If you're thinking about going on a diet, the 1500 calorie diet is the way to go. Daily caloric needs vary from person to person and are based on an individual's height, weight, age and level of activity. However, striving to eat around 1500 calories each day will lead to weight loss for most people. Read on to understand why this number is effective.
You Cannot Starve Yourself
Many women try to lose weight by drastically cutting back on calories, some going as low as 1000-12000 calories per day. Technically, any diet below 1200 calories is a starvation diet. When you consider that these women are also doubling their efforts with exercise, they're doing their body more harm than good. True, the key to weight loss is burning more calories than you take in, but your body's metabolism will slow when you consume so few. Your muscle could actually begin to deteriorate as your body turns to them for fuel--you need muscle to speed up your metabolism. You're better off consuming an adequate amount of calories each day and allowing the weight to come off more slowly.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
It takes a deficit of 3500 calories to equal one pound of weight loss. Since there are seven days in a week, that means you have to find a way to cut out 500 calories per day. Assuming the average woman eats somewhere between 1800-2000 calories a day, cutting daily intake down to 1500 calories isn't too drastic. Combined with a regular fitness regimen, a woman could plan to lose between one and two pounds per week--exactly what health professionals recommend. It's easy to find ways to cut out 500 calories. Swap that snack size bag of chips for an apple and you'll shave 100 calories out of your day. Drink a glass of water instead of a soda and you'll save 100 calories as well. Eat lean protein and vegetables for lunch and dinner--skip refined sugars and flours. Try to keep every meal at around 400 calories, leaving room for two 150-calorie snacks. The 1500 calorie diet is sustainable over time.
When you're only consuming 1500 calories per day, you only need to work out a few days a week (think four days maximum). Hitting the gym for an intense workout every day is counterproductive on this diet. If you want to workout a lot, you need to up your caloric intake to at least 1800 calories, though closer to 2000 is probably better. Again, you don't want to put your body into starvation mode. The more active you are, the more calories your body needs. The fact that we're hungry after being active is biological--our body tries to store fat. When on the 1500 calorie diet, try to be active for at least 30 minutes everyday. Do some kind of higher intensity cardiovascular activity (like running or an aerobics class) two days a week and lift weights on two days as well. Take walks on the other days.
The 1500 calorie diet is the most sustainable over time. It'll take time, but it's effective.