More Tools to Help You Lose Weight:
EatingWell's 500-Calorie Dinners
EatingWell Menu Planner
EatingWell Diet Challenge
EatingWell's 500-Calorie Dinner Challenge
The EatingWell Diet
Weight-Loss Diet Meal Plan
What Does a 1,500-Calorie Diet Look Like?
Recipes to Help You Lose Weight:
Healthy Diet Recipes, Menus and Tips
Healthy Low-Calorie Recipes and Menus
Healthy Low-Calorie Dessert Recipes
Healthy Low-Calorie Chicken Recipes
Lunches for 400 Calories or Less
Breakfasts for 350 Calories or Less
Snacks for 250 Calories or Less
500-Calorie Dinners: 30-Minute Dinners
500-Calorie Dinners: Chicken
500-Calorie Dinners: Fish
500-Calorie Dinners: Vegetarian
500-Calorie Dinners: Beef
500-Calorie Dinners: Seafood
How many calories do you need daily? Multiply your weight in pounds times 12 to get your weight maintenance number. That’s how many calories you’ll need to maintain your current weight, staying in energy balance at your current exercise level. Download our Goal Setting worksheet (click to download pdf) to set some goals now.
To lose weight, you need to create a negative energy balance—that is, decrease the calories you take in (eating less) and/or increase the calories you burn (exercising more). The best method is to do both.
One pound of fat contains 3,500 calories—so to lose 1 pound of fat, you need to create a negative energy balance of 3,500 calories. Do the math: Cut 500 calories per day from your weight-maintenance number, and you’ll lose approximately 1 pound per week. Likewise, a calorie deficit of 1,000 calories each day will add up to 2 pounds of weight loss per week.
Note: Do not go below 1,200 calories per day. Below this amount, it’s hard to get adequate daily nutrients. Don’t worry, you’ll still lose weight!
Recording your weight regularly is a powerful motivating tool. It can give you valuable feedback on how your weight-loss efforts are paying off and what’s not working. Moreover, studies suggest that keeping track of your scale readings over time might help prevent you from gaining weight. Since your weight can fluctuate greatly from day to day, it’s not important to weigh yourself daily—but some people find it easier to remember that way. Weighing once weekly is fine too. Use the Weight Tracker Chart (click to download pdf) to give you a good long-term view of your weight loss. The path to losing weight is never a straight line, but the long-term trend will show the pounds headed south.