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New NIH Caloric Needs Calculator

A lot can happen in five minutes. You can run a half-mile, make a sandwich, or return a phone call. But what if we told you that in the same time it takes to do any of those things, you could create a personalized weight loss plan that guarantees results?

Thanks to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), it's possible—and completely free of charge. The new government calculator, dubbed the Body Weight Planner, uses science-backed research to calculate the exact exercise regimen and number of calories needed for you to reach your goal body weight. To create your personalized plan, you will be asked to fill in your weight, sex, age and height—standard measures used to create just about every weight loss plan. But there's more: It also asks you to input your physical activity level and allows you to submit a goal weight and a date by which you want to reach it. It also asks what type of exercise you plan to do, how often you plan to do it and what intensity level you think you'll reach during your future workouts. While it may seem like a lot of questions, the information allows the calculator to adjust its suggestions accordingly—and really, answering them only takes five minutes.

After the form is complete, the Body Weight Planner will tell you your daily calorie requirement to maintain your current weight, to reach your trim down goal in your specified time and to maintain your new, trimmer figure. The best part is, these stats can be applied to your diet—and weight loss foods—of choice, making any diet feel less grueling and restrictive.


Dana Leigh Smith
Dana has written for Women's Health, Prevention, Reader's Digest, and countless other publications. Read more about Dana Leigh