What Does a 1,500-Calorie Diet Look Like?

By Nicci Micco, EatingWell 500 Calorie Dinners (2010)

Create your own 1,500-calorie day with these delicious and satisfying meals to help you lose weight.

"I did a calculation based on my weight of 180lbs and the number of calories needed to maintain my weight was about correct. For a weight loss of 2lb per week it came out at just under 1200 calories and they suggest 1200 as a minimum. I...

I have lost 160 lbs without surgery. It can be done. I think this 1500 calorie a day is too low for a person who is active at least four times a week--I mean really active (gym, running, etc...) As a person who worries about becoming anorexic (after being at the other extreme), I think this article should mention that the calorie guidelines and formula is geared toward a person with a sedentary lifestlye.


06/22/2010 - 9:17am

Not everyone can follow the exercise portion of this. It's unrealistic. We are not all built in athletes. Nor should we be. A person over 65 with medical problems should always consult their doctor first before doing any exercise. In fact, everyone should. I would listen to my doctor before I'd listen to some so-called fitness "expert". What these dietary guidelines fail to take into consideration, are each person's individual needs, and they vary from person to person. Older people have different needs from younger people. What works for one person, may or may not work for another.


06/22/2010 - 9:24am

Everyone does need to take into account that if you are active and incorporating exercise, which all healthy living plans do, reducing the additional calories will not all come from removing food from your diet. But exercising does not give you an open slate to eat everything in sight and assume that you will lose weight (I can attest to this from some of the people I see in the gym everyday). Use common sense and get guidance from a professional if possible like a personal trainer or nutritionalist.

It does sound like the 19 year old writer below is on the right track in that understanding real portion sizes is important, especially when you start reading the labels on packages. Once you get the hang of it, you don't have to measure all the time, because you will have a feel for sizes. And don't be embarrased to leave food on your plate in a restaurant or take home part of your meal. I do it all the time because most restaurant portion sizes are enough for two to four people.

Good luck to everyone on their personl jouneys. And remember, that good health is not about a number on a scale - it's about being able to live your life well!


06/22/2010 - 9:46am

There has to be a big adjustment to this math! I run 35 miles a week and do numerous other activirites including weights, totalling 13 hrs/week. I can not live with 120X12 = 1440 calories! I'll pass out.


06/22/2010 - 10:23am

I lost 27 pounds on Weight Watchers. I am now 120 lbs (female 5' 3 1/2 " tall and 41 years old) and just count calories to maintain. I dropped the weight in about 8 months eating what turned out to be about 1200 calories/day. I was 110 lbs when I graduated High School, but have no desire to return to that weight. I have maintained my weight for over a year now eating 1575 calories per day, with little to no exercise, though I do spend a fair amount of time in my vegetable garden. Sometimes I pig out, then I limit my calories for the next few days to about 1300 or 1400 calories. It has worked so far. On a regular basis, I eat mostly the more filling foods (lots of fruits & veggies), because I would be hungry if I didn't. I do eat a piece of chocolate and a 100-calorie fudge bar every day. I don't obsess about it. I wish I could say I can't eat as much as I used to, but that's not the case. I just feel worse after I do now. Pepperoni pizza is still my favorite food! This works for me, but might not for others. I really do need to exercise more for health reasons, so I'm not advocating weight loss without exercise. Fortunately for me anyway, it worked. Just sharing to show that the weight x 12 is always enough, even for sedentary people. And don't obsess! If you have to much anxiety about it, that alone can make it harder to lose weight, so I've read. Good luck, and don't let a bad day make quit!


06/22/2010 - 11:11am

12 x calculation is not factoring in any rigorous exercise. The amount of exercise you do will greatly increase the 12 x factor. Here's an example, Michael Phelps used to eat close to 10,000 calories per day when he was training for the Olympics but still maintained a ridiculously low body fat due to how much he was burning daily.

Use some common sense before posting about how irrational an article is.


06/22/2010 - 12:39pm

wow i would die on 1500 calories a day i need double that! im 33, 5'2 extremely active female!


06/22/2010 - 1:06pm

This equation does not factor in calories burned during exercise, it only tells you how many calories you need to maintain your weight if you are relatively inactive. If you burn 500 calories a day running, then you increase your intake by 500 calories a day to maintain that weight. To lose a pound a week, you need to lose 500 calories through a combination of diet and exercise, it doesn't have to just be diet. This very simple equation is not perfect, but a good starting point for someone that want to understand why it is that they can or can't lose weight.


06/22/2010 - 1:55pm

I believe this formula is a good guideline to getting started on a weight loss program but not a must for everybody. I had a baby 4 months ago. During my pregnancy I gained 35 lbs so all together I weighed 198 lbs. I started exercising and counting calories March 6. I limit myself to 1200 calories/day during the week. I give myself the weekends to be more care free with my calories but not go crazy either. I exercise 4-5 days/week. My exercise includes walking/jogging 2.5 miles 3-4 days/week, lunges and squats 4-5 days/week and 10 min ab routine almost daily. Since starting this diet and exercise routine, I've lost all my baby weight and an additional 22 lbs. That's a total of 57 lbs. I'm very proud of myself and I know that my problem before was not enough exercise and WAY too much food. People can lose weight if they really really want to. If they don't and find every excuse as to why they can't exercise more or watch what they eat, then they don't want it badly enough. You should count calories, it's an important part of losing weight. But you HAVE to exercise too or it's pointless!! And vice versa...don't just watch what you eat and think you can't exercise and still lose weight. Not gonna happen. Good luck to everybody out there trying to lose weight. I know it can be done cause I have/am doing it :)


06/22/2010 - 2:19pm

Body weight x 12 is VERY general, and does NOT apply to all, or even most people, for that matter. That is a terrible generalization to calculate your total daily energy expenditure. Gender, physical condition, body composition, daily activity are all major factors that need to be considered. For most MEN, I can tell you this formula is underestimating calories by a lot.


06/22/2010 - 2:20pm

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