The issue of calorie intake for women is not a simple, one-size-fits-all formula. The amount of calories that each woman needs to consume to gain weight, lose weight or simply maintain it, depends upon her height, age, her levels of activity, her genetic makeup, her overall health and other factors as well.

However, the general rules relating to calorie intake for women are something like this:

General guidelines

The average male adult needs about 2500 calories to maintain his body weight, whereas an adult woman needs about 2000 calories per day to just maintain her body weight; neither losing nor gaining.


If a woman wants to lose weight she shouldn’t restrict her caloric intake very drastically. The reduction should be no more than 1000 calories below maintenance since this could trigger the body’s starvation response, causing it to hold on to fat stores. Also the baselines recommended by most experts are about 1200 calories per day for women and 1800 for men below which the daily caloric intake should not fall.

Weight of a woman

The calorie intake for women also depends upon what a woman weighs. In general, the more a woman weighs, the higher is her daily caloric need to maintain her body weight. However this is subject to her individual metabolism and her build (proportion of fat and muscle and so on).

Age of a woman

The age of a woman is also a factor that impacts how much she needs to eat in a day. Women find that as they age, they seem to be eating the same amount of food but that they still tend to put on weight. With age the metabolism tends to slow down and changes such as menopause tends to make significant changes to a woman’s body in terms of how much she needs to eat, changes in distribution of fat all over the body and so on.

Calorie calculator

The requirements for the calorie intake for women can be done using a calorie calculator. You need to fill in your present weight, your projected weight (whether you want to put on weight, maintain it or lose weight), your height and your age.

Based on this calculator, if you are a 115 pound woman aged 19 whose height is 53 inches you need just a little less than 1700 calories a day just to maintain that weight. To lose weight at about a pound a week, theoretically, you would need to reduce your maintenance caloric intake by about 400 calories and conversely to increase weight at about a pound a week, you would need to add about the same number of calories.

So by that token, a 40 years old woman who weighs about 165 pounds needs a shade less than 2000 calories a day for maintaining her weight. If she wants to lose about 15 pounds, she would have to reduce her caloric intake by about 500 calories a day to lose a pound a week without exercise.

This however is a theoretic representation of the required calorie intake for women. In reality other factors such as genetics, overall health, a woman’s occupation, her own metabolism and her lifestyle will all impact her actual caloric requirements.