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As a general rule of thumb, the number of calories a person can consume that will not result in a weight gain or loss is determined by multiplying a person's weight by 15. Thus, a 200 pound person will maintain this weight by consuming 3,000 calories per day. (200 X 15 = 3,000) Similarly, a 100 pound person would maintain his/her weight by consuming 1,500 calories per day. (100 X 15 = 1,500) Interestingly, this is one of the reasons it is easier for a person to lose weight in the early stages of a diet. If a person weighs 200 pounds at the start of a diet, he/she will lose weight by restricting their calories to 2,700 calories per day because this is 300 calories less than the 3,000 necessary to maintain a weight of 200 pounds. However, when this person reaches a weight of 180 pounds, he/she will no longer lose any weight on a 2,700 calorie diet because this number of calories will maintain a weight of 180 pounds. (180 X 15 = 2,700) Therefore, in order to continue losing weight, this person will have to further reduce the number of calories consumed each day. Using the following formula, it is possible to determine how much weight someone will gain or lose by eating more or less calories than the amount that will maintain their present weight; 3,500 calories = 1 pound of fat. Therefore, a person will gain one pound by eating an extra 3,500 calories or lose one pound by decreasing their calorie intake by 3,500. Thus, if a person eats 100 calories per day less than what is required to maintain their weight, he/she will lose one pound over the course of 35 days (35 days X 100 calories = 3,500 = 1 pound of fat), or 10 pounds in a year (365 days X 100 calories = 36,500 calories divided by 3,500 = 10.4 pounds of fat). Conversely, eating an extra 100 calories per day will result in a 10 pound weight gain over the course of one year.

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Q: How many calories should you eat for your size?
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