Calorie Intake for Weight Loss
7 Habits of Weight Loss

Proper Calorie Intake for Weight Loss...

Can you really live on 1200 calories a day?

What is the right calorie intake for weight loss?

Many aggressive diets recommend 1200 calories a day. Nutrition scientists tell us that it takes approximately 3500 calories to gain or lose a pound. If you want to lose one pound a week your calorie intake for weight loss must equal 3500 fewer calories than your body is using.

Let’s break that down a couple of ways in order to understand what it really means.

3500 divided by 7 (days in a week) is equal to 500 calories.

So, assuming your weight is holding steady, and you are not gaining weight currently, if you cut back by 500 calories fewer calories a day, then you will lose one pound a week.

500 calories is less than two average candy bars, or one candy bar and one (non-diet) soda.

It is less than a burger or a sandwich from many fast food places.

It could be as simple as dropping the large fries from your order.

And yet, if it were that easy, everyone would be skinny right?

It’s not that easy to skip 500 calories if you are used to eating a certain amount.

Let’s look at this a different way...

3500 calories divided by 30 (days in an average month) is 116.

So if your calorie intake is reduced by just 116 every day your weight loss will be one pound a month.

Before you think that isn’t very much weight loss in a whole month, stop and think how many pounds you lost last month?

116 is less than half of one candy bar. It’s less than half of one small bag of potato chips from the vending machine. It’s less than one skim milk latte at the coffee shop. It’s less than one tablespoon of salad dressing.

If you can consistently cut out half of one snack every day, or switch from regular salad dressing to nonfat salad dressing, you could consistently be losing one pound every month. After six months you will have lost six pounds.

Would that be worth it for almost no extra pain at all?

Have you lost six pounds in the last six months?

The right calorie intake for weight loss is any number fewer than you are currently consuming. If you can develop a habit of consistently reducing even a few calories every day you can achieve your weight loss goals.

If you can do it, a wonderful side effect occurs. Once you lose the first couple of pounds, you start to gain momentum. Once you start to see consistent results because you are developing good habits, you’ll find ways to knock another 116 calories off your daily intake and will achieve more rapid weight loss.

Start a Diet Journal

Write down everything you ate yesterday, and everything you ate today. Be really honest. Count everything, even that mouthful of food you tasted off your spouse’s plate, or your kid’s plate.

Literally write down everything. You don’t even have to add up the calories in what you ate (how depressing would that be anyway).

Just by glancing over the list, can you spot one hundred little calories you could easily have gone without? It’s that easy. Just gradually pair down what you eat.

Not holding steady, but gaining weight currently?

The same technique applies. Just write down everything you ate in the last two days, and look for ways to cut down, just a little bit. The idea in this case, rather than reducing your calorie intake for weight loss, is to level off your weight and stop gaining. Once you find the right calorie level that holds your weight steady, knock out another hundred or so at a time and you will start losing weight.

Philip Kustner

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The information found in and throughout The 7 Habits of Weight loss ( is not intended as a substitute for the advice or treatment that may have been prescribed by your physician.
Information found here should NOT be construed as definitive or binding medical advice and is NOT intended to diagnose, prescribe, nor endorse any brand of products or services. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new weight loss or exercise regimen or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.