceeded your daily calories. Then on days when I’m much more active, I’m so much less hungry and am way under. I log everything in app and find it helpful and keeps me from making bad choices. I guess I’m confused as I know my caloric intake isn’t supposed to be this low. I don’t think enough calories are rewarded for exercise/activity and I know that I’m not alone in that. I just feel Fitbit condoning such few calories is a slippery slope as many have past histories of eating issues and this can trigger old mindsets. If you are listing an unrealistic goal and picking the fastest of three options to get there and can only do that unhealthily, they should let you know this isn’t safe or something.

  • I see where it sy you can figure your needs by an equation, but it doesn’t give it. I am a nearly 60 year old man that is 6 feet tall. I weigh between 168 and 172 depending on conditions (pizza night, scale before bathroom, etc.) But my calorie burned according to my fitbit always exceeds my intake. My weight stay pretty steady and is not an issue, I would just like to know if I am eating enough to stay healthy. I fear empty calories from soda are carrying me.

  • I see where it says you can figure your needs by an equation, but it doesn’t give it. I am a nearly 60 year old man that is 6 feet tall. I weigh between 168 and 172 depending on conditions (pizza night, scale before bathroom, etc.) But my calorie burned according to my fitbit always exceeds my intake. My weight stay pretty steady and is not an issue, I would just like to know if I am eating enough to stay healthy. I fear empty calories from soda are carrying me.

  • I am a 70 year old male, and have lost 60 pounds in the past 18 months. Getting my BMI down to 23.7 from 30.

    My Dr. thinks this is a good weight for me since I am carrying weight from skin that I just can’t get to shrink back.

    I now am on an 1800 cal. Diet just maintaining, but my net runs about 1400 cal. A day with my 20,000 step a day exercising program.

    Is this typical of what someone my age can expect to maintain my weight

  • So, I was hoping to get some kind of formula from this article to determine how many calories I should eat a day. I am an almost 64 year old woman who is 5 feet tall and weighs 112 lbs. I walk at least 10,000 steps a day most of which is done in a vigorous walk up and down several hills that is around 3 miles. So how do I figure this or what’s the answer?

  • On the fitbit it says I burn between 1200 (with no exercise) and 1600 (walking 3 miles) calories a day. That means in order to lose weight I have to eat between 700 and 1200 calories. On the days I can’t walk 3 miles looks like I can’t eat! Does this make sense? Thanks for your advice!

  • I constantly seem to sabotage my own efforts any suggestions. I see results and slip back very quickly. I have a lot to loose and after a few pounds I feel so much better I tend to reward myself. it seriously makes me mad

    • I am 199lbs and 2 years older than you and I have been on 1400 and have lost 10lb so far, but I have a wedding coming up in 3 weeks so I am reducing to 1200 until after the wedding., I do a lot of exercise as well, aerobic,s swimming and cycling.

  • If I eat 1200 a day and am very active, am I in danger of slowing my metabolism? I’m hiking 5-8 miles a day and have been cutting back on food and only eating whole foods. Help? Want to loose but also concerned about slowing metabolism

  • I’m 82 years old,(age 12 inside and holding) and use your menue calorie counter every day. Over the last 2 months I have been able to bring my weight down from 212 lbs to 196.6 today. It’s been a real pain in the a** but well worth it. At an average 1500 calories and 4000 steps a day I stay within 6 ounces of my 195 lb goal. Eating out I gain over a lb and take it off the next day. Any thoughts?

  • I really never drink water. May I ask just how bad I might be hurting myself. I know I drink to much coke and about a half gallon of milk everyday. In the summer I drink about a gallon of Gatorade everyday. I am 57 years old.

  • Really Cool article! I already knew a bunch of those information but it’s always good to have a good reminder. I love reading about health and nutrition really is part of my life now with yoga of course 🙂
    thanks again!

  • Suggested reading: Scientific American Magazine article “The Exercise Paradox.” February 2017. The article reports on metabolism studies that show calories burned in exercise have little or no effect on the total calories burned in normal daily activity. One interesting section is titled “Lies My FitBit Told Me.”

  • I’ve done just about every weight loss plan there is, and I’ve found the hard way that you need to find what’s right for you. I’m 5’8″ with a large frame, and it was recommended to me by a nutritionist to cut my calories to 1200 per day and don’t add calories for exercise. I lost almost 20 pounds in 6 months – not exciting results – and then my hair started falling out in handfuls, and I couldn’t lose any more weight at all! That was at 1200 calories a day and cardio at least 5 times a week at 400-500 calories burned per session. I gained 10 pounds back within 2 months, still eating less than 1700 calories a day and still exercising. I’m now at 1500 calories a day (not subtracting for exercise) and I’m careful that with exercise I don’t fall below 1000 calories a day. What was most important for me was cutting sugar and simple carbs from my diet almost 100%. I’ve lost the 10 pounds I gained and I’m making slow, steady progress. So far, my hair is staying put this time. I also changed my outlook; it’s a lifestyle change, not a diet. I’m diabetic, and I’m doing it for my health and not for looks. My goal is to live to be 100, and I just can’t do that eating simple carbs.

  • I just love my Fitbit flex. It just makes me want to meet be more. I’m also a lifetime weight watcher member. I was 186 when I joined in 2001. I am now 118. But not just because of ww. In March of 2015, I still weighed at 150. Then I was introduced to this company called Arbonne. A nutrition and anti-aging company. Their nutrition products are fantastic. I’ve seen my weight go down since I’ve been doing their protein shakes and detox. Message me if anyone wants more info

  • I know many in the know tell us to only loose 1 to 2 lbs per week, but that is too discouraging. I have too much to lose to look forward to the ‘diet’ phase that long. Once discourage, I tend to just give up. I love the fitbit. I don’t mind logging my food and it gives me the information I need to lose weight, no matter what my day is like. I’m a self-employed accountant. Needless to say, I sit a lot. Plus, I take whatever I can eat at a desk for lunch that won’t make a mess and I don’t have to cook. I go from client to client with no breaks. There has to be a safe plan for people like me. I need a book that lists grab-and-go food that won’t add weight.

  • I really am a “size zero” in dress pattern honest inch sizes petite size 8 to 10 where there is little vertical space to park a few “extra” pounds of lard gut without looking twice as waddlesome.

    it was the now almost extinct family doctor who referred,with written tax deductable referral to the local hospital complex for a fitness evaluation to kick start my program that started about two years agifo.

    if you are both short, small boned AND fat, you are double whammied if under five foot four, the “size zero”you mentoned.

    Current fun tip this week, watch PBS Queen Victoria,who was also notably small non queenly size as well.

    • Apparently when you plateau it is a good thing, it means your body is getting itself sorted with the new diet you are on. Keep going and eventually you will start losing weight

  • Joyce , I also struggle with weight loss , IVe been. In a wheelchair now for 4 years cause of a dr. Who screwed up my surgery twice. ,and therefor I ended up having 8 knee replacements and revisions .I remember having to go to a dr. For being anorexic for multiple years and now I’m not getting the exercise by being wheelchair bound .im 58 years young , but darn it I have to lose weight big time any suggestions. Thank u in advance !


  • For me tracking my food intake and my exercise is the key to my 60lb weight lose and keeping it off for 1.5 years now. Because I have yo-yo dieted so many times in the past, at this point I am not sure I will ever feel like I can stop tracking. This is the longest I’ve been able to keep the weight off so, at this point, I’m not sure I will ever feel like I will be able to keep it off without continuing to track. It seems like a hassle sometimes, but I’m sticking with it as long as it is working!

  • I agree with Jay. if I followed her advice I would regain the 80 pounds I have lost My Fitbit and my results from the height, weight etc formula are 1200 calories per day so that is the number I pay attention to.

  • I agree with Jay. if I followed her advice I would regain the 80 pounds I have lost My Fitbit and my results from the height, weight etc formula are 1200 calories per day so that is the number I pay attention to.

  • I would to have a more accurate idea of calories I need given that I don’t have a working thyroid and am dependent upon daily medication. Weight loss is very difficult for me being postmenopausal as well.

    • I am 67 woman who has had a thyroidectomy. I am on weight watchers and have lost and have lost 38 pounds so far, My fitbit helps keep me more active. It is possible for older thyroid patients to lose weight, just maybe not as fast as we would like.

  • I am a 63-year-old woman with medical problems that slows down my abilities to exercise. I began working out last year of March and my beginning weight was 274 I’m down to 251. what can I do to speed up the weight-loss?

  • Hi Tracy and greetings from South Africa!

    Thanks for the great articles, I am learning a lot about managing my weight better. What’s your view on supplements, e.g. CLA

  • Very pleased to read both the article and many helpful participant comments. I was given a Fitbit for my birthday 2 years ago, but only started using the Fitbit platform to track what I eat last year. I am now beginning to lose weight, as I have really began paying attention to not only what I eat, but what portions I eat.

    I still haven’t figured out how to use the log most effectively, but having fun learning.

  • I am 220 and struggling to loose it. I use a lot of steam mix green, salads, vinaigrette dressing, boil egg,egg whites, yogurt on a Daily Bass and my weight still not shedding. Please help me

  • i have been having a very difficult time with always being under budget on my food. i keep trying to get close to the zone but i can’t eat any more. i feel like i have to eat because the food budget. can i eat less even though i am burning more calaries? im not sure what to do. I’ve been at this for 2 weeks and i want to be healthy but i am eating more than ever now.

  • I am a 68 year old female with Lyme disease and a crashed endocrine system weighing 225 lb. I was 125 lb. until about 10 years ago and then the weight started but my doctors kept telling me there was nothing wrong with my thyroid. It wasn’t until I got really sick and the ND’s looked back on my blood work to see that not only is the thyroid and adrenals less than 50% but also all other hormones. I have been treated for 1 year for Lyme and on biogenetical hormones but the weight remains. I am told I need to stay on the Paleo diet for my Lyme but I can’t seem to convert to calories. I have no energy and Vit D is low – just started on B12 shots as genomics say there is a methylation defect going on.

  • I don’t understand how to use the tracker before when I was using it my food choices came up I clicked on them and the time of day I ate them and viola the food was charted. Now I don’t have the food choices come up and I don’t see it go on the screen why is it not letting me go thru the same routine?

  • I’m on a strict -1000 calorie diet. Set up during registration. After three weeks of following strictly what Fitbit said I could have in Calories a day, I have lost 16.8 lbs and 3″ off my waist line.
    I start the day with 727 calories, I’ve eaten several times today and can stil have 1500 calories hiv or take. There is. I way Incan eat that.

  • I’m 71 yrs old and stand 5’7″ and weigh 190. I had a stroke 3 yrs ago and received speech therapy but no physical therapy. I gained weight and over the past three years have slowly lost my ability to walk long distance. I’m on Metropolol and Xeralto. I have cut my calories to 800-900 and, with the help of physical therapy for my hip, I walk about 3000 steps. I want to boost that number slowly. I can’t loose weight and my skin is drying out,. Somebody to help me?

  • To lose weight, I need to eat 1000, calories, 1200 to maintain weight loss. In the winter time this is much worse. Over the years I have developed a weight program for myself, July, August and to mid September maintain weight, mid September to mid December weight loss. mid December to mid April weight gain maybe 15 lbs, mid April to end of June weight loss 15 lbs. This is the only way this works for me. In the colder months I gain wright just looking at food.

  • I am a 53 yr. old female. Got my Fitbit for Mother’s Day. It has motivated me to move because I can see how many miles/steps I am taking each day and the calories I am burning. As someone who has had to watch my food intake most of my life, having these features calculated at the ready has been wonderful. I find that I exercise more because I want that number to at least hit 10,000 steps at least 4-5 days per week and love when I can hit 12,000 or more. I also try to make sure I am hitting my target heart rate for at least 20-30 minutes per day. I haven’t weighed myself in years. Only know it’s approximation by my annual doctor’s visit. I go by how my clothes fit ( have gone between a size 8 and 10 for twenty years) and how my body looks when I take a shower. If my clothes become a little snug, I know to cut back on my eating and move more. I used to be a big runner but after a foot injury I concentrated more on mileage/time walking with an occasional run.
    Lifting weights has really transformed my body over the last 6 months as well and because of the weight gained through new muscle, weighing myself would have sent me into a panic as the scale would have surely reflected that increase. I heard a woman one time talk about how she lost weight and was able to maintain it. She said that in addition to eating more healthy ( we all know that sodas, sugars, white carbs,etc. are bad for you) she just decided to either go 3 miles per day or do 30 minutes of intense exercise each day. I have been doing this for over a year and I am feeling fantastic! Fitbit just reaffirms my commitment and keep me motivated. Getting outside as much as possible also helps with mood. We have wonderful parks here and I look forward to my walks even in 10 degree winter weather ( I hate the cold) and on those days when the weather just won’t cooperate, I hit the gym for my walk/run. I also make sure I stretch well after and if I am pressed for time I will do a long stretch session before bed. At my age, it is vital to do so. I have two teenagers that I run all over the place in addition to work but I make this time for myself because I want to be here for my kids as long as possible. It is work to keep ourselves in decent shape, especially the older we become. When you find something that works for you just stick with it and don’t try to do anything too fancy or cumbersome. Life is busy and it is more important to keep going than to give up. Fitbit is a great tool. So glad I have one now. Just keep moving!!!

  • I am 77years old and teach a water aerobics class three days a week, can not do a lot of walking on hard surfaces as I have neuropathy and shooting pain, I need to loose 15pounds and just can’t get it off. I weigh 157 am 5′ 7″” how many calories should I be eating daily.

  • I have lost 4.5 pounds as of July 16th Im following the recommendations on Fitbit. Im eating at least 1200 calories per day. Im also drinking lots of water is this ok/

  • I am a vegetarian and have protein instant oatmeal for breakfast, an apple or fruit for lunch and in the evening I have one wheat chapathi with garbanzo beans or vegetables and drink a cup of home made yogurt. Snacks I take handful of almonds, raisins and sunflower seeds. I drink a glass of soy milk in between meals and 16 to 36 ounces per day. Do you think this will count up to 1600 calories? I am 5ft tall weigh 150 lbs and age 65. I walk or bycycle everyday in the gym for an hour . Can you help me on this aboytcthe calorie in take

  • Hi Tracy,

    I’m 52 male and struggling to get rid of the 2 inch of fat especially around my gut. So I’ve started on a 16hr fast with 8hrs eat. I’m eating clean interface those 8hrs. So what’s your thought with this type of dieting.

    I am trying to lose the fat which covers my muscles.
    Fitbit RHR is 52bpm


  • Hi there I have only joined fitbit I am 5 foot 2 and around 69 kg.. I desperately want to loose weight.. how many calories should I be consuming in a day? I am also following an exercise program

  • Can you eat a donut and a frozen dinner in one day I love my fitness and my fit bit can you eat a donut and still lose weight does it work i eat about 15000 calories I eat a lot fruit and veggies is it ok to some sweets

  • Hi, I’m new to this support community. I have a problem counting calories because I’ve been using Weight Watchers points forever – sometimes belonging to the program officially, and sometimes — most of the time going it alone. I have lost, since I first began many years ago, 30 pounds and with a few ups and downs, have managed to keep that weight off. I still have at least 20 to go and am uninspired since I don’t look “that bad”. Help!

  • Going with slow metabolism as a myth here. If you have a disease or genetic disorder, of course those affect you differently. Regular people’s metabolism is set in stone.

    Spices, clean diets, bad diets, don’t matter. Your height determines organ size, organs determine caloric energy needs. Age and gender play minor roles. It’s no different than engineering. Everything is an energy balance:

    IN – OUT + Generation = Accumulation

    Where generation can be negative (exercise).

    As far as muscle loss, again, myth. You lose muscle more to atrophy than anything else. Eat 1200 calories or less a day, or fast, think you’ll waste away? Nope. Unless you’re a 6% body fat, military man running a 3000 deficit for two weeks, your body will never choose muscle as source of energy.

    Anyone interested in weight loss, just do reverse tapering.

  • I have digestion problem whenever I start diet I will find changes for first 3 days later I will gane weight or remains same can you help what changes or which type of diet I should take and I’m a vegetarian

  • I agree! Love my Blaze. Have kept food logs off and on for years, tedious for sure. It does enlighten you as to how many calories you Really are consuming. But, I find it easier to log food intake with paper and pen! IKR!

  • Hello! I have been using this app now for around 2 months and consistently counting macros for around 6 weeks – I usually consume around 1500 calories a day split between 5 meals – I kick box between 4/5 days per week which generally burns on average 350 calories per session – depending on if I do extra weight work. At my heaviest I weighed 229 pounds and I’m now down to 215 pounds this is over around 3 months. I feel this is really slow but I also know I’m losing inches – 23 inches since I started.
    My question is am I eating enough calories for the above scenario? Should I up it to aid weight loss? Am I gaining muscle weight? For the last couple of weeks I’ve tried to aim for 40:40:20 ratios of protein:CHO:fat – does that sound about right?
    Thanks Jenny!

  • I live in a senior housing unit, 73 yrs old, no major health problems. I’m not an exercise person.How do I monitor my meals from the kitchen when the residents don’t know all the ingredients?
    Exercise? Thanks!!!

  • I’ve been counting calories for 2 years and after 6 months using myfitnesspal,com I reached my goal 71kg down to 66kg and then maintaining my daily log I have never gone above 66.5kg and currently running at 65.4kg as I have upped my daily walking routine which is even better now I have GPS on my new Ionic and a puppy to walk 😉

  • Hello!

    Im Thinking of getting an ionic.
    But Im not sure yet.
    Is it compatible with apps like lifesum or My fitness PAL?
    I live in sweden so i use lifesum to track My food intake. Would be great if ionic and lifesum was connected to see a correlation between burned calories and eaten ones.

    Hope to hear from FITBIT team soon.

  • Hi, I’m new to the fitbit I’m 42 year old female. I’m wanting to lose 10lbs I currently weigh 134. I’m 5ft 6. I’m using the food log daily and it helps! I walk 2 -3 days week on average. Would like some ideas on a diet I can stick with to get to my goal. I don’t want to feel hungry.

  • Hi ,
    I am eating around 1600 calories per day, I eat healthy and try to eat freshly cooked food. I snack on raw carrots and peppers.. I walk 10000 steps (and more) i am burning 2100 calories per day, I go to the gym on weekends.. but I amnot even loosing a little bit… I am not drinking and I eat mostly vegetarian can you help me loose weight? I put on about 7 Kilo after my wedding but I do not know how or why

  • I am 59
    I weigh in 14 . 9 bls
    Was 17 .4
    5 feet 3 ins

    I do aqua swim 3 hrs week
    Swimming for an hour once a week
    walk the children to school each day

    How many calories should I be taking him per day

    Got Fit bit 2
    for swimming and walking
    Love it

  • Je consomme moins de calories en général que j’en dépense et souvet fit bit m’informe que j’ai consommé plus que mon besoin, comment faire et que priviligier pour perdre 3 à 4 kilos,

  • Hmm these things never work for me. I’m 30 and 135 pounds but only 5ft and sedentary due to chronic health issues. 1200 a day wouldn’t do much for me, even an online calculator says this:
    You need 1,494 Calories/day to maintain your weight.
    You need 994 Calories/day to lose 1 lb per week.
    You need 494 Calories/day to lose 2 lb per week.
    But I think I already eat around 1200 a day (it’s hard to know exactly without weighing every single thing) and my weight doesn’t change. I want to lose 20-30 pounds but the only way I saw my weight dropping was when I restricted myself to one meal a day and it was pretty miserable so I’ll have to put up with my extra pounds until my health (hopefully) improves one day.

  • Hello, I am going to try your meal plan from tomorrow.
    I am having oral surgery for two years and I am still going to have a couple more. So I have food restriction while healing process.
    My weight is like a roller coaster due to healing process time.
    But I think this is excuse?? I just need good eating habit.
    I will let you know for my progress.
    Thank you,

    • The Fitbit has quite a robust catalogue built into it. Enter a good description of what you ate and it’s very likely in the drop down options. Most menu items from any American eatery are well represented, or there’s a fairly close match.

  • My fit bit calorie account seems in correct as walk 6km and fit bit tells me have burned 1,200 cal when should be about 300

  • Pretty good article until the part where it tells you to treat calories burned during as exercise as ‘a bonus’ and not to eat them. Clearly we need a calorific deficit to loose weight but the amount of calories needed to create that deficit changes depending on how many calories our bodies burn. I am by no means an athlete but can burn way over a thousand calories a day extra through exercise, through walking, running, lifting weights and generally being active. It’s ridiculous for you to move so much more and to feed your body the same amount as if you sat down watching TV all day. You’d end up really hungry and at risk of not sticking at it in the long term (no one enjoys hunger and it’s not necessary for healthy weight loss) and / or making some really poor food choices and going over calories.

    I agree many over estimate exercise cals but surely when tracked via a Fitbit with a heart rate monitor this is much more accurate and can be trusted? I’m currently on a 750 cal a day deficit and I eat just over half my extra exercise calories and I’m losing steadily at about 1.5lb per week.

  • I read once that if you multiply 11 x your ideal weight, that gives about the right calories to day to get to that weight. So if I want to weight 130 lbs, I need 1430 calories per day. Of course activity level affects that, but it’s about right.

  • Please how many calories should I eat to loose weight Height 5ft 4 inches & weight 13 st 7 lbs ahe 69 not very active

  • I disagree after my 1st child in 2005 i put myself on a diet biking 6 miles a day plus eating no more than 1000 a day
    Went from 180 to 110. Got pregnant with my 2nd in 2011 I was 115. Went up to 170 bc of pregnancy, stayed there no diet until I got pregnant with my 3rd she is almost 8 months i ended pregnancy at 218. Put myself on a diet of no more than 1000 a day plus exercise daily in Oct I am now down to 145 still have 20 lbs to go. But that 1st diet I kept the weight off for 5 yrs with no dieting.

  • I m in need of assistance. I am on the kidney transplant list and need to drop about 55 lbs. I have other medical issues, which include ibs and colitis along with periphal arterial disease. I have a hard time walking long distance as my feet go numb and can’t feel them. I. Need help designing a diet plan to help me lose weight. I try to exercise, but some days I’m just to exhausted and can’t help myself let alone exercise. PLEASE HELP.

  • My favorite quick lunch was a peanut butter and banana sandwich :-). I looked at the bread package (100% whole grain) and it said 100 calories per slice. That was approximately 450 calories – 2 slices/banana/peanut butter. So I cut down my bread and pasta’s for a week. I lost two pounds!! That was doing only casual walking etc. Going vegetarian was not for me. I consider myself a flexatarian lol.

  • Ok I’m 61 yrs old female an athlete all my life gym everyday can’t break 150 plateau how many calories DO I need??? Frustrated can’t run walk fast lift weights life cycle etc help please!!!!!

  • I’m confused with the zone, underbudget and overbudget terms when it comes to calories in vs caliries out. It seems inconsistent on my tra0cker but I may be reading it wrong or it has to do with weight loss goal for the week.

  • in the past 3 months i have lost about 40 pounds and it has worked out very well before i started with Fitbit i was 202 now i’m down to 165 and i normally take in 500 calories a day and i feel pretty good if it wasn’t for Fitbit i would not be where i am today.

  • I wonder are there any plans to have a Fitbit app so I can add calories on the go? My problem is forgetting to add them when I am busy and I don’t like being attached to my phone all the time.

    A simple list you could upload like the to do list would be great, then it would sync with the dashboard and upload automatically.

  • Everyone always talks about losing weight. How about us that need to gain weight? I have a thyroid problem also. The dr says I’m backwards. Suppose to be big and can’t lose. Well, I’m skinny and can’t gain. I know you all don’t want to hear this. Lol but I fight each and everyday to gain an ounce! I’m disabled on top of it all. I have tried, I guess everything. Like you all do to lose. I can’t afford to even get sick, which makes me lose weight much faster. Fast… I’m talking about 10lbs a week! Drs have tried all on me. On synthroid 112. Yes, have been slim all my life. The older I get, the worse it is. Can someone out there help me? I can’t stand being this thin. 5’7. 111 lbs.

  • I am 5’3” About 150 lbs. I do walk and do yoga 3 days a week.
    I try to get my ten thousand steps, but not every day. I try to log my food but by evening I am tired and my will power goes out the window. I start over in the morning. I need to lose at least 20 lbs.

  • I am 61 years old my husband and I walk 6 miles at least 3 to 4 times a week. I took diet pills for several years. I have gained 40 pounds in the past year. I eat salads just about daily. I really don’t eat a lot of high calorie foods anymore. The other 2 days I work out at home. I am thinking about doing a smoothie diet. I want to lose the extra 40 pounds. Thanks

  • The equation link takes you to super tracker which was discontinued June 2918. Is there a link to another app which does the same?

  • I have a underactive thyroid and want to know how many calories I should be eating per day also I would like to know what is tbe best foods to eat to lose weight most

  • Naturally Slim

    I would like to let everyone know that I lost 30lbs 2years ago and still maintaining my weight.

    My company provided a program called Naturally Slim through our insurance.

    It is the greatest lifestyle program that I have ever been through and it is easy. I am not a guy that has struggled with weight issues like some people do, but I wanted to drop some unwanted lbs. Unlike many programs of diets this is not a diet but a LifeStyle Change.

    In a nut shell the you eat when you are truly hungry and don’t eat by the clock. You don’t have to count calories or eat special meals you just have to eat when your are truly hungry. (Did you know your body will give you the same feeling that you are hungry when you dehydrated, tried, or stressed.) It can and it does, this lifestyle change will help you figure out those along with many more things about your body that we all know but we don’t listen to, because we want that chicken fried steak, hamburger, milkshake, or whatever ever you love to eat.
    We eat our meals because it is mealtime (breakfast, lunch, and dinner time) even if we aren’t hungry Why?? Because that is what we are taught as kids. How many of us are always trying to get our kids to eat at 12:00 noon but they want eat??? I have and I think they should be hungry because that is the way I was raised. But the thing about baby’s and kids are they eat when they are hungry and don’t eat when they are not. But us adults we eat by the clock and because we might not have time to eat later. Wrong plan we need to take a page from the kids and eat when we are truly hungry.

    Ok I know and I feel like I sound like an infomercial or I am selling this program but I am a regular guy in Texas that has made a Lifestyle change with this program and it works I just want to make sure I do my part and at least share what I have found out. But it is up to each of us to determine if what we do for ourselves. Go check it out and see if it works for you like it is working for me.

    Johnny G.

  • I joined a weight loss program and I’m eating 800 calories a day. I lost 24lbs so far. Mind you it has been difficult staying on just 800. Sometimes I go over a bit but for the most part I stick to it.

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