I want to lose weight on a low calorie diet.


I really appreciate the time and effort you will take to answer my questions. However, I did look through your website and other websites, yet I couldn’t find an answer to my question.

I believe my inquiry is a bit of a complex but I will try to explain it as well as I can, and hopefully, you will answer it. I am a petite girl and I want to lose weight. I am currently on a low-calorie diet, no more than 800 calories a day. My question is, if my calorie intake is changeable during the diet period, yet doesn’t exceed 800 calories will I still lose weight? In other words, if I eat 500 calories one day and then 700 calories the next day and 800 calories another day, will I still be able to lose weight? Or does my calorie intake has to be exactly the same every day during the diet period?

I apologize for the prolonged and complicated message, but I want to make sure that you understand what I mean. Again, I couldn’t find an answer to this question on any sources, hence I am asking you directly.

I am really looking forward to your answer and I am sure your reply will be helpful and beneficial to me and others. Once again thank you and I really appreciate your reply.

When the calories you eat is less than the calories your body needs to run including the calories you expend during daily activities or exercise, you will lose weight. It is your calorie intake over time (for instance 1 week) that determines your weight.  So even if your calorie intake varies from day to day, you will lose weight as long as you eat and exercise below the calories your body needs to run. But not below 1200 calories a day.

I do not recommend less than 1200 calories per day for anyone because below 1200 calories it is close to impossible to meet your RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowances) for protein, vitamins, and minerals. Also when you don’t eat enough calories, you are more likely to overeat because you aren’t satisfied. A big reason why fad diets fail. Any diet below 600 calories a day is starvation as far as your body is concerned.

One pound of body weight is considered to be 3500 calories so we usually recommend people eat less or exercise a combination of 500 calories per day to lose weight. It is easier to eat 250 fewer calories and exercise 250 calories more daily than attempt to just lose weight by eating 500 calories less.

Body weight is a combination of muscle which is 70% water and body fat.  When you lose weight, most people also lose some muscle mass unless you lift weights to maintain your muscles. When you lose muscle mass, your metabolic rate drops and your weight loss will slow (or even plateau) then you need even fewer calories to keep your body functioning. Aerobic exercise is good to burn body fat which starts after 20 minutes of exercising. The reason I stress exercise is that muscle burns more calories than body fat which basically sits there waiting for a famine in order to provide fuel for your body.

As you say, you are petite so you don’t need as many calories as a person who is taller. Exercise for you would be the best way to expend more calories rather than eating fewer than 1200 calories a day. Aim for 60 minutes of exercise that breaks a sweat 5 days a week.

If you want to see how many calories your body needs, try my Healthy Body Calculator®. Then try my HELP Healthy Eating for Life Plan® to create your personalized eating plan.

You are most welcome.