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 went from 195 to 175 in less than three months, eating once a day. I pack 1500 cal in one single meal, eat about 4pm. No hunger pangs,no starving, eating well,lots of water. Stop complaining. It works if you set your mind for it to work...

Question: should I be worried about total calories or my net calories? Currently, my goal is to net 1200 calories / day after working out -- if I'm burning 800-1000 calories / workout, does that mean I should be consuming 2000-2200 calories per day to reach a net of 1200? Or is there some lesser amount I should be consuming to obtain weight loss?


04/03/2012 - 3:28pm

in order to lose 1 pound you need to cut 3500 calories. That can be from working out or from eating less. the whole x12 thing is what you take in now not including the exercise you do because the exercise and the and the extra amount you eat cancel each other out. However the average person is not supposed to eat less than 1200 calories because your body goes into starvation mode and you start to gain weight


03/09/2012 - 10:19pm

In response to - " FYI- I am 4'11 and 125 lbs. I would like to loose 10 lbs. I don't know. It just doesn't seem right to only consumer 500 - 1000 calories a day." You can't survive on 500-1000 calories a day. 1200 would probably be the lowest you could go. You can't drop 10 pounds in a week, but you could lose 10 pounds in about 8 weeks with a diet and exercise plan. Aerobic exercise in addition to strength training. Muscles burn more calories. Just listing a height/weight isn't enough to determine your caloric intake. Activity level is important. You could be exercising and eating more than 1500 calories. You need to track what kind of activity you normally do and what your diet consists of. Don't guess. Actually write it down. There you can find places where you can cut extra calories out from your normal diet to cut calories. Those cut calories in addition to the negative calories from exercise you can lose weight.


03/08/2012 - 8:12pm

The body weight x 12 rule pertains to the amount of calories you need to take in to maintain your body weight without exercising. One pound of fat = 3500 calories. Cut out 500 calories a day x 7 days = 3500 calories = 1 pound lost. If you are extremely overweight then cutting 1000 calories a day is doable, but if you're smaller then it's hard. You have to make sure that every calorie you consume counts. You can't starve yourself or you're going to slow your metabolism to a crawl because your body is going to go into starvation mode. You need to evenly space your meals and snacks. If you exercise a little bit more then you can add some extra calories to your diet in proportion to the calories you burned.


03/08/2012 - 8:06pm

I must be reading this wrong. So to maintain my weight I need 1500 calories. To loose a lb a week I would go down to 1000 calories? And to loose 2 lbs a week I would only consume 500 calories? Really? Seems unhealthy. FYI- I am 4'11 and 125 lbs. I would like to loose 10 lbs. I don't know. It just doesn't seem right to only consumer 500 - 1000 calories a day. Breakfast alone would already have me up to my number.


03/04/2012 - 8:55pm

The body weight times 12 rule seems precise from everything I've read about how to maintain or lose weight. I'm currently 146 pounds. That's about 1700 calories a day, which is what I eat. I've tried to do the 1200 calorie a day diet, but find I'm ravenous come bed time. I will try 1500 a day instead to see how that goes.


02/22/2012 - 4:37pm

Seems to me y'all aren't looking at the entire equation. Your weight x 12 gives you the number of calories to eat to maintain your weight with a sedentary lifestyle. If you put in walking the dog, pulling some weeds, washing the laundry, etc., normal daily activities, you need more calories to maintain your weight. If you are on a regular, disciplined exercise program you will have a different number entirely. In addition, if you do not change up your daily routine your body will adjust to "normal" and you once again won't be able to loose weight doing your daily activities. It is the entire picture which needs to be considered when looking at calories taken in & weight lost.


02/05/2012 - 2:10pm

The times 12 thing I think is really low. If I followed that I am suppose to eat only 1200 to maintain my weight and I eat close to 1500-2000 a day and maintain while working out.. Does that mean I am suppose to eat only 800 to lose a couple of pounds?


01/23/2012 - 9:47pm

According to your "how many calories I should be eating" chart, I should be eating 800 calories a day to burn 2 pounds a week. I think that is a very unhealthy number.


01/23/2012 - 3:51pm

I use the Bodymedia arm band and use their website to enter in my food intake. I work out on an elliptical each day for an hour. (Resistance set to 3 usually and speed 55 RPMs) My armband usually indicates I burn 3000 calories a day and I keep to right at a caloric consumption of 2500 a day. Doing this from Jan 2011 to Jan 2012, I have lost 49 pounds. I started out at 245 (5'10" now 48 year old male). I just hit 195lbs today. I am not saying that you have to have an arm band like I do with the associated $6.95 monthly fee. (Though I do to keep on track) What you do need to do though is find out how much your body burns each day and then find someway to keep track of your calories each day. From what I have seen I would think the average person should burn between 2000 to 2500 calories by going about their daily activities without adding exercise. So limiting calories to 1500 to 1800 should produce slow but steady results. It took me 10 years to go from 170 to 245....not rocket science that it will take time to take it off. As a side not, my arm band indicates that while I am asleep I burn 1.4 calories per minute. So if I were to sleep all the time, my body would burn 2016 a point is that would be a minimum burn...just sitting burns more.


01/06/2012 - 2:39am

Get a full year of EatingWell magazine.
World Wide Web Health Award Winner Web Award Winner World Wide Web Health Award Winner Interactive Media Award Winner