Recommended Calorie Intake for your Vegetarian Low Calorie Diet

recommended calorie intake

Is there such a thing as a recommended calorie intake - how many calories should YOU be eating a day, on your vegetarian low calorie diet..?

A very rough scale would suggest that women should aim for 2000kcals per day, and men 2500kcals. This is regarded as the level that will tend to maintain your weight at a current level, for an imaginary 'average' person - so theoretically if you consumed this amount of calories, you'd neither gain nor lose weight. But this simplistic measure obscures a number of factors that greatly influence your calorific needs and consumption - and therefore, how many calories you should aim for, if your intention is to lose weight, in a safe and steady way.

In order to lose weight you need to eat less calories per day than your body uses up just staying the same - because simply being alive uses calories to some extent (though the amount you need per hour when asleep is obviously different from when you are running!) To lose 1lb a week you need to reduce your calorie intake by 500 calories per day. And by extension, to lose 2lb a week you need to reduce your calorie intake by 1000 calories a day. But whatever your recommended calorie intake, try to gradually lower calories - A sudden drop (such as 500 calories or more) can cause your metabolism to slow.

For a more balanced approach to a 1 pound per week weight loss, increase your activity. Decrease calorie intake by 250 calories per day and exercise to expend (use up) the other 250 calories. This approach prevents a decrease in your metabolic rate and promotes increased lean muscle mass, leading to weight loss which is faster, healthier, and more sustainable in the long term.

Remember though that the averages provided above are just that, averages, and take no account of your age, build, activity level, etc, and therefore do not provide an accurate mesaure of your true basal metabolic rate (bmr). This is what you need to know to establish your actual recommended calorie intake, and therefore create a plan of action to reduce it steadily and lose weight. The formula below can help you find out with far more accuracy - get your desk calculator out (or use the Windows one: start button>accessories>calculator)

Men: BMR = 66 + (13.7 X wt in kg) + (5 X ht in cm) - (6.8 X age in years)
Women: BMR = 655 + (9.6 X wt in kg) + (1.8 X ht in cm) - (4.7 X age in years)

After calculating your BMR, you can estimate your calorie requirements by multiplying your BMR by your activity multiplier from the chart below:

Activity Multiplier
Sedentary (desk job, no regular exercise) = BMR X 1.2
Light activity (taking light exercise 2-3 x per week)= BMR X 1.375
Moderate activity (taking moderate exercise 3-5 days per week)= BMR X 1.55
Heavy activity (Exercising actively every day)= BMR X 1.725
Super active (sports professionals, heavy manual workers etc)= BMR X 1.9

If you combine these two figures - your bmr calculated above, multiplied by the appropriate activity factor, you will have a much clearer idea of the calorie intake you are currently eating (assuming your weight is fairly steady before commencing your diet), and therefore what your target ought to be for the future.

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