One of the most frequently asked questions I hear from clients about to start a weight loss program with me, "how long will it take for me to get to my goal weight?". 

The good news is, here are the figures you need to work out to help you figure it out exactly.

Your Total Daily Exercise Expenditure (TDEE) is an important figure to help you achieve your ideal weight.

Everyday your body burns a specific number of calories just by existing. This is known as your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). The BMR is based on your weight, height and age.

And Total daily energy expenditure is exactly what it sounds like; The total amount of energy you burn over a 24 hours period.

When you exercise or simply burn energy through physical activity, you use additional calories. When you combine your BMR with the calories you burn through physical activity, you get your Total Daily Energy Expenditure - TDEE

This is what is known as your maintenance calories. If you eat this amount of calories you will maintain your weight.

So How Do I Lose Weight?

You lose weight by having a calorie deficit.

Let’s say that based on your age, weight, and height your BMR is 1700 calories and through some physical activity you end up with a TDEE of 2300 calories. To maintain weight you simply eat 2300 calories every day.

To gain weight you eat more than your TDEE and to lose weight you eat less.

Of course, you can also achieve a deficit through burning more calories through exercise.

Many Quick Fix diets claim incredible results, such diets put you into severe caloric deficit resulting in, yes weight loss however usually short term, but they can also cause damage to your health and damage to your metabolism, which means how effectively your body burns calories.

Another important figure is 3500 calories, meaning there are 3500 calories in a pound of fat, so by eating 500 calories less per day you will lose a pound in a week. While the majority of people want quick results, cutting by 500 calories per day is more sustainable.

These fundamental rules of dieting are based on the laws of energy balance.

No matter how “clean” you eat, if you feed your body more energy than it burns, you will gain weight.

So, planned weightloss starts with knowing how much energy you’re burning.

The first step in calculating your TDEE is calculating your BMR.

Our basal metabolic rate, also known as your BMR, is your minimum calorie expenditure rate, the rate at which you must expend calories in order to stay alive.

Here is a very simplified way to calculate your Base Metabolic Rate.


Calculate your weight in lbs (note a quick google search on say 14 stone in lbs will give you your weight in lbs)

14 stone = 196lbs x 10 = 1,960 calories = BMR


Once you have your BMR, you need to account for the additional energy expenditure.

1.3 = sedentary lifestyle (e.g. office worker with little or no daily exercise)

1.4 = light activity (light exercise/sports 1 to 3 days per week)

1.5= moderate activity (moderate exercise/sports 3 to 5 days per week)

1.6 = very active (hard exercise/sports 6 to 7 days per week)

1.6 to 1.8 = extra active (very hard exercise/sports 6 to 7 days per week and physical job)

A person weighing 14 Stone has a BMR of 1,960 x 1.2 (light activity 1-3 times per week) = 2,352 TDEE

To maintain this weight this person simply eats 2,352 calories every day. By simply reducing your TDEE by 500 calories per day to 1,852 will result in a 1 lb weight loss over a week.

Do you know your Ideal Weight?

By working out how many pounds you need to lose to get there will tell you how long you need to stick to a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day answering the important question of how long before it will take to reach your ideal weight.

So if this person used in the example above wants to achieve their ideal weight, of say 12 Stone, with 14 lbs in a stone, over 28 weeks of sticking to a 1,800 calories per day (not forgetting that they are currently lightly active 1-3 times per week) they will achieve their ideal weight, with a 2 stone weight loss over 7 months, of course upping activity levels will alter these figures and mean this person will reach their ideal weight in a quicker time frame.

Written By Elaine Baxter, Qualified Nutrition Coach, Owner Food Wise Enfield.  

Elaine helps females who are one or all of the following; mothers, active and working,
(average age 42),
to carve out some time for just them in their busy day
to be themselves, and be inspired to nourish their body,
spend a short amount of time every day working on easing stress of everyday life ,
so that they can feel more energetic, feel better and drop body fat.

Message 083 371 6831 to book your one to one appointment now.