Published on May 25th, 2013 | by George Conte


How to use an online calorie counter for weight loss

There are numerous calculations you need to be able to do in order to create or follow a successful customized diet that is appropriate for you.

Some of the most important numbers you need to be able to calculate and monitor are:

  • The basal metabolic rate (BMR).
  • The total daily energy expenditure (TDEE).
  • Calories contained in foods.
  • Macronutrients contained in foods.
  • Micronutrients contained in foods.
  • How many calories are burned with different types of exercise.

I will explain why all these numbers are are useful and where can you find some of the best resources online to be able to figure these numbers for yourself.

How to use a Metabolic Rate Calculator

According to Wikipedia “Basal metabolic rate (BMR), and the closely related resting metabolic rate (RMR), is the amount of energy expended daily by humans and other animals at rest. Rest is defined as existing in a neutrally temperate environment while in the post-absorptive state.”

The total daily energy expenditure is the calories we burn each day with exercise along with the calories burned from our BMR.

In this article you can find all the info you need in order to understand how to calculate your personal BMR and TDEE. This is very important because if you don’t know how many calories your body burns per day you will not know how many calories you need to consume in order to create a calorie deficit and lose weight on the long run.

If you hate to do the math, there are various online calculators you can use that will do all the hard work for you quickly and accurately: has a great and very accurate BMR and TDEE calculator you can easily use and it is my personal favorite.


On the top left choose your sex, age, weight in pounds or kilograms and height in inches or centimeters. You can also input your body percentage if you know this number. For an explanation on how to calculate your body fat percentage check this article here.

BMR and TDEE calculator

On the middle area input how many hours you are resting and how many hours do you spend per day exercising and with what intensity (very light, light, moderate and heavy). For example you are doing aerobic exercise for 1 hour per day you can input that at the “moderate” option, if you spend 8 hours sleeping you can add that at the “resting” option and if you are doing weight lifting you can put that at the “heavy” option. If you are just working at an office or watching tv at home add that at the “very light” column. This is how it looks for me:

my TDEE and BMR stats

As you can see I have currently a BMR of 1814 calories per day and a TDEE of 2683 calories per day.

How to use a food calorie calculator

Now that you know how many calories your body burns per day you have to calculate how many calories there are in your food in order to create a calorie deficit.

Before I move on I will just put things in perspective in order to see how important this process is. In order to get rid of a pound of fat in your body it takes to burn approximately 3500 calories. This means that by creating a deficit of 500 calories per day you can lose 1 pound per week or 52 pounds per year! Losing 500 calories per day is super easy and you can even go up to the healthy limit of 1000 calories per day and lose fat two times faster.

My favorite site for calculating food calories is Just go there and type in the search bar your favorite food and you can instantly see a very accurate and analytic food label with all the important information you need like calorie amounts, macronutrients and micronutrients contained in food.

For example I love fruits like watermelon! All I have to do is input the word “watermelon” and “raw” in order to see the nutritional info of my favorite food.

I type “raw” because I always measure every type of food I consume in raw condition in order to be more accurate since after cooking some kinds of food like meat they lose weight in the form of evaporated water and it is easy to overestimate the calories contained.

This is the result nutritiondata for raw watermelon reported to me after I chose the option of 100 grams (top left):

raw watermelon nutrition data

The most important fact you can immediately read from this food label is the amount of calories (30) per 100 grams, the amount of macronutrients like protein (1 gram), carbohydrate (8 grams) and fat (0 grams).

If you scroll bellow you can also read a more detailed analysis about the nutrients contained in watermelon like:

  • Calorie information for each macronutrient.
  • What types of carbohydrates it contains (dietary fibers, starch, sugars).
  • Protein and amino acid profile
  • Detailed analysis of micronutrients like vitamins and minerals contained.
  • Fats & Fatty Acids analysis (Saturated Fat, Monounsaturated Fat, Polyunsaturated Fat, Total trans fatty acids, Total trans-monoenoic fatty acids, Total trans-polyenoic fatty acids, Total Omega-3 fatty acids and Omega-6 fatty acids etc.)
  • Other information like alcohol, water, caffeine etc. contained.

You can literally search all your favorite foods and find out exactly what they contain so you can create a customized diet plan that fits your needs.

How to use an exercise calorie calculator

Finally if you want to know exactly how many calories your burn on each exercise so you can add that extra calorie burning on your weight loss plan there are many solutions.

  1. You can use this list here for the most common exercises I have gathered for you.
  2. There is Exercise Calories Burned Calculator.
  3. Webmd fit-o-meter.

The webmd fit-o-meter is great if you want detailed results for many exercise variations. Just type your favorite exercise in the search bar then choose the variation you are interested and input your weight in lbs. and how long the exercise will last in hours and minutes.

For example I typed “running” and chose the “running 5 mph” variation and then I added my weight (170 lbs) and duration 1 hour. The result was 618 calories burned! That number is great because I can create a huge calorie deficit this way as I mentioned above and burn a lot of fat without even dieting, just by adding aerobic exercise 1 hour per day for as long as I want to lose weight.

Final thoughts

You have now all the tools you need in order to design your customized diet plan. You can control how many calories you consume, how many you burn and how fast you can lose weight. As long as you monitor these values there is nothing that can stop you from succeeding at your goal.

Think about that even if it seems hard right now if you have to burn a lot of fat (I had to burn 121 pounds) all it takes is the will to take action and time. At the end I can guarantee you that you can get rid of as much fat as you want just by following the simple principles I have mentioned in this blog. This is exactly how I did it!


Image by taiyofj via Flickr

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About the Author

George Conte is a student of Nutrition and Dietetics, a fitness and healthy living enthusiast. After seven years of personal experience with weight loss, exercise and a total body transformation where he managed to burn 121+ pounds of fat he became the founder of A website dedicated to help you overcome obesity and transform your life the same way he did!

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