How Many Calories to Eat for Weight Loss

Heather Reese Health Guide
  • I get a lot of questions about weight loss. People will frequently ask me how many calories they should eat to lose 10,15 or 20 pounds. Or they will ask how many calories they should eat if they want to reach a specific weight. It’s a common misconception that if you want to weigh 150 pounds you should eat the number of calories appropriate for someone who weighs 150 pounds.


    When eating less is bad

    In many cases eating for your goal weight may be counter-productive. A drastic decrease in calories can lead to prolonged plateaus and even prevent weight loss altogether, particularly if you have a large amount of weight to lose. When it comes to weight loss – less does not always mean more.

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    When you don’t eat enough calories, your body goes into what is called starvation mode. This means that your body will compensate for the inadequate calories by slowing down your metabolism so that your body burns fewer calories. In this state your body does not draw from its fat stores for energy, which makes is virtually impossible to lose weight. It is generally not considered healthy to lose more than one to two pounds per week. Try to focus on eating a calorie amount that will enable you to have a slow and steady weight loss.


    The right way to eat

    One pound is equivalent to 3,500 calories. If you want to lose one pound per week, you should decrease your calories by 3,500 a week or 500 calories per day. If you want to lose two pounds per week you should decrease your calories by 7,000 a week or 1,000 per day. This calorie deficit can be achieved by eating fewer calories, burning additional calories through exercise or a combination of the two.

Published On: September 22, 2007