# How many calories do I need to maintain 175 pounds?

Determining how many calories you need to maintain your current weight comes down to a simple equation: calories in versus calories out. To maintain your weight, the calories you consume through food and drink must equal the calories you burn through daily activity and exercise. If your calorie intake exceeds the calories you burn, you will gain weight. If your calorie burn exceeds your intake, you will lose weight.

## Calorie Needs for Weight Maintenance

So how many calories do you need to maintain 175 pounds? There are a few factors that determine your calorie needs:

• Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) – this is the minimum number of calories your body needs to perform basic functions like breathing, circulation, etc.
• Your activity level – this accounts for the calories you burn through movement, exercise, etc.
• Your age – calorie needs tend to decrease as we get older.
• Your sex – men generally have higher calorie needs than women.

To get a rough estimate of your calorie needs, you can use the Mifflin St-Jeor equation, which factors in these variables:

For men:

Calories per day = (10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) – (5 x age in years) + 5

For women:

Calories per day = (10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) – (5 x age in years) – 161

Let’s plug in the numbers for a 175 pound (79.5 kg) 30 year old man who is 5’10” (177 cm):

Calories per day = (10 x 79.5 kg) + (6.25 x 177 cm) – (5 x 30 years) + 5

= 795 + 1106 – 150 + 5

= 2756 calories per day

For a 175 pound (79.5 kg), 30 year old woman who is 5’10” (177 cm):

Calories per day = (10 x 79.5 kg) + (6.25 x 177 cm) – (5 x 30 years) – 161

= 795 + 1106 – 150 – 161

= 2590 calories per day

## Factors that Influence Calorie Needs

While the Mifflin St-Jeor equation provides a good starting point, your individual calorie needs may vary based on:

### Activity Level

Your activity level has a major impact on your calorie burn and needs. Here is how activity level influences daily calorie needs:

Sedentary (little to no exercise) – Cut 10% of calories
Lightly Active (light exercise 1-3 days/week) No adjustment needed
Moderately Active (moderate exercise 3-5 days/week) + Add 10% of calories
Very Active (hard exercise 6-7 days/week) + Add 20% of calories
Extremely Active (very hard exercise, physical job, training 2x/day) + Add 30% of calories

For example, if a sedentary 175 pound man needs 2756 calories, reducing that by 10% would put him at 2482 calories per day to maintain his weight.

### Body Composition

Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue – therefore, someone with more lean muscle mass will need more calories than someone with higher body fat, even if they are the same weight.

### Metabolic Factors

Some people have faster or slower metabolisms that burn calories more quickly or slowly. Things like thyroid disorders can influence metabolic rate and calorie burn.

### Age

As we get older, we tend to lose muscle mass and become less active, which decreases our calorie needs. Calorie needs tend to decrease by about 2% per decade after age 20-30.

### Sex

Due to differences in hormones and muscle mass distribution, men generally have higher calorie needs than women – about 400-500 more calories per day given the same activity level and body composition.

Figuring out your target calorie intake for weight maintenance requires a little bit of math and getting to know your body.

Here are the steps:

1. Calculate your basal calorie needs using the Mifflin St-Jeor equation above based on your stats.
2. Adjust up or down by 10-30% based on your activity level.
3. Make further minor adjustments over time based on your weight trends. If your weight is going up, reduce calories slightly. If weight is dropping, increase calories.
4. Give each calorie target 2-4 weeks to assess weight changes before making further adjustments.

Let’s say our 175 pound 30 year old male calculates his basic calorie needs as 2756 per day. He exercises 3-4 times per week with a mix of cardio and weights, indicating he’s moderately active. He would therefore add 10% to his starting calories, bringing him to 3032 calories per day to maintain his weight.

Over a month of eating 3032 calories daily, he notices he has lost a couple pounds. This means his actual calorie needs are slightly higher, so he increases his target to 3100 calories per day for the next month to account for his higher metabolism and activity level. The small change helps him maintain his 175 pound weight over the next few months.

## Nutrition for Weight Maintenance

Just as important as your total calorie target is the type of food making up those calories. To promote health, energy levels, and proper body function, your diet should emphasize:

• Protein – Eat 0.5-1g of protein per pound of body weight (so about 90-175g protein if you weigh 175lbs). Protein provides steady energy, helps build and maintain muscle, and keeps you feeling fuller longer.
• Fiber – Get 25-35g daily from vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Fiber aids digestion and gut health.
• Healthy fats – Include sources like olive oil, fatty fish, avocado, nuts and nut butters. Fat supports hormone and brain function.
• Complex carbs – Focus on whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, oats – limit added sugars and refined carbs which spike blood sugar.
• Micronutrients – Eat a colorful variety of vegetables and fruits to provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that support health.
• Hydration – Drink water, herbal tea and other fluids daily. Proper hydration is vital for health.

If counting calories or macros, aim for:

• 45-60% calories from carbs
• 25-30% from fat
• 15-20% from protein

This balanced nutrient distribution helps ensure you get the full spectrum of vitamins, minerals, fiber and healthy fats needed for your body’s optimal functioning.

## Sample Meal Plan for 175 Pound Weight Maintenance

Here is an example 2500 calorie meal plan suitable for maintaining 175 pounds with a moderately active lifestyle:

### Monday

• Breakfast – Veggie omelet with cheese (300 cal), avocado toast on whole grain (350 cal), banana (100 cal), coffee with milk (50 cal)
• Lunch – Grilled chicken salad with olive oil dressing (500 cal), whole wheat roll (100 cal), apple (100 cal)
• Dinner – Salmon, roasted Brussels sprouts and wild rice (600 cal)
• Snacks – Greek yogurt (150 cal), mixed nuts (200 cal), baby carrots (50 cal)

### Tuesday

• Breakfast – Oatmeal with berries, chia seeds and almonds (400 cal), hardboiled egg (80 cal), green tea (0 cal)
• Lunch – Turkey and cheese sandwich on whole grain bread (450 cal), vegetable soup (200 cal), watermelon (90 cal)
• Dinner – Burrito bowl with rice, beans, chicken, salsa (600 cal)
• Snacks – Cottage cheese and pineapple (150 cal), protein bar (200 cal)

Aim for a balanced meal plan with lean proteins, fiber-rich produce, whole grains and healthy fats at every meal and snack. This ensures you get a wide range of essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients your body needs.

## Exercise for Weight Maintenance

Regular exercise is vital for maintaining a healthy weight. Exercise provides many benefits:

• Maintains and builds muscle so your body burns more calories at rest.
• Manages stress levels which can influence appetite and fat storage.
• Boosts energy, mood and sleep quality.

For weight maintenance, aim for 150-300 minutes of moderate exercise per week, like brisk walking, swimming, cycling, strength training, etc. Mixing up cardio, strength training and flexibility exercises is ideal for overall health.

### Tips for Staying Active

• Find exercises you enjoy – you’ll be more likely to stick to it.
• Schedule workouts on your calendar to keep yourself accountable.
• Split longer sessions into multiple short sessions if needed to fit your schedule.
• Recruit a partner to exercise with for social motivation.
• Take walks during lunch breaks, pace while on the phone, take the stairs whenever you can.
• Stay positive – focus on how good exercise makes you feel!

Monitoring your weight is helpful to ensure your calorie intake and exercise levels are on the right track. Experts recommend the following approach:

• Weigh yourself – aim for once or twice per week under consistent conditions (like first thing in morning).
• Use the trend – focus on the general direction of your weight over weeks and months vs. day to day fluctuations.
• Be patient – allow 2-4 weeks before adjusting food and exercise after a change.
• Don’t overreact – if you gain a couple pounds, slightly reduce calories vs. making drastic cuts which backfires.
• Listen to your body – hunger, energy and cravings provide clues to fat regulating hormones.

Apps like MyFitnessPal or LoseIt can help track your calorie intake, exercise and weight. Or simply use a notebook or spreadsheet. This data can reveal helpful patterns over time.

## When to Seek Professional Help

In some cases, maintaining a healthy weight can be more complicated due to medical conditions that affect metabolism and appetite regulation. These include:

• Hypothyroidism – underactive thyroid slowing metabolism
• Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
• Cushing’s syndrome – high cortisol increasing fat storage
• Insulin resistance
• Depression or anxiety influencing appetite and motivation

If your weight seems impossible to manage despite diligently monitoring nutrition and exercising, speak to your healthcare provider. They can check for any underlying conditions and refer you to specialists like a registered dietitian, endocrinologist or therapist when needed.

## Sustainable Lifestyle Changes

Fad diets that drastically cut calories or food groups may result in short term weight loss, but are rarely sustainable. To maintain 175 pounds long-term, focus on realistic lifestyle changes like:

• Eating more whole, minimally processed foods
• Cooking meals at home more frequently
• Portion control
• Slowing down and savoring meals
• Drinking more water
• Reducing added sugars and refined carbs
• Incorporating new vegetables and fruits
• Discovering new physically active hobbies
• Practicing stress management and self-care

Small daily habits add up to big changes over weeks, months and years. Work to improve your behaviors gradually and be patient with yourself in the process.

## Conclusion

Determining your calorie needs for weight management takes some initial calculations and fine-tuning over time. Monitor your weight trends and energy levels to ensure you’re fueling your body properly. Combine your calorie target with regular exercise, nutrient-dense meals, and sustainable lifestyle adjustments for lasting success maintaining a healthy weight.