In the previous step, I showed you a couple of ways to calculate your daily calorie maintenance level.
Now, if your goal was to lose weight or gain weight, this would be the step when you adjust that calorie intake to suit one of those goals.
However, since you’re only interested in how many calories are needed to maintain your current weight, you get to skip right past that step.
Why? Because your calorie maintenance level already is how many calories are needed for you to maintain your current weight. You already did 99% of the work in that last step when you calculated what yours is.
(If you skipped the previous step, now is the time to go back and do it.)
All that’s left to do now is make sure the amount of calories you calculated truly is 100% accurate for you and truly is how many calories you need to eat per day to maintain your current weight. Let me explain…
The Problem With Calorie Calculators & Estimates
Even though I just showed you some of the most popular methods of estimating your daily calorie maintenance level, there is one tiny problem.
The word “estimating.”
You see, any online calculator or similar method of calculating calories will only be giving you an estimate.
These methods might be quite accurate for most people, but in the end, they are always just guesses, not guarantees. There are just too many individual factors at play that “calorie calculators” are unable to take into account.
Which means… those estimates are sometimes wrong. Luckily however, we have a way to double check it.
The human body actually has its own built in method of figuring out EXACTLY what your daily calorie maintenance level is and guarantees 100% accuracy every single time.
How To Figure Out Exactly How Many Calories Are Needed To Maintain
To figure out exactly how many calories are needed to maintain your current weight, all it takes is a very simple 4 step experiment:
- Consistently eat the same number of calories each day for a few weeks, and keep your activity level fairly consistent as well.
- Weigh yourself about once per week first thing in the morning on an empty stomach (or, weigh in every morning and take the weekly average).
- Monitor what happens.
- Adjust accordingly if needed.
So, take the calorie maintenance level estimate you calculated in the previous step and use that as your calorie starting point. Now, just start eating that amount each day for the next few weeks.
For the sake of an example, let’s pretend an example person estimated that their daily maintenance level is 2500 calories. Starting tomorrow, this example person would eat about 2500 calories each day. It doesn’t have to be absolutely exact, but try to get within 100 or so calories of your estimated amount.
Then, just eat this number of calories each day for the next 2-3 weeks.
Be sure to weigh yourself first thing in the morning on empty stomach and write your weight down somewhere.
Then, just watch and see what happens, and adjust if needed. Meaning…
- Is your weight staying about the same? If so, congrats… you’ve successfully found exactly how many calories are needed to maintain your current weight. Keep eating this amount from now on.
- Is your weight increasing? If so, you are above your maintenance level (a caloric surplus). Slightly decrease your daily calorie intake by about 250 calories, wait a few weeks, and see what happens then. For example, our same example person would now start eating 2250 calories per day.
- Is your weight decreasing? If so, you are below your maintenance level (a caloric deficit). Slightly increase your daily calorie intake by about 250 calories, wait a few weeks, and see what happens then. For example, our same example person would now start eating 2750 calories per day.
So basically, eat about the same number of calories per day and monitor what your weight does. If it stays the same, perfect! If it doesn’t, then just adjust your daily calorie intake up or down in small 250 calorie increments until it does.
When you reach the point where you are maintaining your weight from week to week, you’re done. That’s how many calories you need to eat per day to maintain your current weight.
Taaadaaa! Make sure you write it down.
Now that you’ve found exactly how many calories are needed per day to reach your specific goal (maintaining your current weight), it’s time to figure out exactly where those calories will come from.
First up, let’s look at protein and find out what your ideal daily protein intake is.
(This article is part of a completely free and amazingly awesome guide to creating the absolute best diet plan possible for your exact goal and preferences. Check out the entire guide here: The Best Diet Plan)