The Discovery Health Channel's website has a BMR calculator
which does the calculation for you. Just enter your gender,
age, height and weight and hit Enter. This will be how many
calories you'd burn if you were essentially inactive all day:
About.com has another calculator that takes into account your
level of activity:
Entering the same data into the latter calculator as in the
first provides a higher figure for how many calories you need
to consume just to maintain your weight at the 'sedentary'
activity level. For me, it calculated 2078 vs 1659.7 on the
first one. The Discovery calculator seems more likely to be
accurate, as I can maintain my weight with much less than
Some differences can be expected, depending on the ratio of
fat to muscle, as a higher percentage of muscle in the body
will burn more calories than a lower one. Muscle tissue has
the advantage of burning off calories 24/7, even while we
The About page notes that:
"If your goal is to lose weight by burning off excess body fat,
aim to eat 500 fewer calories per day than your daily caloric
needs, and maintain or increase your exercise activity."
DietBites.com has a page that notes, more specifically:
"It takes 3,500 calories to equal one pound of body weight.
Generally, dieters dump an average of 1,000 calories per day
in an effort to lose 2 pounds of body fat per week."
Stevens Creek Software has a page with an even more detailed
and useful calculator:
Plugging in the same data as in the first two, and entering
sleeping as my activity level for 24 hours, it calculates
my BMR at 1826, and separates out the calories burned from
activity (sleeping) at 821 calories, for a total of 2648.
That still seems a bit high, but the calculator on this page
lets you also enter your actual levels of daily activity and
then lets you enter your intended exercises (running, cycling
or swimming, or any other activity, for which you can look up
and enter the calories burned per hour), to see what the final
outcome will be.
It will add the calories burned by your exercise routine and
calculate the total calories burned for the day. It also says
that you need to burn 3500 calories (over your intake) to lose
one pound. It also provides you (and lets you change) the
number of calories per mile per pound used by the more common
forms of exercise.
To lose 3 pounds in a week, then, you need to burn 10,500 more
calories than you consume within the same week, taking into
account the amount of calories consumed by your basal rate,
your normal daily activities and your intended exercise
Note that losing too much weight too quickly can be rough on
the system, and some health experts recommend setting your
sights on the goal of 2-3 pounds per month over an extended
period of time. If you find you can lose more than that with
no unpleasant effects on your system, then go for it, but if
you feel stressed when you attempt to lose more than 2-3 lbs
per month, it's probably wise to scale back. Also note that
you shouldn't consume less than 1200 calories per day without
See this article on dieting from nbc17.com
"The calorie level of your diet should allow for a weight
loss of no more than 1 pound per week (after the first week
or two when weight loss may be more rapid because of initial
That page refers to this excellent article on the site of
the National Institute of Health's Weight Control Information
Network, titled, 'Weight Loss for Life':
All of the calculators above take into account that your basal
metabolic rate decreases as you age - you burn fewer calories
at rest as you get older. This can be offset somewhat by
increasing your muscle mass, so, believe it or not, some form
of weightlifting is a good thing for elderly people.
I think that speaks well to your stated question, but if
anything's unclear, please post a Request for Clarification
before rating this answer.
Additional information may be found from an exploration of
the links resulting from the Google searches outlined below.
Searches done, via Google:
basal metabolic rate
"recommended rate of weight loss "pounds per month