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Counting calories and losing weight

 

Christy Judd, D.O., is chief resident in medicine at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center. This answer was reviewed by Alan Leibowitz, MD, chief academic officer at Banner Health, Arizona Region.

Question: I want to lose weight and I am looking at a chart that shows that I need to use 2,117 calories per day to achieve this. Do I have to use all of those calories - what would happen if I used fewer calories?

Answer: Here may be an easier way to look at the weight loss: A 500-calorie deficit each day will result in a pound lost per week (one pound equals 3,500 calories). This deficit can be achieved by increasing your activity levels, reducing the number of calories you consume or a combination of increased activity and decreased consumption.

The sensible combination of increased activity and improving your diet may not give you immediate results. Don’t get discouraged.

This slower rate of loss has been shown to have better success at keeping the weight off than rapid weight loss. Studies show that a slow weight loss of one to two pounds per week is best; losing more than four pounds in one week is pushing safety guidelines. 

Physical activity is an important factor to weight loss because it helps increase muscle, which can then burn more calories.

As far as consuming calories, the most important focus for diets is to make sure you get the nutrients you need.  The balanced diets are best at accomplishing this

 

 


 

Page Last Modified: 02/22/2010
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