What is a good calorie goal?

Hi, I’m wondering about a calorie goal for my size. I am 19, I weigh *** pounds and I am 5’2″. I’m not physically active. My life style is more sedentary since I am studying art. How many calories would you recommend for me to maintain my weight? – Amanda

Hi Amanda,

You didn’t mention your weight goal, or whether you have any eating or weight struggles. Given your height, you are underweight and underweight means that you may not have the essential muscle and essential fat necessary for the body to function optimally. Do you get a menstrual period regularly without being on birth control pills? Irregular or missed periods can have negative affects on your bone density.

Based on a formula we use to estimate calorie needs, your maintenance calories are estimated to be 1400 calories per day without exercise and more if you were exercising. It takes 3500 extra calories to gain one pound. Adding 500 extra calories a day may help you achieve a one pound weight gain a week. If you are resistant to eating more, you should consider seeing a professional to discuss your thoughts about eating and your body weight.

Eileen Myers, MPH, RD, LDN, FADA