How many calories should I eat to lose weight?

How many calories should I eat to lose weight?

On average eat 1650 – 1800 calories to lose weight.

More than 4,000 adults who have lost nearly 73 lbs and kept it off, consume 1650 – 1800 calories per day to lose weight. These are members of the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR).

Studies show that people generally underestimate their calorie consumption by 20-30% Members of the registry reported consuming 1380 calories per day; to account for this self-reporting error, it’s probably 1650 – 1800 calories a day.

Women: 1550 – 1700 calories

Women reported consuming roughly 1300 calories per day. To account for the commonly accepted 20-30% self-reporting error, they probably consumed 1550 – 1700 calories a day to lose weight.

Men: 2050 – 2250 calories

Men reported consuming roughly 1725 calories per day. To account for self-reporting error, they probably consumed 2050 – 2250 calories a day.

The majority of NWCR members (90%) combined low calorie eating with enough exercise to burn 2600 calories per week.

Strategies used to cut calories

Members used one or more of the following strategies to cut calories to lose weight:

  • 88% of members limited certain foods or types of food.
  • 44% of members focused on portion control. They ate all types of food, but limited the quantity. (Tips for portion control at the restaurant).
  • 43% of members counted calories.
  • 25% counted fat grams.

Amount of fat, protein and carbohydrates

On average members got:

  • 25% of their calories from fat.
  • 20% of their calories from protein.
  • 55% of their calories from carbohydrates.

You don’t have to give up carbohydrates to lose weight. Focus on the type of carbohydrates you are eating: choose fewer refined grains and more whole grains. Eat fewer cookies, cakes, and other sources of refined grains.

Wing, Rena R and Suzanne Phelan. Long-term Weight Maintenance. Am J Clin Nutr 2005;82(suppl):222S-5S

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Stephanie Averkamp

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Stephanie Averkamp

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