Monday, June 30, 2008

A Word About Lowering Calories

It's tempting sometimes to set an unrealistic limit on our calories. It was only 20+ years ago that popular fashion magazines touted a 1000 calorie a day diet as a good rule. Some women and teens got a bit too enthusiastic and cut that number in half, to just 500 calories! All in an effort to get the weight off faster.

As I said here in the entry titled, Determine Your Daily Calories, use a calorie calculator like the ones available at to figure the amount you should be taking in on a daily basis in order to lose weight. But what ever that number ends up being, conventional wisdom now says that women should not go below 1200 calories a day and men shouldn't go below 1500-1600. The reason for this is twofold. It's next to impossible to get the kind of nutrition we need: the vitamins, the minerals, the energy, in a daily diet of less than 1200 calories. Health professionals have also discovered that our bodies go into a starvation/survival mode if we diet too severely. To put it quite simply, the body doesn't know when it's going to get another meal so it slows the metabolism for survival. You'll actually stop losing weight for awhile which will end up frustrating and discouraging you.
Do yourself a favor and be satisfied with slow and steady weight loss. That's how you gained the weight. If it comes off slowly, it's more likely to stay off longer. And isn't that the real goal?

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