The best rule of thumb to go by when counting calories to lose weight is to exercise and burn off more calories than you consume. You do need to learn your body-mass index to find out what your optimum calories are. For example a BMI or body mass index of 21.5 is great for females and about 22.5 for males.
For example if you are a female between the age of 31 and 50 with a BMI of 21.5 and you live a sedentary lifestyle, you need 1800 calories to maintain your level of energy. If you are moderately active you need 2000 calories and active women in this age range need 2200 calories a day. Take these estimates and subtract 500 calories from each weight class. That will give you an idea of how many calories you need to eat per day to lose that one pound a week. You should discover that exercising even moderately will increase your weight loss.
Men who are between 31 and 50 with a BMI of 22.5 need to eat between 2200 and 2400 calories per day if they are sedentary, 2400-2600 calories per day if moderately active and active males need to consume 2800-3000 calories per day. Again, subtract 500 calories from the total daily requirements to lose up to one pound a week.
Measured weight loss is the safest and most effective solution if you are looking to lose weight. A workable weight loss program will allow you to lose weight regularly and provides a way to keep off those pounds. Gradual weight loss offers long-term loss of body fat and not just the water weight that comes and goes. It would be in your best interest to increase your daily activity to burn off an additional 200 calories that will give you more than one pound a week of weight loss.
As a note a sedentary lifestyle includes very light physical activity that is associated with typical daily living. Moderate activity consist of walking about three miles a day and an active person is one who walks more than three miles a day at the same level or pace.