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 weigh 120 Ibs. How in the world am I suposed to eat 1440kcal when normally I eat about 1800kcal a day?! "

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

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

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

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

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

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

This can't be right. At barely 5' tall, I am heavy at 115. At my most active and healthy eating I was 100-105. so this article is saying that now at 115 I need 1380 cal to keep the same weight, and -500 (880 cal) to lose one pound per week? How can one survive on less than 1000 cal per day? I haven't gained steadily in months, but I know I eat more than 1380 per day. And I don't exercise anymore. Then they say if target goal is less than 1200, then set goal at 1200. Is 180 cal/day really going to make a difference? No.


06/22/2010 - 3:24am

No offense to the 19 year old, but c'mon, it doesn't matter whether the food was healthy or not. It shouldn't be a surprise even if "healthy" bread, granola, yogurt, cheese, blah, blah, blah adds up to 4000 calories if you eat the entire pack of all those things in a single day. Healthy doesn't mean 0 calories. Healthy just means less of sodium/preservative/whatever. But let's use some common sense here. Onions are healthy, but if you eat 10 pounds of onions, then it's still 10 pounds of food and all the nutritions AND calories that come with it. You can't just think "Gee, the company labeled them healthy and I'm not eating something fried, so I must be eating healthy and therefore my caloric intake is totally normal even if I eat the entire box of granola bars, which contain 24 servings."

Plus weight loss is much more than just couting calories. Besides, it's ridiculous to cut out a 1000 calories a day. The focus should be on MODERATION, not "I'm going to cut out anything and everything chocolate so I can be uber skinny." Healthy people eat chocolate. They just don't empty out the entire candy store.

The main point of the article was to provide the readers with a GUIDELINE for what should be, not the LAW. The idea here is to MODERATE, as in, spread out your 1,500 calories throughout the day. Don't skip breakfast then have a 1,500 calorie dinner.


06/21/2010 - 10:25pm

Yeah, definitely doesn't include exercise! I weigh 135 and am 5'8.5" and female. I learned to count calories as a teenager and I'm good at estimating amounts, etc. According to that formula I use 1,620 calories a day but I KNOW I consume about 2,000 calories a day and maintain my weight, even now in middle age. I don't exercise for its own sake but I'm really active taking care of my pets. For whatever reason I've found that fatty, greasy foods have lost their appeal as I've grown older. I actually gravitate to more fruit and veggies and I'm sure this helps. For me it's all about listening to my body. I eat when I'm hungry, I stop when I'm full and I'm aware of what I'm eating.


06/21/2010 - 10:19pm

I just don't find this kind of advice to be healthy or on point.
I am 120 pounds, which means my calculated caloric intake daily, just to maintain weight, is under 1500 calories, which doesn't sound too healthy to me.
I don't think your weight has as much to do with your calorie burn as your body composition, i.e. muscle/fat. Certainly someone who is 120 lbs, mostly muscle, can eat far more than someone who is 120lbs of fat.

Its not responsible for a magazine that promotes health, in my opinion, to put this kind of information out there without going into greater detail of the reasoning (if any?) behind the simplistic formula.


06/21/2010 - 7:03pm

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