How many calories should I eat a day if I weigh 173 pounds and want to lose weight?
– Whittney B.
On a daily basis, you’ll want to consume about 500 calories less than you are eating now, assuming you aren’t already restricting your caloric intake. This is because 500 calories equates to an average of about a pound of weight loss per week for active individuals. Find out how much you actually eat by tracking your intake for several days and analyzing it on a diet software program or reliable online nutrition site.
The number of calories required each day by a 173-pound woman varies based on age, height and activity level. Let’s use a 5’6”, 35-year-old woman who works out 2-3 days per week as an example. She would need to restrict her caloric intake to approximately 1300 calories per day to lose nearly 2 pounds per week. However:
- If she was only 25 years of age, she would need to add roughly 100 calories onto that total. If she was age 40 or above, she would need to subtract about 100 calories from that total.
- Likewise, if she was a few inches taller (e.g., 5’10”) she would need approximately 100 more calories if every day, but if she was a few inches shorter (e.g., 5’2”) she’d need about 100 fewer calories.
- And if our reference woman did not work out at all, she would only need about 1200 calories per day. However, if she worked out for an hour each day, she would need about 1800 calories per day.
So, based on the above estimates, a 45-year-old 5’2” woman would need about 1200 calories per day (at a minimum), regardless of exercise, whereas a 25-year-old 5’10” woman exercising five times a week would need approximately 2000 calories.
Getting lost in all those numbers? It may be easier just to reduce your present intake by about 500 calories, or increase exercise to achieve the same deficit!
– Debbie J., MS, RD
Do you have a question about your diet or nutrition?