If you're gearing up to go on an intermittent fasting diet plan, the very first thing that you absolutely must get straight is how many calories you should be eating a day?

There isn't anything especially magical about intermittent fasting that's going to allow you to eat loads of additional calories and still lose weight - calorie control must still be there.

That said, many people do find that they can eat a few more calories than they do with most diets and still lose weight, so there does seem to be some slight advantage.

Let's take a closer look at how many calories per day you should be eating while using an intermittent fasting approach.

Figuring Out Your Basal Metabolic Rate

The very first thing that you'll want to think about is how many calories per day you burn at rest just to stay alive.

For most people, this is going to work out to be about 10-11 calories per pound of body weight. If you're carrying a very high amount of body fat it may be slightly lower than this, but for most individuals this is the best number to aim for.

So first, take your current body weight and multiply by 10 if you're a female and 11 if you're a male.

Accounting For The Thermic Effect Of Food

Next, you need to account for the thermic effect of food. This is essentially the calories that your body burns simply because you ate. Since protein has the highest thermic effect, meaning you burn off the most calories to break it down, and you're using a higher protein intake while on this diet plan, that means that you'll need to use a slightly higher value here.

To account for this, take the number you got in the first part and multiply by 1.2. This adds digestion onto things.

Thinking About Your Activity Level

Finally, last but not least, you need to think about your activity level. Those who are more active throughout the day are going to be burning up more calories total, so this needs to be considered. If you're working a desk job, you'll hardly burn any further calories, while if you're on your feet all day long, you'll be burning up far more.

Use this as a guideline.

Multiple by:

1.1 for a desk job

1.2 for a desk job plus 3 workouts per week

1.3 for a desk job plus 4-5 workouts per week

1.4 for an active job plus 3 workouts per week

1.5 for an active job plus 4-5 workouts per week

This will now give you your maintenance calorie intake.

Determining Your Deficit

Finally, the last step is to determine your deficit. To do this, subtract 250-750 calories from what you arrived at above. Remember that it takes 3500 calories to lose one pound of body fat, so this will have you losing 1/2 to 1 1/2 pounds per week. This is a safe range for most people. You may take it up to 1000 calories per day as a deficit but only if you have a higher amount of weight to lose.

So there you have the important tips that you need to remember about figuring out your target calorie intake. Make sure you go through this process when first starting.

About the author: Shannon is a fitness trainer and freelance writer who has written for Bodybuilding.com.


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