While calorie counting isn't for everyone, depending on your health or fitness goal, you may want to do the math before building your daily menu.

You try to eat right, but the number on the scale keeps creeping up. Sound familiar? According to a survey by the International Food Information Council Foundation, Americans eat a lot more than they should. Of 1,000 people polled—about half of them women—43 percent couldn't even guess the answer to the questions: “How many calories am I eating?” or “How many calories should I be eating?”

"So many women are eating on the run," says Barbara J. Rolls, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition at Pennsylvania State University and author of The Volumetrics Eating Plan. (See: What Is the Volumetrics Diet Plan and How Does It Work?) Many people are not paying attention to supersized portions in restaurants, and then left wondering 'how many calories am I eating?'

The happy news is that your diet doesn't require a complete overhaul. Instead of counting foods out, just get to know how many calories you need to eat in a day. (Related: What's Better for Weight Loss: Diet or Exercise?)

Read on for more indispensable stay-slim solutions and the definitive answer to how many calories am I eating?

### How Many Calories Do You Need?

1. Calculate your basal metabolic rate (BMR), the amount of energy your body burns doing such basic functions as breathing and circulating blood.
• If you're under age 30: (0.0621 x your weight/2.2 + 2.0357) x 240 = BMR
• If you're over age 30: (0.0342 x your weight/2.2 + 3.5377) x 240 = BMR

2. Figure out your activity level.

• You rarely exercise: 1.3
• You get some exercise every day, but it's generally light, such as walking or playing golf: 1.5
• You do high-intensity workouts such as spinning, playing tennis, and skiing almost every day: 1.7

3. Multiply your activity level by your BMR. The total is your daily calorie requirement. To maintain your weight, stick as closely as you can to that number.

### 4 Personal Factors That Impact Your Caloric Needs

Determining “how many calories am I eating?” and balancing that out with how much you're burning through exercise is more an art than a science when you’re on a quest to lose LBs. There are many variables that can impact the calories in vs. calories out equation, including:

1. The type of exercise you are doing. Resistance and interval training will burn more calories after you stop exercising compared to traditional aerobic training. (Related: How Many Calories Does Swimming Burn?)
2. The type of diet you are eating. High-protein diets burn more calories, as protein takes more effort for your body to digest and metabolize.
3. How much weight you have to lose. For simplicity's sake, you use your total body weight to calculate your BMR instead of your lean body mass (which is your total body weight minus your body fat). Because of this assumption, if you need to lose 25 pounds or more to reach your goal weight, then your total caloric needs, which we calculated above, is probably too high. This is because we treated the calorie needs of body fat the same as lean tissue (muscles, bones, and organs), but in reality, your body fat has a much lower caloric need (close to zero). Learn how to adjust for this below.
4. Your individual metabolism. Any equation that estimates your calorie needs is just that: an estimate. They’re all based on averages, and just like mama said, you’re not average. Don't take the numbers you generate after reading this article as gospel, but use them as a starting point to determine how many calories am I eating—and should I be eating? put them to the test, and adjust from there. (Related: 8 Ways to Rev Up Your Metabolism)

Most importantly, keep in mind that the scale isn't everything. One of the best ways to make a health transformation last is to value non-scale victories too. Are your healthy new habits giving you more energy or better digestion? Are you sleeping more soundly? Do your clothes fit better and do you feel more confident? These perks will help motivate you to continue eating well and staying active for the long run, which means you won't just lose weight, but you'll also keep it off.

### The Only 3 Diet Rules You Need to Know

1. Eat More...

• Fruits and vegetables: Produce is naturally low in calories and high in water and fiber, so it fills you up.
• Low-fat dairy: Research shows that the calcium in skim milk, cheese, and yogurt may help your body burn fat.
• Whole grains: They're rich in fiber and more filling than refined grains. Try oatmeal or whole-grain bread with at least two grams fiber per slice.
• Lean protein: It's slowly digested, so it stays in your stomach longer. Good choices: Pork tenderloin, broiled Pacific halibut, skinless chicken, and deli turkey breast.
• Salads and broth-based soups: Start your meals with a high-volume, low-calorie food like vegetable soup and you'll eat less overall. (Psst...these five recipe hacks will change the way you make soup!)
• Beans and legumes: Toss some black beans or chickpeas into your salad at lunch. They boast a unique combination of fiber to fill you up and protein to keep you satisfied.

2. Eat less...

• Sweetened cereals and yogurt: The typical 6-ounce container of yogurt with fruit on the bottom packs more than two tablespoons of sugar—more than 100 calories.
• White carbs such as bread, pasta, and rice: They contain empty calories and little fiber.
• "Fake foods" like rice cakes: They're so lacking in taste that you end up overeating them because you never feel satisfied. (Related: 6 Ultra-Processed Foods You Probably Have In Your House Right Now)
• Salty or fried snacks: Not only are they loaded with heart-clogging saturated fat, these foods also invite mindless munching.

3. Eat a Lot Less Often...

• Sweetened drinks such as soda and iced tea: Drinking just one can of soda a day equals about 150 calories—and 15 extra pounds a year. (Try this healthy carbonated drink to break your soda habit.)
• Bagels, muffins, cakes, and cookies: The average deli bagel is so enormous that it counts as four servings of bread.
• Calorie-laden condiments: Butter and mayo contain more than 100 calories per tablespoon. Switch to light mayo (or use mustard instead) and use these spreads sparingly.

### Learn How Many Calories Are In Your Favorite Snacks

100 calories:

• 18 roasted peanuts
• 4 Hershey's Kisses
• 6-ounce glass orange juice
• 18 Rold Gold Tiny Twists pretzels
• 3 cups air-popped popcorn
• 1 ounce string cheese

250 calories:

• 6-ounce baked potato with 3 tablespoons sour cream and 1 tablespoon chopped chives
• 1 McDonald's small french fries (More: The Healthiest Fast Food Breakfast Orders)
• 1 cup Cheerios and 1 cup sliced strawberries in 8 ounces skim or unsweetened soy milk
• 1/2 cup hummus and 12 baby carrots
• 1 slice Pizza Hut medium hand-tossed style pepperoni pizza
• 1 cup Haagen-Dazs Orchard Peach sorbet

400 calories

• 1 Taco Bell Beef Chalupa Supreme
• 1 serving (9 ounces) Amy's macaroni and cheese
• 1 Wendy's Caesar Chicken Salad with croutons and Caesar dressing
• 1 Subway 6-inch turkey breast sandwich on a wheat roll with turkey, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and 1 tablespoon light mayonnaise
• 3 pancakes with 2 tablespoons maple syrup and 1/2 cup fresh blueberries (Like pancakes? Then try this protein-packed recipe!)
• 1 Starbucks Grande Mocha Frappuccino (no whipped cream)
• 1 cup spaghetti with 1/2 cup marinara sauce
• 4-ounce piece cheesecake with 3 tablespoons whipped cream

### The Best Foods to Eat...

...when you're starving

These fiber-rich foods satisfy and fill you up:

• Tabouli (5g fiber, 160 calories per 1/2 cup)
• Broccoli (5.1g fiber, 55 calories per 1 cup, cooked)
• Raspberries (8g fiber, 64 calories per cup)
• Artichokes (6.5g fiber, 60 calories per artichoke)

...to cure carb, fat, and sweet cravings

• Angel food cake (0.15g fat, 128 calories per slice) with fresh sliced mango
• Couscous (0.25g fat, 176 calories per cup, cooked)
• Veggie burgers (3.5g fat, 90 to 100 calories per Boca or Gardenburger)
• Medium baked sweet potato (0.15g fat, 103 calories)

...before dinner

Start with these, and you'll eat a smaller meal—but feel just as full:

• Strawberries (46 calories per cup)
• Gazpacho (46 calories per cup)
• Baby spinach salad with 2 cups baby spinach and 2 tablespoons light dressing (36 calories)
• 5 to 10 baby carrots with 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt ranch dip (109 calories)

Sources:

Anonymous
April 21, 2019
Over the years I've tried many methods recommended by both my friends and family but none of them seemed to work out for me until I chanced upon this holy grail where I've lost almost 33 pounds in just 1 month trying it out! I can now fit in dresses two sizes down and receive many compliments from not only my lovely husband, but colleagues and girlfriends about how great I look right now! I'm here to share with you guys because I really am thankful and hope someone who also needs this can experience similar results as me! Here is the link to my holy grail method! https://bit.ly/flatbelly21dayfix
Anonymous
April 13, 2019
The Secret to Losing Unwanted Weight Fast and Keeping It Off: https://bit.ly/2pRzPPy
Anonymous
March 14, 2019
This controversial method can make you lean fast: https://bit.ly/2DmMBxk
Anonymous
March 12, 2019
Hi, my name is Ellen and I'm 30 years old. My weight loss journey started when I read Emma's story online. Emma's husband abandoned her for a younger woman. She turned to food for comfort and gained a lot of weight very fast. Luckily she discovered an amazing workout program that allowed her to achieve the best shape of her life. Read her story here >> https://bit.ly/getabikinibody
Anonymous
March 11, 2019
My life is totally transformed after I followed this diet.https://bit.ly/2safCoC Have Lost 27 pounds in last 1 month and feeling great about myself.
Anonymous
March 5, 2019
Lost 41 pounds and 4 dress sizes. I am in the best shape of my life. Wish I had seen this amazing video earlier: https://bit.ly/2xZoIIy
Anonymous
February 15, 2019
A breakthrough Yoga Program that melts away flab and reshapes your body in as little as one hour a week. https://bit.ly/2S3Fk9s
Anonymous
February 12, 2019
Losing weight is not so difficult with the right guidance and methods. What worked for me was this amazing guide: https://bit.ly/2QvsWDd Explains the science of losing weight, right foods to eat, foods to avoid, tips and tricks to lose weight quickly and stay healthy.
Anonymous
February 6, 2019
Hi, let me tell you Helen's story. She is in her late 30's and she is a mom of 3 adorable children. She has always struggled with her weight especially after the birth of her third child, 6 years ago. She just stopped taking care of herself. That is one of the main reasons why her marriage fell apart, 3 years ago. Her husband didn't even want to look at her naked for years. He actually told her that he felt betrayed. And the worst part? She also felt that she betrayed herself. She was feeling ashamed, guilty and embarrassed, which made her too weak mentally to be able to lose weight. Continue here >>> https://bit.ly/bodyweightburnnow
Anonymous
February 3, 2019
This controversial method can make you lean fast: https://bit.ly/2DmMBxk
Anonymous
February 1, 2019
Did you know there’s a “deep detox” you can do first thing in the morning to burn more fat? And the good news is It only takes 13-seconds! Here it is: https://bit.ly/2x45lQy
Anonymous
February 21, 2019
Thanks.
Anonymous
February 1, 2019
The Secret to Losing Unwanted Weight Fast and Keeping It Off: https://bit.ly/2pRzPPy
Anonymous
January 31, 2019
Im 53 and weigh 292 pds. I am trying to eat 400 cals per day and 20/25 carbs per day. Will i loose weight
Anonymous
January 27, 2019
My life is totally transformed after I followed this diet. https://bit.ly/2safCoC Have Lost 27 pounds in last 1 month and feeling great about myself.
Anonymous
January 9, 2019
Hi, my name is Kate and I would like to share my story. Up until about 2 years ago, I was 30 pounds overweight. Over the years I had followed many different diet plans, but failed every single time. I was "blessed" with a pear shaped body and no matter what i did, I always retained lots of stubborn fat in my lower body. Everything changed when I found the right diet program. My story is here ==> http://bit.ly/mydietstory
Anonymous
December 7, 2018
Eat this “superfruit” before bed to burn more fat: https://bit.ly/2G7zzXt
Anonymous
November 28, 2018
Wanna increase muscle size, strength and performance ? i found this powerful product that is a safe, legal and side effect free i tried it myself and it realy shows good results for more info check in here -> bulkm.net
Anonymous
November 16, 2018
This controversial method can make you lean fast: https://bit.ly/2DmMBxk
Anonymous
November 1, 2018
Lost 41 pounds and 4 dress sizes. I am in the best shape of my life. Wish I had seen this amazing video earlier: https://bit.ly/2xZoIIy
Anonymous
January 21, 2019
This worked for me too, thanks.
Anonymous
October 30, 2018
hey i found a rapid weight loss program that can help you lose up to 23 pounds of pure body fat in just 3 weeks!!! watch this video here -> 3weeksdiets.net
Anonymous
October 24, 2018
Did you know there’s a “deep detox” you can do first thing in the morning to burn more fat? you can burn 1.2lbs daily and It only takes 13-seconds! watch this video : flatbelydetox.net
Anonymous
October 19, 2018
Unusual weight loss method that actually works: https://bit.ly/2NeMdD5
Anonymous
October 12, 2018
The Secret to Losing Unwanted Weight Fast and Keeping It Off: https://bit.ly/2pRzPPy
Anonymous
October 3, 2018
Lost 41 pounds and 4 dress sizes. I am in the best shape of my life. Wish I had seen this amazing video earlier: https://bit.ly/2xZoIIy
Anonymous
September 27, 2018
My goal is to train and inspire people to show them that the weight loss is possible. Going from someone who would rather sit in his bedroom playing Call of Duty to someone who has lost 50 pounds and is working toward living the rest of his life as a healthy and fit individual is something I am very proud of. If you want to lose weight you have to see this information: https://leanbellybreakthrough1.club
Anonymous
September 9, 2018
I had used Brian’s method to reduce 8 kg in just 3 weeks; I followed step by step procedure as per Brian’s instruction. This is one of the perfect weight loss product to reduce weight without any side effect and keep the body fit for lifelong, refer here: https://weightlossin3weeks.com
Anonymous
August 30, 2018
Unusual weight loss method that actually works: https://bit.ly/2NeMdD5
Anonymous
August 20, 2018
Discover The #1 Detox Tea That Melts Away Fat EFFORTLESSLY: https://bit.ly/2Laaysp
Anonymous
September 21, 2018
Nice.
Anonymous
August 20, 2018
36-year old mother of 3 Reveals The French Weight Loss Solution That Helps You Naturally Slim Down Without Exercise: https://bit.ly/2KOb2Ee
Anonymous
August 11, 2018
A Fool proof, Science-Based System that's Guaranteed to Melt Away All Your Unwanted Stubborn Body Fat in Just 14 Days. Watch the video here: => http://the2weekdietnow.com
Anonymous
July 30, 2018
The simple secret to lose weight quickly, safely and permanently without starving yourself or stepping foot in the gym. https://bit.ly/2vfKoOH
Anonymous
July 22, 2018
Strange “Soup Detox” Melts Away 37 Pounds in Just 20 Days: https://bit.ly/2myraQ8
Anonymous
July 6, 2018
A Fool proof, Science-Based System that's Guaranteed to Melt Away All Your Unwanted Stubborn Body Fat in Just 14 Days. Watch the video here: => the2weekdietnow.com
Anonymous
June 1, 2018
Discover The #1 Detox Tea That Melts Away Fat EFFORTLESSLY: https://bit.ly/2Laaysp
Anonymous
June 1, 2018
Discover The #1 Detox Tea That Melts Away Fat EFFORTLESSLY: https://bit.ly/2Laaysp
Anonymous
May 24, 2018
My life is totally transformed after I followed this diet.https://bit.ly/2safCoC Have Lost 27 pounds in last 1 month and feeling great about myself.
Anonymous
November 1, 2018
Is this keto?
Anonymous
September 19, 2018
👍
Anonymous
August 30, 2018
Thanks for sharing.
Anonymous
July 23, 2018
great
Anonymous
May 24, 2018
Lovely information, very true and effective. I myself had gained over 20 pounds after the birth of my daughter. Plus with age, fat was not going away no matter how hard i tried with so many things. Finally Thanks to this method, I was able to lose 18 pounds Watch the video here: http://leanbellybreakthrough1.club
Anonymous
May 23, 2018
Did you know there’s a “deep detox” you can do first thing in the morning to burn more fat? And the good news is It only takes 13-seconds! Here it is: https://bit.ly/2x45lQy
Anonymous
November 1, 2018
Thanks...
Anonymous
September 19, 2018
Thanks a lot.
Anonymous
August 20, 2018
Nice video, learnt something
Anonymous
July 23, 2018
this is good.
Anonymous
May 15, 2018
I've lost exactly 30 Lbs in 2 months! The best part is knowing that I did this myself. look at the method I use to lose weight here: https://bit.ly/2rHqH0d
Anonymous
May 11, 2018
We had this big family reunion coming up and suddenly I realized… I was terrified. I didn’t want to go because I didn’t know what people were going to think. I had a really rough year, and I gained 30 ugly pounds of fat. After starting The 2 Week Diet plan, I lost 5 pounds in the very first week! Watch the 2 week diet video here: >> http://the2weekdietnow.com/belly-fat << And it jus tkept coming off. By the end of the month, I had completely reversed a whole year of bad eating and laziness. I’m still losing weight weeks later.
Anonymous
April 20, 2018
If you want to know how to lose weight really fast take a minute and read what I did to lose over 10 pounds in two weeks ..... http://bit.ly/2G4Gr6T
Anonymous
April 19, 2018
If you want to know how to lose weight really fast take a minute and read what I did to lose over 10 pounds in two weeks ..... http://bit.ly/2G4Gr6T
Anonymous
April 10, 2018
I had used Brian’s method to reduce 8 kg in just 3 weeks; I followed step by step procedure as per Brian’s instruction. This is one of the perfect weight loss product to reduce weight without any side effect and keep the body fit for lifelong, refer here: http://weightlossin3weeks.com/weight-loss
Anonymous
March 11, 2018
"You don’t know me but my name is Elisa and I bought The 3 Week Diet one month ago. I want to share my weight loss story with you, Brian. Since having my first child, I've been carrying around an extra 30 pounds. I've tried many diets and couldn't make anything work. Your diet just made sense and showed me that everything I was doing before was wrong and a waste of my time. The 3 Week Diet plan was so refreshing and so simple to follow. I did everything you said and lost 23 pounds in the first three weeks. I’m now starting the diet again to lose 7 more pounds. You have changed my life, and I am incredibly thankful." I purchased your 3 Week Diet program before Christmas and started it on January 21. I found the book to be very informative and easy to read. I’ve lost 17 pounds in 12 days, I’m just concerned that I’m losing too much weight, too quickly. I will admit I haven’t followed the guide exactly. I’m not sticking perfectly to the listed foods and meal plans (but mostly) and doing very little exercise, but the weight keeps flying off. It clearly works and if I’d followed it exactly I think it would scare the living daylights out of me because of the amount that I’d lose . So thanks again for the information. I’ve never purchased anything like this before because they are usually full of trash, but 3WD has been a pleasant surprise. Plus my girlfriend can't get enough of my new body! " link : http://bit.ly/2FVgJ1T
Anonymous
February 17, 2018
I'm 29 yr my weight is 73.1 kg hw much shd I loss my weight