Your weight is a balance between the calories you eat and the calories you burn, yes? (Here’s a previous post on the topic, if you’re interested.) So let’s talk a bit more about how to put a calorie plan into action.
First, you must figure out just how many calories you need. The easiest way to do this (outside of indirect calorimetry), is to use a research-validated equation, such as the Mifflin-St. Jeor equation which accurately predicts resting energy expenditure within 10%. Here is a handy link that allows you to enter your personal information; the site then inputs that info into the Mifflin-St. Jeor equation and does all the number crunching for you. A more labor intensive approach would be to carefully measure and record your food intake for a couple weeks, using an online food journal like SparkPeople. Assuming your weight has been stable, you can use the calorie information from this food journaling to determine your average intake and–voila!–discover how many calories you need on a daily basis for weight maintenance.