Monday - Friday 9am - 6:30pm

Calories: How Many Do I Need?

Achieving the right calorie balance for healthy weight loss

Achieving a healthy weight involves getting the right ‘energy balance’. The amount of energy (calories) you consume needs to be balanced with the amount you use up through daily activities and exercise.

Staying the same weight relies on energy intake being balanced with energy burned.

If you take in more energy than your body needs, those extra calories are stored as fat, which leads to weight gain over time.

If you're trying to lose weight, your energy balance should be in ‘deficit’: the calories you take in should be less than calories you burn.

Three steps to healthy weight loss

1: Know how many calories you need

This handy guide helps you work out how many calories you need. It accounts for your age, weight and how active you are.

2: Know how many calories you should cut out

A healthy weight loss target is 0.5-2lb a week. This means a deficit of 250-1000 calories per day. Generally, the more weight you need to lose, the bigger the calorie deficit you can realistically aim for.

3: Plan how you’ll achieve your calorie deficit

You can achieve calorie deficit by consuming fewer calories and/or burning more through movement and exercise.

Here are some examples to help bring it to life:

Dave wants to lose 1lb per week. Most of his extra calories come from snacks and treats. He needs to make a deficit of 500kcal per day. Some ways he could achieve this are:

  • Doing half an hour of running and cutting a 500ml bottle of cola out
  • Skipping his visit to the coffee shop for a cappuccino and Danish
  • Doing an hour of vigorous cycling or running
  • Walking 20 minutes to and from work and choosing lighter and/or fewer snacks throughout the day

Shannon wants to lose 2lb per week but struggles with portion sizes. She needs a deficit of around 1000kcal per day. Examples of how she could do this include:

  • Switching from whole to skimmed milk with her cereal, reducing her lunch size from 2 sandwiches to 1 and not going for seconds at dinner
  • Cycling vigorously for half an hour and cutting back from a bottle of wine to a glass
  • Planning portion-controlled snacks throughout the day (e.g. a small packet of healthier crisps, an apple and a low-calorie snack bar over a sharing bag of crisps, a punnet of grapes and a packet of biscuits)

Note: these are rough guides. Calories burnt through exercise varies from person to person, and the number of calories in foods varies depending on the amount eaten, brand and so on. See our blog on counting calories for more tips and advice.

We’re here for you

Register to create your healthy living profile today and get personalised tips and support for your lifestyle goal. Consider how the support of our Wellness Coaching can help you take steps to manage your weight. A member of our coaching team can talk with you on the phone regularly, encouraging you to make and stick to your plan! Register and contact us to discuss coaching. 

Register

How does this work?

The tailored approach LiveWell Dorset uses to come up with solutions to the things that are stopping us achieving our goals, is based upon work done by University College London developing the COM-B model of behaviour change. In this model, all behaviour is influenced by understanding a person’s capability to change, their opportunity to change and their motivation to change. By understanding which of these is the biggest barrier to change, we can tailor support accordingly. This model of behaviour change is at the centre of the support we offer, online and in person.

Your Favourites?

Login or register, to favourite activities that you want to try.

Welcome!

Is this the first time that you've used our services, or have you already registered with us? To allow us to best serve you, please confirm whether you're new to LiveWell Dorset, or if you've spoken to us before and may have an existing account.

Welcome back, it's good to hear from you again!

To speak to one of our dedicated team and get the help you require please request a call back. All call backs from this service are free of charge to both landlines and mobile.

Request a Call Back

Do you provide your consent to share your information with the LiveWell Dorset team – part of Public Health Dorset ?

When you register with LiveWell Dorset, we ask you some questions about you and your health (how much you smoke, how active you are, how much you drink and how much you weigh). We store that information and use it to shape our service offer to you – such as the advice we give or the extra services we connect you to. The only people who will see this information will be those involved in the delivery of the service and management of the data. If you would like to use extra services (such as slimming clubs and pharmacies) we have to share this information with them. For us to be able to put you in touch with these services, we must have your consent to share that information with the service (we’ll ask for that later, when if you sign up for extra services).

Before we can sign you up any further, we need to know:

  • You're happy for your personal information to be shared with LiveWell Dorset.
  • You understand what information may be shared and why, and that at times, our contact to you may be supported by technology partners, who have the same data protection standards and safeguards as we do
  • You acknowledge that you can withdraw your consent at any time by informing LiveWell Dorset.
  • You understand that if you do not give consent or withdraw consent then it could be difficult for us to connect you some of the services we offer.

If you require any more information to help you make your choice then please contact the LiveWell Dorset team on 0800 840 1628. All telephone conversations at LiveWell Dorset are recorded for quality and training purposes, and stored whilst you are registered as active within the service.

Yes I consent

Sorry we can't continue at the moment

Unfortunately we need your permission to store your personal information to help us to assess the best support we could provide or signpost you to. If at any stage you change your mind and are happy to provide your personal information please come back and visit us again.