How many calories should I eat to lose 2 lbs a week?
This doesn't need opinion, this is science. A pound of fat is 3500 calories, so 2 pounds would be 7000 calories. So that's a 1000 calorie deficit per day.
You can estimate how much your body burns (TDEE) by entering your stats and body fat percentage at the iifym TDEE calculator (google it) or the muscleforlife TDEE calculator. If you subtract 1000 from that, that's the 1000 calorie deficit level and that's your answer.
Now having answered the question, I'd like to add:
- Such a high deficit will lead to a lot of muscle loss along with fat loss. Unless you are chronically obese. (Body fat > 40%). I'd suggest max 500 calorie deficit per day (one pounds loss per week) instead.
- When doing this deficit, make sure you workout HARD with weights three times a week (with plenty of rest, sleep and water), and make sure at least half your intake is from protein. And make sure you get enough vitamins and fiber. This intake and workout while being in a deficit will minimize muscle loss and maximize fat loss. That way you'll be in a better SHAPE (not just size) at the end of the effort.