Although it is tempting to plan to lose as much weight as possible as quickly as
possible, a better strategy is to adopt a lifetime diet plan and limit weight loss to
a safe rate of about 0.5 to 1 pound a week, with an upper limit of two pounds per
week for the very obese. Since one pound of body fat contains 3,500 calories, to
lose 0.5 pounds a week requires a deficit over the week of 1,750 calories or an average
of 250 calories a day less than your maintenance intake. To lose one pound
a week would require cutting 500 calories a day from your maintenance intake. To
maintain adequate nutrition and to avoid loss of lean body mass (muscle), nutrition
experts recommend that a person’s calorie intake should not be less than 1,200
calories a day for women and 1,500 calories a day for men. Losing gradually is a
realistic long-term goal and is also a goal most likely to be met.

Monitoring caloric intake and weight can help you determine the calorie level needed
to maintain or lose weight. Computer and phone apps can help with this. A
useful website is the NIH Body Weight Planner at
It takes into account the slowing of metabolism that occurs as you lose weight. The
planner will take into account your body size and physical activity, your weight
goal, and when you want to reach it. It will calculate the calories you should eat in
order to maintain your current weight, how much you should eat to reach your goal,
and how many calories to eat every day to maintain your new weight.

A similar Louisiana State University, Pennington Biomedical Research Center
planner, can be found at
weight-loss-predictor/. It shows the trajectory of weight loss according to the daily
calorie deficit compared to your maintenance diet.

Studies have shown that estimating the calorie content of food is not easy or exact,
and most people tend to considerably underestimate the number of calories that they
have eaten. Some people find that simply counting calories and stopping at their
predetermined limit each day is all they need to do to lose and maintain weight.
Some people find that counting calories does not work for them, but eliminating
foods with added sugar or eliminating processed foods (or both) and limiting their
diet to high-quality plant-based foods is an effective strategy. For still others,
additional measures, such as upping physical activity, will be needed, especially to
keep weight off.

This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in this blog or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Your Health with a Lifestyle Checklist (available in print or downloaded at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble and elsewhere). Copyright 2021 by J. Joseph Speidel