How Many Calories Should I Eat a Day to Lose Weight?

I would like to write an article to answer the question on how many calories should i eat a day to lose weight?

This is a very common question, which is not surprising because modern health authorities are constantly saying that people eat too many calories per day and should cut back.

I have a few problems with this approach, mainly because I don’t believe that calorie counting is necessary. Obesity has increased despite the fact that almost everybody owns a calculator and can do math.

It is true that calories matter, but in my opinion this is something regular people should not worry about.

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How many calories should I eat a day?

How many calories should I eat a day to lose weight

Let’s for a moment assume that the “calories in, calories out” theory holds and ignore the fact that you might be able to lose weight without ever worrying about calories by simply giving up junk food.

What this theory states is that people are overweight because on an average day, they eat more than they burn. A few extra calories are turned into body fat every day, leading to obesity in the long run.

First, let’s figure out how many calories you burn on an average day. This number is only an estimate.

Weight:

Age: (in years)
Gender:
Height:
Activity Level:

Your Basal Metabolic Rate is:
Your Average Daily Calorie Need is:

 
Now, you need to figure out how much weight to lose. You do that by subtracting your goal weight from your current weight.

Current Weight – Goal weight = Number of pounds/kilograms to lose.

A pound of body fat is 3500 calories, while a kilogram of body fat is 7700 calories.

If using pounds: take the number of pounds you need to lose and multiply by 3500.
If using kilograms: take the number of kilograms and multiply by 7700.

This is the calorie deficit you need to create, over time, according to the “calories in, calories out” theory.

An example: 30 pounds to lose * 3500 = 105.000 calories.

Now, I’m gonna assume that you want to lose a pound per week (0.45kg), which is generally recommended. This means that for every pound you need to lose, you will need a daily calorie deficit of 500.

So, to conclude:

Take the number from the calculator above (Your average daily calorie need) and subtract that by 500 (f.x. 2500-500 = 2000). This is the number of calories you should eat a day to lose weight.

The problems with the calories in, calories out theory

If you were to lose 30 pounds with this method and aiming for a 500 calorie deficit a day, then you would have to weigh every single piece of food you eat and calculate the calories in it, every day for 7 months.

Let’s assume that you have an insanely strong willpower and are willing to let yourself go through many months of feeling hungry and energy deprived. Do you think you’ll be good to go after that?

No!

You are going to have to continue doing this, because otherwise you are going to gain that weight back.

Plus there are many other problems with calorie counting:

  • Your metabolic rate depends on age, sex, activity level, hormones, height, body fat levels, genetics and many more factors.
  • The metabolic rate changes over time and it will drop during long periods of calorie restriction.
  • The brain regulates body fat levels, and it will increase your hunger and decrease your activity levels to try and resist any changes.
  • Having to weigh every food you eat will be a massive obligation in your life. You won’t be able to eat out at restaurants or other peoples houses, and it’s just downright inconvenient and unsustainable.

Obviously, this is a recipe for disaster. We can not expect people to weigh and count every single piece of food they eat for the rest of their lives, which is really what is necessary to lose weight this way.

What about the statistics?

Let’s take a look at what the statistics say about this.

In the past few decades, obesity rates have skyrocketed.

Many people say that it is because people are exercising less and eating more. But that’s just not true.

In the past few decades, while obesity rates have increased, calorie consumption still remains within recommended levels and leisure-time physical activity has increased. Also, adult women are those who eat the least amount of calories but yet they are the most overweight, at least in the U.S (1).

Clearly, the calories in vs calories out theory doesn’t hold.

I also happen to believe that the human race is something more than just a big group of gluttons who are unable to control themselves.

The gatekeeper to your fat cells – Insulin

I’m going to discuss a particular hormone in your body that you have most likely heard of before.

It’s called Insulin.

Insulin is mostly known for regulating blood sugar levels, and a lack of it makes people become diabetics.

What insulin also does, is to function as a gatekeeper to your fat cells.

When insulin levels are elevated, the body’s fat cells are told to store fat and to make sure that whatever amount of fat already in them doesn’t get out.

If insulin levels are high despite the fact that you are eating less calories than you burn, then your body fat will have a real hard time getting out of your fat cells.

This will make your body feel energy deprived and your brain will respond.

The result: hunger.

Then what do you suggest as an alternative?

What I suggest, is choosing foods that do not cause a large amount of insulin release.

The macronutrient that releases the greatest amount of insulin is carbohydrate. A drop in carbohydrate intake reduces insulin levels.

When this happens, weight loss often happens automatically and without feelings of hunger. The science proves it (2).

Appetite is reduced and the body starts using its own body fat for energy.

Weight loss is not about calories, it is about eating the types of foods that encourage weight loss.

So, the question should not be how many calories should I eat a day to lose weight.

P.S. If you liked this article, then you’re going to LOVE my free online weight loss course.

The right question would be: how many carbs per day to lose weight naturally?


 

219 Comments

  1. Stable weight is about 22C/kg per day of lean body weight plus exercise, which is a small number unless you do physical work.

    The real issue is to only eat so few calories.

    Calories are the accounting, they do not give good direction in a specific way. Take the supplements, they have few calories, and get rid of most cravings. Take care of your emotional and spiritual health, and that may give some relief from the desire to eat. Take care of your career, to get satisfaction. Learn to enjoy your life without excess food. No sugar, grains, or omega 6 oils. Have a good life.

  2. Hi Kris,

    Excellent content here on a topic with differing opinions.

    I really think it depends on the individual. But I do believe that if you’re already lean, have decent nutrition habits and are physically active, you can skip the “how many calories” issue. On the other hand, if you’re overweight, I believe paying attention to your daily numbers — total daily energy expenditure + how many calories you’re consuming (at least have a good ball park estimate if you find weighing every food item too anal), is important if you aiming for maximum fat loss.

    Ray

  3. Hey Ray, thanks for commenting.

    It is true that it matters “how much” you eat, but I just can’t imagine calorie counting being a sustainable way of life for 99% of the people out there. That’s why I advise people to focus on food selection instead.

    According to the research, with a reduction in carbohydrate intake, peoples appetites are often spontaneously reduced which leads to an automatic drop in calorie intake, and automatic weight loss. There’s been tons of studies demonstrating this.

    If you’re interested, you can dig through some of the studies on low-carb diets here:

    http://www.kriskris.com/low-carb-vs-low-fat/

    I don’t recommend ketogenic diets for the average overweight person, but a diet that is kind of restricted in carbohydrate, 100-150g, should bring about similar results.

    Here is a massive review article if you are interested, a good place to start:

    http://www.ajcn.org/content/86/2/276.full

    • Amen. Counting calories is the only way to accurately monitor what goes in your mouth…BUT there is SO much food out there- there’s no way to memorize all those calorie #’s!!!

    • Michael says:

      Ray and Kris are both right and everybody is different AND hormones, insulin etc etc are important (and I do get Isabel DLR newsletter) BUT to the individual the sitting in front of me there is no single method to get going with other than calories.

      The truth is we eat too many. The research supports that we think we are eating less than we actually are. The KEY to success, as Kris has pointed out, is finding an easy way to count calories. My patients and I have had great success with a bar code scanning cell phone app that logs all calories, tracks exercise calories and tells me, meal by meal what I need.

      In this way, I know if I can afford to have an evening snack or not. I know that if I eat that big lunch the evening will be sparse with calories. Also I begin to learn some low cal great snacks. I love a lightly salted and peppered warm egg white (17 calories) or half a pound of blue berries (low cal).

      I took off 15 pound in 8 weeks and will continue using my cell phone app for life. I track my emails, texts, money, investments, appointments, phone numbers etc on my phone – why not my calories. Its easy. A total of 3 minutes a day.

      Oh, BTW, how does it feel if someone pulls out all your hair? Can you imagine how if would feel if someone took off your skin? Unpleasant right? Well, when you start to lose fat it feels unpleasant. We call it hunger. That’s right, hunger is the feeling of SUCCESS – the feeling of fat coming off of you. So, there will be hunger. The KEY is hunger is meant to save you from starvation. Imagine your ankles were broken 30,000 years ago. Hunger will DRIVE you to seek food anyway. The KEY is that we understand that the hunger we feel now is NOT a crisis warning symbol. IT’S A LIE!!! Get some sugarless gum and water or an egg white or two or some blueberries and wait out that hour until lunch or supper. SUCH IT UP PRINCESS!!!

      You can do it.

      Michael MD

      • Michael says:

        Sorry, one more thing. In the last five years the medical literature has become more clear. When they look at low car, high protein, small frequent meals, low fat, high fiber, prohormone inducing diets, the cabbage soup diet, South beach diet, the Zone diet etc what researchers find is that when you make subjects follow a diet to the letter they ALL work. Why? 2 reasons: 1) IT REALLY IS 90% ABOUT THE CALORIES and 2) IT IS PRIMITIVE BUT POWERFUL FEELING OF FAT COMING OFF OF US (HUNGER) THAT CAUSES US TO FAIL. We must have a plan for that. Knowing where I am in my day, calorie wise, allows me to select a a low cal snack to tide me over….and there will be some hunger – because the fat is being forecibly removed from my body. That’s going to hurt.

        Noted author of The Zone, Barry Sears, noted that prior to grain farming there was no obesity in the fossil record. Why? There was no easy to get calorie source. It was hard to get your daily allotment of calories. Your biggest risk was starvation. We are built (evolved) to eat sparely from nuts, roots, fruit and vegetables with the occasional meat when somebody kills something in the tribe.

        I eat that way now, and at 5′ 11″ and 159 pound (53 years old) and lots of exercise I am at the same weight as I was in high school. Much better than I was 6 months ago at 180. I at 2150 calories per day and now am at a maintenance 2500 calories per day. EASY with the calorie phone app. Which app you ask? I don’t imagine it matters. There are lots of them. I paid 2.99 for it. Best money I ever spent. I not saying the name because I’m sure there is lots and I’m not making any money, just telling my story and what I see with my patients.

        Michael MD

        • Hi Michael,
          To be at my high school weight of 200 would be a dream come true. I am 250 at 6’2″ with a 49″ gut – no waist.
          I tried the low carb approach but always and I mean always had to have a piece of bread with my eggs otherwise I would have a hard time digesting the eggs. Also, if I overeat, oranges for some reason help with digestion.
          What kind of exercise did you do?
          I can only do 10 minutes on my treadmill as my thigh mucles give out.
          I was considering strength training to first build up my legs then go on the treadmill – maybe then after building strength in my thigh muscles I could go longer than 10 minutes.
          What do you think?
          Thanks,
          Larry

      • Just wondering what the app is called?

        • Andrew G says:

          I use an app called “lost it” on android… Which is free…
          I’m not sure if it’s on iOS… but he’s right… there are a lot of great calorie counting apps out there. Just check the user reviews for weight lost apps.

          The way Lose It works is really simple. You enter your bio info and set a weight loss goal. Then the app gives you a daily calories budget. Whenever I eat out, at home… wherever… I just enter what I eat and the app tells me how many calories I have left.

          The app has a built-in database of just about any kind of food… just about anything at restraunts and a lot of grocery type foods.

          And it’s easy enough to make custom entries if it doesn’t have it.

          Honestly… with technology and smartphones… counting calories is insanely easy…. there’s really no excuse….

          It’s really not the “insane” task the article makes it out to be.
          The hardest thing might be measuring “serving sizes” when you cook at home. again… not that hard…

          And water and coke zero does wonders to fill you up.

  4. Hey Kris,
    I appreciate your view on this. We always hear that it’s calories vs calories out but you make very valid points here. I’ve never been one who believed that all calories are created equal and this really backs that up.

  5. but you never answered the question–how many carbs should I eat per day?

  6. Christina says:

    Hi Kris,
    Thanks for the article. I’ve been very confused about how many calories to consume in order to lose weight AND still give my body the fuel it needs to do the exercise I’m asking it to do! I am about 100 lbs overweight and just beginning serious training for an athletic event 8 months from now. I know that I will still be overweight in April of 2012, but I would like to achieve the maximum results possible and I just don’t know how to balance the calorie/exercise equation. Any follow up?

  7. Hey Christina, thanks for commenting.

    I do have a hard time recommending extreme weight loss methods for such a long time.

    Personally I’m not too fond of the calorie business, the diet that is most likely to bring you success is a portion controlled low carbohydrate diet. Some people are able to lose a lot of weight this way without experiencing much hunger at all.

    Take a look at this article here: http://www.kriskris.com/how-to-lose-weight-naturally/

    It details a blueprint for automatic weight loss on a low-carb diet. You might accelerate your results by going even lower on the carb range, and only eating until fullness, but sorry to say I don’t think you can lose anywhere close to a 100 pounds in 8 months.

    And restricting carbs and calories much is likely to affect your exercise performance, especially if you are doing high intensity exercise. There’s really no way around that.

    Hope that helps,
    Kris

  8. I would like to lose wight what can i do to make it happen?

  9. Hello Elizabeth,

    low-carbohydrate diets are usually considered most effective for weight loss.

    Check out this article here for more information: http://www.kriskris.com/how-to-lose-weight-naturally/

  10. Kris,
    I am trying to do a whole life makeover. I am finding that my habits have effected both my grown children and my young ones. I had back surgery 8 years ago and had used that as my excuse for my weight gain, truth is I have relied on box meals and drive thru’s to “make up time” in my busy life. I have 2 daughters in their 20′s and 2 sons under two (decided to start over didn’t want an empty nest) and I see my weight has my daughters worried they will be like me and the food I have been giving my younger ones has me worried that I am setting them up for unhealthy food choices. My oldest son is a hard one to get to eat protein so I give up alot and let him eat chicken nugget. Being as over weight as I am and really tired of everyday living in pain I want to make the changes not only for my self but for my family. I need some ideas for foods that will help with energy because let’s face it I am exhausted and also keep in my calorie limits. What came I perpare for family that will also help me? I thought about getting a trainer for a month so I can learn how to exercise proper. Your thoughts on how long I should have a trainer would be welcome.

    • Suggestion for the younger ones…make your own chicken nuggets at home from fresh, boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Cut them into the size you prefer. Dip them into skim milk rather than egg. Roll them in crushed crackers (eg. breton multi-grain or breton reduced fat and sodum) and bake in the oven. If you are concerned about sticking, place them on parchment (best) or use a fat-free cooking spray on the pan. If they are ‘dippers’, browse the selection of calorie-wise or fat-free salad dressings at the grocery store. They are much better choices than marketed dips.

  11. Hello Carol,

    congratulations on the decision to get healthy. I’ve written a few articles about the best foods to eat and which foods to avoid, which I believe is more important than focusing on the number of calories.

    http://www.kriskris.com/worst-foods-to-eat/
    http://www.kriskris.com/foods-to-eat-to-lose-weight/
    http://www.kriskris.com/how-to-lose-weight-naturally/

    Regarding the trainer, it is a good idea to hire a trainer for about a month. That should be plenty of time to learn how to do the exercises properly, and it is also a good idea to go for walks and such a few times per week. But be aware that some trainers can give pretty poor dietary advice.

    Hope that helps,
    Kris

  12. I am trying to lose weight but have a thyroid condition. I watch calories and everything else but haven’t lost anything. What would you suggest.

  13. Hey Ally, what I suggest is pretty much what I say in my comment right above yours :)

  14. For the past 2 and a half or so weeks I’ve started a much healthier diet where I just didn’t take calories into consideration. I’m sticking to about 80% vegetables, and about 20% meat..(or meat about 2 – 3 times a week, for only 1 of my major meals). eating lots of nuts, mushrooms, almond milk, tons of fruits and vegetables…. but I’ve cut out (grain) carbs as well.. Today I actually did the math on how many calories I’ve eaten up until lunch time and was surprised to find its only been about 400! I don’t think even with the rest of the food I’ll eat for the rest of the day that I’ll reach much more than 1200!

    I’ve been exercising as I normally have and haven’t felt overly tired yet – but now I’m starting to wonder if I’m not getting enough calories. I eat a lot of vegetables and fruit throughout the day and don’t often feel hungry… but when doing the math on what I’m eating, the calories just don’t add up? I’ve lost about 8 or so lbs in the past two and a half weeks.. so I’m not dropping lbs like a maniac. Should I bring some whole grains into my diet, increase my calories? or is it safe to stay the course?

  15. Steve: If you are losing weight after cutting out grains, then definitely wait on reintroducing them into your diet. I would rather add some more animal foods, such as meat, fish and eggs, and stay away from the grains for a while.

    If you are losing weight and don’t feel hungry, then I don’t see any reason to be worried about if you’re eating enough calories or not. Your body is burning its own body fat for calories and therefore isn’t energy deprived.

    • My goal is to be healthy, period. Therefore, I now eat better, which in turn causes weight loss.

      Diets high in animal products are directly linked to heart disease and cancer, i.e. “Forks over Knives”. Getting enough essential nutrients, keeping your carbohydrates “complex” not simple or refined, keeping my calorie intake to less than 20% of animal based calories, portion control and excercise are all elements of a good diet. Excercise is important, but the most important was the exercise of counting “calories in-calories out”.

      Because of counting calories and keeping a food diary for three weeks, I know what a serving looks like, that fibrous foods fill me more, and longer. I understand today that a simple tablespoon of oil in a basket full of stir fried vegetables ups the calorie count by 25%!

      Kill the carbs? Just the simple refined ones, sugars, highly refined flours, etc. Vegetables are mainly carbs, fiber is mainly carbs, but these are great for you. Bad carbs abound in junk food and are empty calories, void of any nutritional value. That is about the only thing on which we agree.

  16. I agree with Ray and have to disagree with the idea that calorie counting is unrealistic and unnecessary.

    If approximately 3500 EXTRA calories equals 1lb of body fat, how else do you determine what your daily intake is to determine WHERE you need to make the changes? It isn’t to say that you must keep doing it for the long-term, but it is important to understand where the majority is coming from, which ones are worthwhile and which ones are worthless and make an entire LIFESTYLE CHANGE.

    Healthy, fresh, lean foods STILL contain calories and too many calories will defeat you every time. But recording for a week what you take in and then counting for two or three weeks afterwards with a target in mind (never less than 1200 for women, 1500 for men) allows one to get a healthy handle on what is required for fat loss while still maintaining a healthy and functioning body. It also gives you an idea as to what an ideal portion size is. Once you have reached a healthy weight, count again for a month while increasing your intake. Look for when you STOP LOSING WEIGHT and you know, approximately, where you need to be. Simple, practical and easy to maintain if you don’t want to continuously count.

    Eating out occasionally is not impossible when you are counting calories, either. In fact, it becomes easier with the access to nutrition guides and because you are now more familiar with what a REAL portion looks like, rather than the two or three portions you often find on the plates of your favourite restaurant. Plus, it’s okay to treat yourself every now and then without it making a huge impact on your normal eating habits.

    In day to day life, I would strongly recommend that 5 minutes be taken each morning to plan your meals and snacks. Sit down with your breakfast, a pen and a notebook before you open your newspaper. This allows you to stick to better choices because you will open the cupboard or fridge with a specific food in mind rather than staring at the contents in hunger and making poorer choices from convenience. If you know you will be gone all day, plan and pack. Always have some options available in your bag or car or desk, whatever…It makes it so much simpler to keep to a healther diet.

  17. Amanda,

    we have a major difference of opinion here. I think that what you described is unrealistic for the majority of people, it is a fact that most individuals don’t have the self-control and iron discipline needed to maintain such an approach.

    I recommend a low-carb approach to weight loss, because it is a scientific fact that it leads to automatic fat loss without any sort of calorie counting.

    Cutting calories, which involves calorie counting, portion control and all those obsessive habits, does lead to weight loss but it also causes hunger due to the person undereating. Cutting carbs leads to an automatic reduction in appetite and automatic weight loss, without hunger. It has been demonstrated in tons of research studies.

    Not to mention that it also improves health bio markers such as blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, triglycerides and more to a much greater extent than calorie controlled diets.

    http://www.ajcn.org/content/86/2/276.full
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20101008

    I have a lot more of these if you want, but my plan with this article was to make it easy to understand so I didn’t dip in to the science that much.

    What you are recommending seems similar to what the USDA and other nutritional authorities suggest, which has not had any beneficial effect on the population as a whole. Plus the scientific basis for it is bogus: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20888548

    If calorie counting works for some people, great. But it is not the most effective, easiest or healthiest method for weight loss.

    That’s why I don’t recommend it, when there is obviously a much better approach available.

    • Lets say 2500 calories is my weight maintenance number. Now put me on a low carb diet….now let me eat 500 calories of low carb food over my maintenance number and i guarantee i gain weight. Funny thing is the guy above explained all all these different food choices he made and how much weight he lost funniest thing is when he stated that he ate only 1600 calories….almost a thousand under a normal male maintenance number. HMMM put two and two together. PLAIN AND SIMPLE DONT EAT SO MUCH. i speak from experience. I cut my calorie intake from always over 2600 to under 1500 i ate any type of food i wanted. big macs pizza anything. I lost 30 pounds in a month and a half. 0 exercise. Honestly eating out was the easiest way. Portions are done and measured for you.

      • Steve, the point is that for overweight people, restricting carbs lead to an automatic drop in calorie intake, without restriction or hunger.

        This has been supported by many scientific studies, the effect is so strong that the researchers have to intentionally restrict the calories in the higher-carb group to make the results comparable.

        You have two options:
        1. Restrict carbs, automatically eat less, and don’t be hungry.
        2. Don’t restrict carbs, but restrict portions which will lead to subsequent hunger.

        Both options will lead to weight loss but option 1 does seem more desirable, not to mention that this option also leads to more favourable health outcomes compared to the other one.

    • I found it interesting that you posted research from PubMed assuming no one knows how to read articles. However, the results clearly state: “comparisons between groups, however, were not statistically significant.”

      If you’re going to use research to back up your claim, at least use research that has significant findings.

  18. I think that you are both right. Each individual needs to find what works for them. I tried the low carb lifestyle but I have kidney issues and the excess protein reeked havoc on them. So I have gone to watching calories, healthy eating and exercise and have had great results. So my point? To each their own.

  19. I like the web site. My olny problem is to find the time . My son was kill in the war of Iraq and I got very down and I gave up life. And now iam heavy. I am trying to lose the weight . Thank you for this web site and I will try to lose the weight that I gain . Thank you again

  20. Hello Idino,

    very sorry to hear about your son. Good luck with your weight loss efforts.

  21. Hello Kris,
    I appericate the info. It’s kind of hard to lose weight around here at my house when my grandmother buys a lot of junk food and other things for my sisters’ cravings(they are both pregnant). Along side that we eat out a lot like pizza, hamburgers, subway. I lift weights every other day. I heard from six pack short cuts that the afterburn effect burns away the fat, but I drink diet coke like its water for me. Is there anyway to cut that habbit?

  22. Hello Richard,
    check out the free report I have in the sidebar. It is about giving up junk food, it should be helpful to you :)

  23. i think that everyone is going to have their own opinions about this and what way works for them or is the “right” way… but to the people saying that lowering carb intake is not the way to go why dont you just try it that way you will actually be arguing from your very own experience and not what you want to believe because of your success with a different way…just because one way has worked for you before doesnt mean that this way wont work.

    i personally like the idea that Kris has, i have done the low calorie diets and i have even in the past tried the extreme low calorie diets like the 500 calorie diet…. but i have not kept the results of as well as i would have liked to see… so i am going to keep an open mind and see if maybe lowering my carb intake will work better for me.

    ALL IN ALL!! Dont knock it til you TRY it!!!!

  24. Great info here! I’ve been counting calories and have done very well at it. I eat 1200 a day (plus extra calories based on how many I burned extra over sedentary level – 1200 is my sedentary level and if I workout and burn approx 300 calories, I eat an additional 300).

    My first question (although I know you don’t like the counting calories method) is if it’s correct for me to add calories to my daily intake based on how many I burn exercising sinc I based my daily intake on “sedentary levels?”

    I’m excited to start working on reducing carbohydrates!! I do think counting calories was a good way for me to get food portions under control and to allow me to eat things I was used to eating. But now it’s time to move on and chose lower-carb items.

    My second question is just how many carbs should I target taking in as I’ve heard you need some carbs to maintain energy levels.

    Thanks!!!! Going to check out the rest of your site now :)

  25. Hey Rhonda,

    if you are trying to use exercise to cause a calorie deficit, then eating extra calories will remove that calorie deficit. But personally I wouldn’t worry about that, eating a little extra to recover after a workout is fine.

    Aiming for 100-150 grams of carbs per day is often recommended, going under 100 may help lose weight faster.

    • Thanks Kris,

      After I posted last night, I saw information on your website about shooting for 100 carbs or less a day. I’m adjusted my plan to try to hit 90 carbs which is 30% carbs, 50% protien, and 20% fat.

      About the caloric deficit, I am starting out my day with about a 600 calorie deficit since sedentary calorie goal for me is about 1800 and yet I’m eating only 1200. I was adding back calories eaten so that I maintain enough nutrition going in because I read a woman needs no less than 1000 net calories consumed. I was afraid if I didn’t eat more when working out I woudn’t be getting enough calories in. Does that make sense?

      Thanks!

  26. Kris – I totally agree with what your saying. I have tried hundreds of different diets and I find that when I reduce my BAD carb intake, that’s when I loose weight and feel better. I too suffer from a hypothyroid and I have been diagnosed with hypoglycemia. I have a lot of diabeties and heart disease in my family history and DO NOT want to end up like my grandparents. A friend recommend I read “The GI Diet” by Rick Gallop. It’s basically written like a book for “dummies”. I love it! When my insulin levels remain stabilized, I feel no energy drops, no brain fog, and I am losing weight. Portion control does play a part as well. I have really enjoyed your blog and appreciate you sharing your research findings.

  27. I disagree Kris,

    I have lost weight by reducing carbs several times in my life, and from personal experience (and just about everyone else I know who has done it), after a few months your brain starts to have EXTREME cravings for carbs. Most people put the weight back on and then some.

    Yes, cutting carbs can be a quick way to get quick results, but the best, safest, and most mentally comfortable way to lose weight is: to get on a weight training program and a cardio program. People who dramatically cut their carbohydrate intake end up burning all their muscle tissue and essential proteins and fats for energy. You are recommending people to cut one of the most important parts of their diets out. Carbs provide energy, they also build muscle tissue.

    You also fail to explain the difference between fast digesting and slow digesting carbohydrates. Not all carbs are created equal. Of course sedentary people need little carbohydrates, but that is a very unsafe and uncomfortable way to lose weight.

    Exercising (weight training mixed with vigorous cardio), eating smaller portions with more lean protein, vegetables, oats, and whole grain, and a lot of water is the answer. Don’t cut carbs out. You need them. Plus, your will to exercise will be much greater, and your energy levels will be much higher if you maintain a healthy intake of carbs per day. Cutting them out will make you feel tired and constantly starved for food you can’t have.

    The idea that Kris thinks cutting carbs out reduces people’s appetite makes me wonder if he’s ever even done this diet before. Cutting carbs makes people have horrible cravings for pizza, sandwiches, doughnuts, pie, etc. Don’t deprive your body like that.

    Do cut out: alcohol, fruit juices, sneaking snacks in throughout the day, ice cream, donuts, sugary cereal, anything with high-fructose corn-syrup, soda pop, beer, potato chips etc. out.

  28. I forgot to add:

    But don’t cut out things like whole wheat pasta, oatmeal, wheat toast, sweet potatoes, brown rice etc. Those are great sources of energy and will help you really feel great and empowered while tackling your exercise program. A good, moderated amount of carbs will really help you burn calories and stay motivated to go to the gym.

    Cutting carbs and dropping your blood sugar like that, will make you nearly homicidal. It’s not a fun, or healthy, experience. Lose weight the right way, and enjoy your meals. Deprivation is NOT the answer.

  29. Hello Mac.
    We have a major difference of opinion here. There are plenty of research studies showing that carb restriction is the safest, easiest and healthiest way to lose weight. More weight is lost compared to low-fat diets, and ALL common biomarkers of health are improved.

    Here is a good summary of the evidence, I recommend you have a look: http://www.ajcn.org/content/86/2/276.full

    There is plenty more where that came from by the way.

    The body can produce its own blood sugar as needed, as long as enough protein is consumed. This is a biochemical fact and a process known as gluconeogenesis. Instead of using glucose as its main source of energy, the body will turn to fatty acids and substances known as ketone bodies.

    Eating about 100-150 grams of carbs per day, like I suggest for maintenance, is more than plenty to provide the body with blood sugar. Btw cravings for donuts, pizza, etc. have nothing to do with carb restriction. People who eat whole grains crave that junk too.

    • Hello,

      “Kris” mentioned “The body can produce its own blood sugar as needed, as long as enough protein is consumed. This is a biochemical fact and a process known as gluconeogenesis. Instead of using glucose as its main source of energy, the body will turn to fatty acids and substances known as ketone bodies.”

      Do you intend to make it sound as if carbs are not an essential nutrient?

      Do you know what will eventually happen to a person if they eat no carbs?

      They will DIE.

      Obviously, this is not a problem for most people, particularly Americans. We are more than able to get our proper carbohydrate intake, even if we are strenuously avoiding carbohydrate intake. However, here is a phrase everyone should know and remember:

      “fat burns in the flame of carbohydrate.”

      What does this mean? It means that if you do not have sufficient carbohydrates, your body will be physically incapable of using fat for energy. Why? Because carbohydrates provide a source of oxaloacetate, which is needed for the TCA cycle (for those of you rusty on your science, the TCA cycle is used in many organisms in the production of energy). Fat cannot power the TCA cycle by itself. So your claim that the body will “turn to fatty acids and ketone bodies for energy” makes no sense whatsoever. Certain proteins composed of ketogenic amino acids can fuel the TCA cycle, it is true. However, if carbohydrate intake is sufficiently low and you rely on protein for powering the TCA cycle, then you will eventually enter a state of ketosis. You mentioned ketone bodies. Do you know what they are? It doesn’t seem like it, if you think the body uses them for energy. Ketone bodies are produced as a by-product of using ketogenic amino acids to power the TCA cycle. Unfortunately, these ketone bodies are quite acidic and ketone body build-up in the body will eventually result in acidosis, where, untreated, a person will lapse into a coma and DIE as a result of their blood becoming too acidic.

      Now, I should stress that people rarely ever do this to themselves (unless they’re diabetic in which it can be very easy for a person to inadvertently die from acidosis) because you will suffer from extreme cravings for food, courtesy of your body who loves you and does not want to die, until you eventually cave and eat something.

      So then, are we all cursed to be fat forever? No. How do you lose weight? You burn more than you take in. It’s not a matter of “well it works for some people but not others, etc.” If you want to lose weight, then don’t eat so much. People want to be told ridiculous things like “Lose weight fast! On our diet, you can only eat eggs, but you can eat as many as you want!” No. If you eat too many calories, you will gain weight. If you do not eat enough calories, you will lose weight.

      Don’t believe me? Tell the starving children in Africa that the real reason they’re too thin is because they aren’t eating enough carbohydrates. On a side note, many places where people are extremely thin/starving are also very poor regions of the world that rely on carbohydrates from grains for most of their food. Now, with such a huge percentage of their diet consisting of carbohydrates, why aren’t they massively obese or, at the very least, not starving? Because they do not eat enough calories to make up for how much they burn. Because they are physically active. It is not about whether you eat an ice cream diet, a celery diet, or nothing but bananas. It is about how much you eat. To some extent, certain foods contribute so little to your caloric intake because they are practically indigestible (such as celery) that you could theoretically eat quite a lot of them and lose weight. But I digress.

      What you eat is certainly important, since nutrition is not all about weight loss. You need to consume all the essential nutrients as well. However, from a weight loss perspective, I completely disagree with your idea that you can cut out carbs and miraculously lose weight without making sure you’re not eating 5,000 calories a day. Furthermore, as I mentioned, cutting down carbs to an extreme amount is counterproductive from a burning fat perspective and can even be dangerous, particularly if you are incorporating lots of exercise into your diet (the RDI for carbs is 140 grams a day, by the way).

      I do like your caloric calculator and your very correct ideas about caloric deficits to lose weight, etc. Also, 1 lb a week is a solid goal for most people.

      And I think your point about the difficulty some people have in counting calories is valid. However, it is a necessary evil and I actually think it can be a very enlightening process for most people. There are free apps for people who have the iPhone to count calories. And, in general, once you have kept track of what you eat for a month or two and had a few “That had HOW many calories???” people tend to get a sense for what is healthy and what isn’t. In this way, it can be a very good exercise for everyone, even people who aren’t overweight. We need to be more aware of what we’re putting in our mouths.

      Until then, if you’re serious about losing weight: cut out candy, sugary drinks, and junk food. Incorporate 60-90 minutes of exercise into your routine EVERY DAY in order to build lean muscle mass (altho consult a doctor before beginning any serious workout plan, etc etc). Eat GOOD food. Vegetables, fruits, lean meat, sea food. Eat less processed junk. Pay attention to food labels. See a nutritionist if necessary. Not only will you lose weight, you’ll actually be healthy and feel good about yourself. Making these changes isn’t any more difficult than facing the crippling acute and degenerative diseases associated with being overweight and unhealthy.

      • Hello David, thanks for a great comment, but we do have some major disagreements here.

        There is no physiological need for dietary carbohydrates, the body can make what it needs via gluconeogenesis.

        The liver can produce oxaloacetate via the amino acid Aspartate, for example, through the enzyme Aspartate Aminotransferase. Then there are plenty of other substances that can be used as TCA cycle intermediates, I’d rather not spend the entire morning digging them all up, but they include other amino acids.

        Ketosis and ketoacidosis are not the same thing, this is a common misunderstanding. Ketoacidosis does NOT happen on a low-carb diet, but it does happen to type I diabetics that don’t get insulin for a long time.

        And your claim that ketone bodies aren’t used for energy makes me think you haven’t even learned biochemistry yourself.

        There have been populations, such as the Eskimos in Greenland, that lived off next to zero carbs. Actually, zero carb is something I am completely against, I recommend 100-150 grams for most people, and under 100 grams for those who need to lose weight.

        There are so many clinical trials disproving the rest of your arguments so I don’t think I will spend a lot of time going through them, but I recommend you read up on the literature on low-carb diets and then re-evaluate your beliefs.

        http://www.ajcn.org/content/86/2/276.full
        http://www.annals.org/content/140/10/769.long
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21992535
        http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/297/9/969.long

  30. I’m 6”1, I went from 110kg 42” waist to 78kg 31” waist using the calorie count diet solely, It took me about 12 months to lose the weight, I have to admit it was difficult overall to minimize food intake to stick within a calorie range, As for it being inconvenient I disagree; at first you have to measure your food and look up calorie content in foods that you are eating, but overtime you can just by looking at the food, know roughly how many calories are in them.

    In fact the CC diet is the only diet where I can eat whatever I want so long as I stick within the calorie range, unlike other diets that prohibit you eating certain foods, and I’d like to add that CC diet goes hand in hand with exercising, The more you exercise the more your calorie limit is increased so giving you the choice of either eating it away or just put it towards your weight loss, overall the diet is stable and effective but you have to stick to it; when you start you will have huge cravings, headaches and fatigue sometimes, but this happens because your body is expecting something it isn’t getting and over time it will adapt.

  31. Hello Fouad,
    different things work for different people. I am glad you found an approach that works well for you and is sustainable in the long term.

  32. Counting calories is too much work.
    Losing weight requires just some lifestyle changes. These changes do not have to be drastic.
    A drastic change is harder to stick to, and this is why most people do not stick to this kind of weight loss program.
    Losing weight in a safe, healthy way is a combination of several things done right-healthy eating, exercises, and a positive state of mind.
    The success that comes from gradual approach encourages more discipline.
    The fad diets out there might shed the weight on the short term, but are likely to result on the weight being put back on, and then some.

  33. hi i am 36 female i am 167 cm and 90 kg weight i want to loose 20 kg in 6 month i exercise 3 times a week how much calories i must eat and how many hours i need to exercise thank you

  34. Sean diet says:

    Hey, Great article on many different opinion! I have just one question. I lost about 50 lbs over 3 months and had strong will power and barely at all all everyday. Now That I have reahced my goal, I want to stay the same weight. So i used your calulator and tried using the recommended calories to stay the same weight. After about 2 weeks, I saw that i gained a few pounds. I read that the will power thing up top will make you put the weight back on, but can you tell me if there is anyway I can get back to eating the normal amounts of food without gaining weight. I realize my body is used to little amounts of food, but I want to be able to maintain healthily. Can you please just tell me if there is anyway to get back to the healthy amount of calories I need per day without gaining or losing weight? Thank you

    • In that case I would definitely recommend that you cut back on carbohydrates, especially refined sugar and wheat. Carb restriction can cause weight loss/hinder weight gain without calorie counting, although this does have exceptions.

      I recommend you read these articles here:
      http://www.kriskris.com/worst-foods-to-eat/
      http://www.kriskris.com/foods-to-eat-to-lose-weight/

      One of the main problems with calorie restriction and calorie counting is that when you’ve finally lost all that weight, then want to start eating normally, you will gain that weight back. That is why I don’t recommend that approach, although it does work for some people. Carb restriction can do the same thing for you, and is probably healthier.

  35. Elizabeth Brown says:

    The above calculations did not make sense to me. What is the daily caloric intake? That was not described appropriately, not allowing me to calculate what to do if I wanted to lose 2 pounds a week.

    I actually need to lose 30 pounds. 30*3500= 10500 what is this number?? What do you divide this by to figure out the daily caloric intake. Please advise. Thanks.

  36. Elizabeth,
    A pound of fat is 3500 calories. That means two pounds of body fat is 2×3500 = 7000 calories in total. If you want to lose two pounds of week, then you have to eat 1000 calories less than you burn, per day.

    The energy contained in 30 pounds of body fat is 30×3500 = 105.000. That means that your total calorie deficit over the course of a few months should be 105.000.

    In the calculator above, your “average daily need” means how many calories you should eat when not trying to lose weight. Then you should subtract 1000 from that number.

    But honestly, a calorie restriction like that is pretty severe and likely won’t be sustainable in the long run. A pound per week (500 calories per day) would probably be easier. Restricting carbs might be a better option, if you look at some of the comments above I have recommended some resources for that.

  37. I have been eating 1200 cal/day for 4 years now, initially (in 18 months) I lost 90 pounds, but have not been able to lose any more though my Dr. wants me to lose another 10-15…I exercise 6 days/week for 1-2 hours, this includes cardio every day and resistance training 3 days/week….the past 4 months my training was intense as I trained & ran my first marathon (not bad for a 52yo formally obese person!!!)….why am I not losing when the calories I expend exercising & my calories in creates a huge deficit…….I am stuck!!!

    • HOLLY -

      Huge calorie deficits (As in, cutting back on calories too much and exercising a lot) hurts fat loss. You can actually gain, metabolism slows to a hault, and your cortisol levels are raised because you’re stressing out the body.

      Eat your exercise calories, ESP if you’ve already created a calorie deficit.

      Read this article:
      http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/fat-loss/why-big-caloric-deficits-and-lots-of-activity-can-hurt-fat-loss.html

      • You know, I think the best route lies somewhere in between the calorie counting and the low carb diets. I’ve noticed that rarely is it mentioned about *when* to eat. My theory is, lower glycemic index carbs are best eaten in the morning and midday, giving you extended energy and controlling hunger. More protien and less carbs in general for the last meal of the day. Should you watch your cals? yeah absolutely; trim them back somewhat but not to the extent that you are very uncomfortable. Should you watch your carbs?, yeah definitely, and really look at the glycemic index of the carbs you’re eating and what time of the day you’re eating them…but drastically cutting them isn’t good either. I’m a firm believer in this theory regarding carbs: eat preferably low glycemic index carbs according to how much activity you plan to do. Low GI Carbs before exercise, not so much before sleep or inactivity. High GI carbs, sugars, breads, potatoes: rarely if ever, and if you do you better be very active, and balance them with protien. Balance is best. And of course, lots of enjoyable exercise is essential. two other rarely mentioned factors that I think are absolutely a part of being overweight: too much stress, and not enough sleep.
        The truth is that the human body is a very complex system and there are no easy answers. Rather, we should factor in everything we know and take a more comprehensive approach.

        • I think the simplest you can possibly put it is this, and no simpler:
          1.Reduce calories somewhat overall according to activity levels, 2. heavily reduce high glycemic index carbs in general, 3.try to intake low glycemic carbs before and according to your activity levels, 4.integrate more protien into your diet, balance low GI carbs out with protien for longest lasting energy. 5. drink lots and lots of water. 5. have a regular, balanced and varied cardio/weight training schedule. 6. try as hard as you can to get enough sleep. 7. attempt to manage stress with healthy means. 8. give it time and *trend* towards healthier lifestyle; there are no overnight cures for this disease. Short term weight loss is often not really weight loss at all 9. eat more in the early day and less at night, much more protien at night and less carb heavy meals before sleep.
          The causes of obesity epidemic? First and foremost, number 1 thing: very little physical activity. Our genetics are used to much more activity that most of us are currently doing. Second and almost as bad, a diet which emphasizes high glycemic index carbs (junk) with no regard to when they are eaten, and don’t forget relatively low protein intake. Just my two cents; losing weight is not impossible, it just takes a lot of time with a balanced and reasonable approach. You absolutely have to educate yourself as much as possible with the basic nuts and bolts of your body’s energy system. (which is pretty cool really).

  38. Holly,
    I wish I had a straight answer for you.

    Cutting back on carbs, or perhaps trying intermittent fasting, might help. What kind of foods are you eating?

  39. Kris,

    I’m at 9% bodyfat, trying to get down to 6-7. I’m confused by the information here. Won’t I continue to lose weight as long as I maintain a caloric deficit? I consume whole grains with almost every meal. As I understand, they create a slow insulin increase which keeps you satisfied until the next meal.

    I mean regardless, I’m always hungry by the time I eat again (every 3 hours) which I feel is natural because of the calorie deficit.

    What difference would it make if I sub out grains for veggies if j net the same amount of calories after it all?

    Also, I cook with canola oil. I am told it has good unsaturated fat. Is that bad?

    (I lift 5x/week and do 30-45 minutes of card a day)

    • Matthew, if you are managing to control your body fat levels with calorie restriction then by all means continue to do so. Everybody is different, and when you find something that works for you, stick with it.

      I am merely pointing out that for long term weight loss, carb restriction is probably an easier, and healthier way to lose weight (for most people).

      I honestly would stay away from canola oil. It is a processed seed oil that has probably been extracted using harsh chemical methods. For cooking, saturated fats such as butter, coconut oil, etc. are the best because they have a higher smoke point. Olive oil works too.

      Polyunsaturated fats, like you will find in canola oil, are chemically unstable and can get damaged at the high heat.

  40. hello
    i am 26 years old I lost 20 pounds last year by eating less and working out my height is 5.6′ and I was 141 pounds now I am 121pounds .I do some exercise at home that I get from internet because I don’t have time to go to gym and i do them 5day a week(about 50 min) my weight doesn’t change but I feel my lower body gets fat .I try to eat less but I can’t especially now that i should focus on my study , so my question is this; how much I should eat to lose weight(the measure that this calorie calculator told me is too much I never eat more that 800cals ) is it less?? and can you link some good sites for exercise ??
    please tell me what to do because I don’t want to gain weight .
    thank you so much
    p.s i am not English so sorry for being bad at it

  41. I’ve been dieting for two weeks and end up binging junk food the day after.
    Any tips on not binge eat?

  42. Amy,
    take a look at this article on how to stop cravings: http://www.kriskris.com/how-to-stop-cravings/

    Binging can be a sign of junk food addiction, which I have written about in detail in a pdf report: http://www.kriskris.com/junk-food-addiction/

  43. Hello, i just realized i may have been majorly undereating so i’m asking your advice. For the last 2 weeks i have been consuming around 1.2kcal/day and i realized i got sick.. when i stood up i had temporary blindness moments and i was always tired. (im 5’8 and 173lbs atm) yes i did lose 7lbs in 2 weeks, but the problem is this week i’ve stopped and i think its because my body is in starvation mode? I weighed myself today and it seemed like i gained a lb… i was wondering am i undereating.. overeating or what? i’m so confused.. and i do exercise 5-6days/week around 1hour on the stepper/elliptical. Also, should i stick to counting calories or should i eat healthier foods? i’m not really sure what to do since counting calories seem to be easier for me because eating healthier foods i don’t know how much to eat before i overeat…
    Please help! Thanks !

    • Hi. I think you may be eating too little and exercising too much. This kind of routine can work in the short term, but it is rare that people can stick to such an extreme plan for the long term.

      If I were you, I’d increase my calories a bit, reduce the exercise to 3-4 times per week, and change your food selection. Replace all sugar, wheat, trans fats and vegetable oils with meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit, high-fat dairy, etc.

      Personally, I believe that food selection is more important than calories. Often, cutting back on carbs can cause people to lose weight automatically without hunger or any sort of calorie counting/portion control.

      You should check out these two articles here:
      http://www.kriskris.com/worst-foods-to-eat/
      http://www.kriskris.com/foods-to-eat-to-lose-weight/

      • thank you for helping!! my BMR is around 1.6k should i eat 1.6k just to be safe? Also, how come food selection is more important? i thought calories were calories no matter what food they came from as long as you consume less and work out you lose weight? sorry for the extensive questions.

        • It’s a common misconception that calories are the only thing that matters. Scientific studies show that changes in food selection (mainly just carb restriction) works best for weight loss.

          1.6k seems reasonable :)

          • nice! and promise one last question…is around 1-1/2 cup of brown rice per day too much carbs?>.< i prefer to have some type of carb in my diet because im asian and used to having rice. I also eat alot of veggies and chicken now adays.

  44. Hello, recently i have been trying to lose weight and i find it weird how i have to eat below my BMR to lose 2lbs per week… my BMR is around 1.5-1.6kcal/day and im eating around 1.2k per day and im losing 2lbs perweek with exercising regularly. Any idea what the problem may be?

    • I’m not sure what you mean by “problem”, you say you are losing 2 pounds per week?

      • yes i have been but this week i only lost around 1.5lbs. i’m kind of confused because i eat below the bmr and exercise 5-6days a week for an hour, but my weight doesn’t seem to want to go down.

        • You need to take into account that a pound of body fat is 3500 calories.

          Assuming that all you’ve lost is fat, then 1.5lbs is 5250 calories worth. That is actually pretty rapid weight loss, usually 1lb per week is an ambitious goal.

          So I wouldn’t worry, you’re actually doing very well and you should continue doing what you’re doing now.

  45. Stephanie says:

    To Amy, I have found that giving myself one day a week where I give into cravings and moderately enjoy them, I am able to start fresh the next day without feeling deprived or cranky. If during the week I see or think of something I just have to have, I’ll have it on my free day. You’ll begin to notice though, if you stick with this lean protein, low glycemic carbs approach, when you do cave and have that X you are dying to eat, it won’t taste the same and after a bite or two you’ll wonder why you ever liked it so much. Good luck!!

  46. Just curious, im intaking around 1500-1600 calories a day, excercising 3 times a week good work outs trying to build muscle etc and loose weight, my diet is really healthy, plenty of protein, carbs too (all Low Gi) but im wondering is my calorie intake too low? i dont think i can increase through food becasue im eating alot its just not high in calorie contact,,,, good breakfast…lunch and dinner but i couldnt stomach eating more poultry…! im 23 205Lbs i know i should eat more but i cant..im going to start the protein shakes for the calories too i think

    • Hello Steven, that does seem quite low, but if you’re losing weight and you feel good then I don’t see a problem.

      Even if you’re not taking in a great deal of calories through diet, your total energy expenditure may be much higher than that due to you burning body fat.

  47. Corinna Kruizenga says:

    I eat properly how I don’t lose weight.

  48. I eat 1cup cheerios with 1cup milk and one 50 calorie of
    container yogurt for breakfast every day.
    I eat something with rice (Healthy Choice) every noon , at lunch.
    I eat a baby portion of green beans,and either a portion of mashed or an equal portion of pasta and a half of chicken
    breast (boneless and skinless) for dinner.

    • Corinna,

      What I found effective in my 20 pound weight loss for my wedding, was a combination of eating smaller portions, walking an hour (moderate paced) every other day or so, watching caloric intake, drank lots of water and cut out soda and down on alcohol, and last but should have been first, stopped eating after 6 p.m., when my metabolism slows down; as I am over 40. Hint: I ate most of my calories in the middle of the day which was after I walked. Studies have shown that your metabolism is higher after exercise so you burn the calories you eat faster. Also, I used the website (free) sparkpeople.com for motivation and tips for recipes. I hope this helps.

  49. Tegan Leigh says:

    Hi Kris,
    How you going?
    Im only young and work in an office 5 days a week. I have started at the gym and go every night after work. I want to loose 20kgs as soon as possible. Any other advice you can give me to loose quickly?

    Thanks Tegan

  50. hi Kris. thank you for the great information. i have been watching calories and dieting for 5 months with slow but steady weight loss. 20lbs overall. it’s been slow going and now it seems i am at astand still. not losing anymore weight, running 3 to 4 miles a day and eating around 1500 calories a day. i’m 34 years of age. i am 137 pounds. if i must eat any less to lose more weight i think i would rather be heavy. any suggestions? thanks

  51. Tegan and Heather, I’ve answered similar questions in the comments above. Please read through the comments and take a look at the links I have provided in them.

  52. Hello, i am considering trying nutrisystem because my biggest problems are portion control and eating just for the sake of eating. I dont have a lot of will power when it comes to food. What is your opinion on this diet? I do plan to add exercise to my diet plan; at least 30min 3x week.

    • A quick scan through the Nutrisystem website makes me think this is not an optimal diet, and I am especially appalled by the diabetes menu.

  53. To add to Jessica’s Comment – I have the exact same problem – my job is computer based with zero to none exercise – I drive to work sit down drink coffee drive home (I work far from home) then it is house hold chores and cooking for my family when you look at the clock its past 9 and almost bed time
    I have to loose 19.2kg and with that being said get emotional looking at the scale and then instead of being motivated – I EAT ! What would you suggest
    I have tried shakes cause im a bad morning eater – coffee during the day as time is limited and for the last month we drank water even walked the dogs and ate steamed fish and chicken with salads and veggies I lost 3.8kg in water which I gained again – I also struggle with vatigue and swollen feet – did bloodtest besides cholestrol being a bit high no other medical conditions – ANY HELP YOU CAN OFFER PLEASE????

  54. hey kris,
    I am 14 , 5’4 and I weight 148 pounds is that normal???!?~?~
    Well anyways I wanted to ask you will dancing 5 times a day make you lose weight?!?! And what is the best exercise to lose belly fat??? ( i heard they say crunches and curl ups, BUT SOME PEOPLE SAY IT MAKES YOU FATTER) i am really confused i need ur help

  55. I need ur help fast

  56. Exercising 5 times a day is too extreme, 5 times per week would be a better idea. Crunches won’t make you lose belly fat, but a healthy diet and exercise program will.

  57. hahhah thanks I meant to write 5 times a week, but i have done that for months it wont help me lose weight

  58. easy, free, useful calculator with some great information from you.

    i’m trying to lose 20 pounds in 8 weeks. i know losing 2 pounds per week is safe and reasonable. so i’ll let 18 pounds be my goal. i don’t know how i’ve let myself reach 140 lbs for my weight. i’m 5’8″ and pretty slender with skinny legs, arms, and my middle is sort of soft these days but what i hate are these (what look to me like) gross love handles i have. i’m trying to only eat 1200 or less calories a day. i’ve been riding my bike one mile then i do a small workout after for 10 minutes. i just started 3 days ago but hope to up the miles and workout as the weeks go on.

    i just hate these love handles because everywhere else i’m skinny by my pant size is going up but everything else is staying the same. so my pants are baggy around the legs which looks weird on me because i am so tall and slender.

    let me know what you think of my “idea” to lose weight. i’m sure it’s not the healthiest but i’d like to hear your input anyways.

  59. *meant to say i’ll let 16 pounds be my goal!

  60. I don’t see why both methods can’t be used Simultaneously. I would assume most people that are cutting back calorie intake are also cutting back carbs as well. It seems to me both work hand in hand.

    I was amazed at my own results by simply cutting as much sugars as possible from my daily diet. Including most starches as well.

    There is however a big diffrence between eating little and eating healthy. If your not eating healthy, you are bound to put the weight lost back on eventually.

  61. Hi,
    Thanks for a good site. I am at a relatively OK weight (67 kg/147 lbs, 5’10”/178 cm tall, 41 yrs old) but am trying to lose those difficult last 3 kgs that tend to accumulate around the middle after 2 kids. I have tried strict low/no-carb diets (<20g) in the past and typically lost 2-3 kgs but gained it back and found it hard to live without bread and pasta in the long run. Am now trying a sort of combo — low-ish (but not without) carbs and careful on calories. Nothing extreme. So I have been at this for 2 weeks now and my weight has not moved AT ALL. Can you help me comment on my eating habits? Typical day:
    Breakfast: 1 grapefruit, 1 slice whole wheat toast with swiss cheese, small portion full fat plain yoghurt (3 %) with fresh berries, 1 caffe latte
    Lunch: Cobb salad with vinegraitte dressing, diet coke
    Snack: some cashew nuts, or a fruit
    Dinner: chicken vegetable soup OR chicken breast with salad (lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, some dressing), 1 glass of wine
    Evening snack: fruit salad + a few cashew nuts
    How many calories and gr of carbs would you estimate this to?
    I have a desk job but typically exercise 3-4 times/week: play tennis or do 25 min jogging/brisk walk followed by 20 min weight training. Calorie counters like your above says I should eat around 2000 cals to maintain and approx. 1500 to lose weight.
    What I find the most strange is that I do not notice very much difference in my weight regardless if I "let go" and have cheeseburgers for dinner, some ice cream or candy every evening, occasional cookies for snacks etc, vs. when I try harder and eat like the above… Max 2 kg up and down, feels like there should be a bigger impact

    Any thoughts appreciated!
    Olivia

  62. How do I know how many carbohydrates is appropriate to be eating every day. I never eat white breads. I have switched to ezekiel, i don’t eat junk food, i’ve limited fruits. what gives? I have ten pounds to lose?

    Please advise :)

  63. I have lost more than 15 lb in 24 days simply by eating almost nothing, I only have one meal a day in the dinner which is Caesar salad with chicken Brest only, a lot of water and no Bread, Rice or corn whatever, how can I calculate the fat in the body.

  64. Hey, I’m Chelsea. I have a problem… I need to lose 40-60 pounds in two months. (the more the better) I am five foot nine inches, and 220lbs. I’m an athletic, muscular girl. The reason for the urgency is that I am only 14 years old. I want to be a normal teenager. I am extrememly embarrassed about my weight. I will be 15 on April 17 and by that date would like to be more so “normal”, please help me.

    • And it would be better if i could do it without any medication because i don’t want to get my parents involved, they know I’m trying to lose weight but it’s my battle and i don’t want them to be concerned.

      • Hello Chelsea.

        40-60 pounds in two months is an unrealistic goal and almost physically impossible. 10-20 pounds would be more realistic.

        What is most important is to adopt a lifestyle change, that is the only thing that works in the long-term.

        What you need is to eat healthy and exercise several times a week, for the rest of your life. A “crash diet” will only make you hungry and deprived, and very unlikely to lead to long-term results.

        • Is 30 more realistic? Im desperate… And what ever I do, I will not give up… I want to get to a healthy point and stay there.

          • Let’s do a bit of math.

            30 pounds of bodyfat equal 30×3500 = 105.000 calories.

            If you’re really strict, you can eat 500 less calories than you burn, on average, each day.

            That means that to lose 30 pounds of body fat, it will take 105.000/500 = 210 days, or 7 months of dieting.

            Weight loss of this magnitude is only possible with a long-term lifestyle change. Aim to lose weight in a year, not two months.

            You seem like a smart girl, make sure to take the sensible road here and not do like the other unsuccessful people and go on a crash diet. It will not work.

            I recommend you read up on the paleo diet and that you cut out all sugar, junk foods and most sources of grains. Get a membership card to the gym, and go 3-4 times a week without exceptions.

            Weight loss is HARD. It takes months and years of dedication, that is why so few people are actually successful at it.

  65. Thanks for your help.

  66. Hi, i recently weighed myself on sunday and i was 163.2lbs but on tuesday i weighed myself and i gained 2lbs and i was 165.4 any idea why this happened?? I am absolutely sure that my caloric intake could not have crossed 1.6-1.8k, also i exercised both monday and tuesday. Any idea why this is happening?!? Thank you.

  67. Hello, how come my weight is doing this? it’s stuck at 161, i go up during the weekdays but go back down during the weekends but no more?? Any idea why this is happening? i’m eating around 1.3k cal/day and exercising 50-60min on the elliptical mon-friday.

  68. I just started trying to lose weight. . I am 6 ft, 315 pounds. I would like to know what i should eat,and what times i should eat at. I want to lose weight fast. But i don’t want to keep eating the se thing’s everyday.

  69. Also what types of exercises should i stick to.

  70. Kristine M. says:

    If I need 1952 calories a day can I count the calories burned during exercise as part of the deficit? So if I eat 1852 in cals. and burn 400 in exercise that would be my 500 deficit, right? Thanks for the help!

  71. Niloufar says:

    Hi,
    1- Is “cooked-rice” in the bad Carbohydrate category or good Carb. category?
    2- I’ve been on Atkins induction regimen for 3 times and I got really good results. But I couldn’t remain on it for several reasons, one is that I had no energy and I felt weak and sick and another reason is that I couldn’t prepare myself for my exam, my brain seemed that could not work at all, and I think my blood sugar level had been dropped significantly. Besides, as I am Asian our principle meal is cooked rice and the Atkins regimen foods became very boring and intolerable after a while. How many times can we eat eggs for breakfast and just meat, chicken and fish for lunch or dinner?
    3- I really don’t know which one does work? in low calorie regimen soon I got cravings and…and on the other hand as I really love the taste of carbohydrates (I don’t call it addiction because it is my taste, and I prefer them much more than proteins and fats) I cant tolerate low carbohydrate regimens they are so boring and tasteless to me. Can you help me?

    • 1. I’d put rice in the good carb category.

      2. I’m not sure what you are asking here. There’s no limit to how many times you can eat eggs, meat, chicken or fish. If you didn’t feel well on the Atkins induction face then you should probably eat some more carbs, try boosting them into the 100-150 gram range.

      3. If you don’t like low-carb, then don’t do it. It is not the only healthy way to eat out there, really just an easy and effective way to lose weight. A lot of people feel good and get great results going low-carb, but definitely not everyone. You should experiment and find out what works for you.

  72. Interesting approach to calorie counting. I’m glad you mentioned insulin, as its effects should be better known amongst those of us wanting to lose weight.

  73. Christine says:

    Hi Kris,

    Thank you so much for the article. Ive never really understood calorie counting and it always seem so hard to follow.

    Do you recommend on drinking Tony Ferguson milk shakes? they are aiming for low carbo and more on lean meats etc? I need to lose 15 kilos in 4 months. Ive tried so many diet fabs out there – quickslim, coffee, tea etc but never seem to work. Im really not a big fan of hitting the gym. I bought a treaadmill today and aiming for at least an hour or two run after work. Is going to the gym doing weighs better than running?

    Thank you so much in advance :)

    • Kristjan says:

      Hello Christine, I’m not a big fan of meal replacements like those shakes, but I know they have worked well for some people.

      Running is great too, but what is best is a combination of weight lifting and running. You can do either, or both. You don’t really need to go to the gym to “lift weights”, you can do some pushups, squats, chrunches, etc. with just your body weight.

      • Christine says:

        Thanks for the info kris. I decided not to take any fab diets or any shakes. Can you please tell me if this is correct? I decided to stick to a healthier choice which is counting my calorie intake and exercise. I am 28, 86 kg wants to lose 20kg by the end of this year.

        According to my calculation I should be on a 1200 calorie per day if i want to lose weight, is this correct? They said going lower than that is unhealthy for you?

        So if i consumed 1200 calorie and did some running and lose 200 calorie i have to consume that 200 back again? Is this correct?

        Today, I had 200 calories left and didnt want to eat is that healthy?

        Thank you so much in advance. Waiting for your reply :)

        • You need to be aware that the calculator only gives you a rough estimate. You may need more or less. 1200 calories is pretty low, you might want to consider eating a bit more than that.

          Personally I’m a bigger fan of carb restriction than calorie restriction.

          It’s a good idea to stop eating if you’re not hungry anymore. I wouldn’t worry about compensating for the calories you burn during exercise, because that would kind of negate the calorie deficit that the exercise provides.

  74. Kris,

    I find that if I don’t do exercise as I used to, I gain weight. I used to power walk, and eat in moderation with portion size cutbacks along with healthier choices in food. How much exercise is required to lose weight when you eat well?

    Linda

    • Hello Linda, it’s really hard to say. Many people recommend an average of 30 minutes per day, but it really differs.

      Food choices are most important, some people can even get away with not exercising (although I definitely do not recommend that).

      I’d say 3-4 times per week, doing something you enjoy.

  75. Hello.
    I’m going to just jump in and say it.
    I’m horribly overweight. I weigh between 198-205 pounds, I’m 5’3, and I need to lose weight. Both for my health, and for the sake of my own sanity. I -like anyone else- want to feel good about my weight. Just losing twenty pounds would be a big ego boost for me. Heck, weighing 126 seems like a dream.

    I spend my week at a desk, working as any other student might be(well, the ones who actually wish to learn and progress in life). I spend only 40 minutes a day in the Gym. However, I find it hard to work out because of several medical issues. My pelvis is slightly tilted, giving me lower back issues. My breasts are rather… Large… to say the least, and cause the entirety of my back problems, and to make it worse, my joints randomly pop in and out of places(so when I wish to run, I can’t even fill out that wish for fear of hurting myself even more).

    Because of these problems, I find it hard to lose weight as I wish I could, do you think you could help me? Just an idea of foods I can eat, little things I can do that will help?
    That would be wonderful of you.

  76. hey kris,
    i’m a 16 year old boy, my height is about 70-72 inches and i’m much much overweight….my weight is about 115 kgs
    please help me…..i really want to brighten my future,and i want my weight to be at least 85-90.
    so can you please help me in reducing my weight, just please tell me which type of diet i must take and how much of workout i should do….
    please please help me out

  77. Subi singh says:

    Hi kris
    I am 168cm and about 64 kilos .. I have been going to gym and doing around 5 hours a week in mixed training and cardio. Eating around 1000 calories and lost no weight!! I have tried everything, my trainer suggests it may have to do with my digestion which I now drink lemon water before meals. I also eat a very low carb diet and maybe around every 10 days have a cheat meal ..
    Im looking to lose around 3 to 4 kilos .. What am I doing wrong ??

    • Kristjan says:

      Hello Subi, I wish I had a clear answer for you. Maybe you should see your doctor.

      Things that can work pretty well for weight loss plateaus are intermittent fasting and high intensity interval training.

  78. i really want to lose weight

  79. I agree with some of this but not all. I can tell you for a fact that cutting carbs is a good way to lose weight with minimal hunger. I have lost over 51 pounds this way. I can also tell you that carbs are essential for energy if you don’t take in enough carbs you won’t have energy for that next workout and if that suffers your weight loss will suffer. What I have found is that complex carbs are the answer. Green vegetables seem to be the best. They give me sustained energy and seem to not effect my blood sugar levels. All this time and so many diets and in the end Popeye was right ;-).

    • Thanks for the comment. Green vegetables don’t really contain a large amount of carbs, you would need to eat quite a lot of them to reach a significant amount.

  80. Hi,
    You have to do both: less calories and hypoglycemic diet:
    1. Hypocaloric Diet: Avoid having animal fat (solid fat) such as butter, cream, bacon… and have a light supper.
    2. Hypoglycemic Diet: Avoid white bread, sugars, overcooked rice, french fries, boiled potatoes… and have more fiber, salads, little cooked vegetables, and not overcooked pasta (al dente)
    3. Moreover, if you are going to have hyperglycemic foods (such as white bread or rolls) you must have a phaseolamin pill to reduce and control glucose absortion.
    4. In the end, to stimulate burning fat, citricdiet mixed in water should be taken between meals, which is even better with l-carnitin and green tea.

  81. So whats a good replacement from carbs ? Im a 28 year old man currently 90kgs and 5,11

    I want to get trimmed down to about 80kgs in about 8 weeks or so and at present have started restricting my calories down to about 1500 per day including lots of healthy stuff inc “super foods”. I guess my biggest question is am i doing this right cause im eating carbs as when i restricted them as well i couldnt excersise as effectively “ie run for 20 mins and be knackered!”

  82. Kristjan says:
  83. First of all let me say that this artical does have some good points. BUT, I have lost 125 in the past 12 months. No surgery, all natural and no starving. I have and continue to count calories. What I discovered is we as a society eat to damn much. For example, almonds, hey “there are good for your right?” And “they are a good fat right? ” One cup of almonds has over 800 calories. try writting down the total calories that one should have each day between fruits, nuts, veggies, meats, and dairy in one day. Or another way to look at it, “they say” you should east 5-6 meals a day. OK, how many calories is in each meal? Calories in vs calories out does work. Oh yea, about no be able to eat at resturants. Well the simple fact is…most all resturants are a caloric and sodium mightmare. Most prepare meal offer no significant amount of fiber, vitamins, minerals or protien. If you start weighting your food and reading lables you may be shocked at what you find. Evan a banana or an apple..it all adds up, trust me. For me it added up to 345 pounds. I know say ” I never had a weight problem” I had a eating problem!! My body worked fine….the more I ate, the more I gained!!!

  84. Hello David, congratulations! 125lbs is an incredible achievement and I am glad you found an approach that works for you.

  85. Hi,
    I do believe that people should count their calories. I have lost 70 pounds counting calories and working out in the last 8 months and I have not deprived myself or starved. I believe that if you choose the right foods they are going to be low in calories anyway. I have tried and failed at weight loss so many times and I finally found something that worked. I had tried watching my carbs and watching my fat grams and it never worked. I have seen people that do not eat carbs and are vegetarians that are overweight because they are eating too much of something. Too much of anything can be bad, even a vegetable, lol.

    • Kristjan says:

      Glad you found something that works for you.

      The best diet for any individual is the one that works for them and is sustainable in the long run.

  86. Giving up junk food does not cut it for everyone. Because everyone that needs to lose or having problems losing eats junk food. I rarely eat junk food. Cannot cut out what you don’t eat. No matter what, I cannot lose below a certain weight. I know I have aot more to lose. I’ve tried cutting back on calories or points and I gain. If I increase any, sometime I lose a fraction of a pound to maybe a pound, then the next week eating same, drinking h2o the same and exercising the same or more, or little less I gain the same give or take. Then the same happens if I try cutting back. It is so frustating! I am not giving up, cuz I know if I did I’d gain what I have already lost and then some.

  87. The calorie thing is off for me, lol. I eat anywhere from 3500-4000 calories a day, and all I do is 80 mins of spinning and walking 2-3 miles a day. According to this calculator, I need 2800. Also, killing carbs is probably the stupidest thing I’ve heard. People need to eat healthier foods and move more.

    • No one said anything about killing carbs. Personally I think that 100-150 is the optimal range for weight maintenance and enough to sustain everything but the most intense workouts.

      Just because something works well for you, doesn’t mean it will work for everyone, but I’m glad you found something that is sustainable for yourself.

      “killing carbs is probably the stupidest thing I’ve heard” — if you had done any research on this then you would know that this is the weight loss method that is easiest, most effective and with by far the most evidence behind it, as well as having the most positive impact on all bio markers of health.

      Here’s a review article for you: http://www.ajcn.org/content/86/2/276.full

      I recommend you read it before telling others that what they’re doing is “stupid”, despite not knowing anything about what you’re talking about.

  88. Hi Kris,
    Just found your excellent website whilst looking on the internet for ‘dietary help.’
    As I’m currently confined to a wheelchair after breaking my spine whilst in the UK military, I now urgently need to lose a lot of weight having put on 35 lbs over a period of several years. :o( My paralysis from the waist down means I’m not able to exercise like before to help me loose this excess body weight and so thought I’d ask if maybe you could suggest a ‘safe’ fast working diet for me also, taking into consideration my physical limitations.
    Many thanks
    Doug :O)

    • Kristjan says:

      Hello Doug, sorry to hear about your accident.

      I think a real food based low-carb diet would be perfect for you. You can read about it in this article here: http://www.kriskris.com/how-to-lose-weight-fast/

      The only way to lose weight and keep it off in the long term is to change your way of eating for life.

      • Thanks for the speedy feedback Kris.
        I will have a read on your links you’ve suggested and see if they can help me lose this extra weight.
        Keep up the great work you do on your website,
        Best Wishes,
        Doug :)

  89. Ok I agree that counting calories and weighing food is crazy and most people don’t or won’t do it long term. My view is to eat clean (avoiding added sugars and processed foods and eating more fruits and vegetables). However restricting carbohydrates is also not sustainable!! Carbohydrates are our bodies main source of energy, without them we would be tired all the time! Yes we should cut out or restrict refined carbohydrates like cakes, cookies, white bread etc. but to tell people not to eat or restrict fruits and vegetables is ridiculous!! Fruits and vegetables are full of healthy fiber which keeps you full longer, not to mention all the health benefits. People need to cut out “junk food” not carbohydrates, exercise more and portion control. I think your advice is adding to the obesity problem in this country!!

    • Uhh.. when did I tell anyone to cut out vegetables and fruit?

      Low-carb diets are very effective, and tons of evidence behind them. I’ve cited several studies in the comments above. They have an outstanding safety profile.

      I usually recommend 100-150 grams of carbohydrates for the average person. Some can go lower than that if they need to accelerate weight loss.

      Cutting out all carbohydrates is something I would never recommend.

  90. Wonderful article! :) Thanks i found it very helpful

  91. I just want to say that I lost 80 pounds counting calories with little to no extra physical activity. Once you have counted calories for a while you learn about how many calories are in each food, once dedicated to this system you then learn to make better choices. I have been able to maintain my new weight for a years now and my lifestyle has changed drastically and it all started with paying better attention to numbers. Thought I do agree weighing your food is a little much and not needed. Also you have to have great will power to suceed and be looking for long term changes. I do not think any of the fad diets out there work. Losing weight is pretty basic, if you cant burn it, dont eat it. :) Thanks for “listening” to my rant.

    • I would also like to add that I am 5’7″ and went from 210lbs to 130lbs. I do try to get as much physical activity as I can (now), I finally have the energy to do it! I have two kids to chase around and I do yoga once a week.

  92. Hey
    Im 14 & I weight 159 Im 5’6
    What should I eat in
    Breakfast
    Lunch
    & Dinner?
    How many calories should I eat a day?

  93. Hannah says:

    Very helpful! I’ve been having a horrible habit of eatting junk food and I never realized how many cal I was taking in. Now I keep my weight and food under control :) thanks

  94. Some years ago, Robert Atkins created a diet that became quite controversial, known as the Atkins Diet.

    I wanted to change how I felt and looked. With the concurrence of both my cardiologist (a well known, and highly respected leader on the field) and my family doctor, I “did Atkins” and have successfully maintained a very comfortable and healthy lifestyle. At 72, I have a 50 pulse rate, bp at 110/68, and can run the stress ekg off the wall. I can run mountain trails with comfort. And, it wasn’t always that way.

    Yes it is, at the beginning, a low carb, high protein and high fat diet. To the numerous lay critics, I always ask, “have younread the book?” “Well, no, but I just know.”

    Atkins is really about changing lifestyles and presents a very easy and understandable way to achieve it. Many will not agree, but having read all of the previous comments, I see many of the Atkin’s theories here.

    • Kristjan says:

      Thanks for the comment. I haven’t read Atkins’s book but obviously I’m a fan of low-carb diets as a dietary intervention and a lifestyle change :)

  95. I think its to much work for most people to even have to think about loosing weight by counting the calories in. I found weighing to much at one time and droped 20 lbs in just over a month. What did I do to achive this?

    1) fit in some type of daily exersize in my cause running
    2)just cut down on what your eating and try to eat healthier meals

    Im not on a low carb diet I actually need alot of carbs to substain my current energy levels. I never feel hungry try to stay away from foods with a high amount of Saturated or Trans Fat but do keep Fat in my diet.

    When I started I was only running 4 days a week longest run being 4 miles. i was eating 3 to 4 smaller meals each day and never felt hungry. I didnt worry about how many carbs where in a meal Just tried to eat a healthy one (Low Fat and Low Sodium) My starting weight was 226 within 2 monts it was 195. I am currently 185 and the amount I eat has increased but so has the amount I exersize.

    Key factor here is exersize if you want to loose fast and you have alot of weight to loose you need to exersize and though walking may be fun its not going to speed up your weight loss that much. My recomendation is eat less food at any one time and eat more through the day along with a good exersize regement.

  96. Talisha says:

    I think promoting a low carb diet is irresponsible it is a quick fix and most would class it as a crash diet… I am type one diabetic and can tell you from experience the fat your burning is harmful to you it causes a state of ketoacidosis which over a prolonged period can cause serious long term effects if not death… i have had this twice the first time i was very lucky to survive i spent a week in icu i can barely remember getting taken to hospital and what followed the second was due to illness and massive changes to my life and was nowhere near as bad lucky although i did end up in hospital.

    unfortuanately there is no quick fixes when trying to lose weight it is like the saying a minute on the lips a lifetime on your hips. you need to put the effort in…

    cutting back you calories is cutting back carbs because anything that has high amounts of calories will usually contain large amounts of carbs…. you need your carbs for energy what happens on a carb free or low carb diet is your body uses the fat stores as energy and when this breaks down it releases a acidic substance that poisons you.

    How about people just wake up take responsibility for what they have done to themselves by eating the crap they have and make the decision to change there eating habits exersice daily 5min- 1hr it dosnt matter every bit helps not only for weight loss but for your overall health!

    Try eating proper portion sizes and cut back on the junk food dont nessesarily cut it out completely because all that will do is lead to binge junk food eating which will just put you where you started. Speak to a diaticial get a meal plan suited to you and frankly if you want something bad enough you will do what is needed to achieve it!

    • Talisha, I worked with diabetics for 20 years. High calories does not necessarily translate to high carbs. I respect your comments. Please note my earlier comments, have you read the book?

    • Kristjan says:

      Obviously we disagree on a few things here, and you have clearly been misinformed on a few things.

      First of all, ketoacidosis is something that does NOT happen to other people than type I diabetics that don’t get their insulin. Ketosis is a completely different phenomenon with no harmful effects.

      There is nothing poisonous about using fat as energy. Sorry but that is just ridiculous. Humans burn fat all the time, also those that are on a high-carb diet.

      There are numerous controlled trials that have been done on low-carb diets, showing their incredibly effectiveness and safety.

      They are more effective and healthier than the high-carb calorie-restricted diet promoted by dietitians. That is pretty much a fact at this point.

  97. I love your post. Your perception of the ‘calories in vs calories out’ theory was really informative. However, I would like to suggest that you write a post on organic food supplements. People trying to lose weight are nowadays turning to organic food supplements to aid in weight loss. I wonder what would be your take on this?

    • Kristjan says:

      Thanks for the comment. That definitely depends on which type of supplement, there are thousands of them out there :)

  98. Hi, I’m not sure if you have already answered this but what if I’m not obese or over weight and I simply want to look a little skinnier in my swim suit. Is it still healthy to not eat carbs? Wouldn’t less calories be better in my situation? I just feel like if I stop eating as many carbs I’ll pass out at uni, where I think I could handle a few less calories or smaller portions?

    • Well what has worked for you in the past?

      If you’re already fairly lean then it might be enough to just cut out the candies, sodas, pizzas and all that stuff for a few weeks. Or simply restricting calories, which does have hunger as a nasty side effect.

  99. Michelle Timbs says:

    Hi Kris,
    I’ve been following a 1200 cal diet for a week now and am not getting anywhere help! My bmr says that my maitinence cals is 2253 and in order to lose 1kg per week iv’e dropped it to 1200. I have also burnt 5323 cals at the gym either on the spin bike or eppi as well as 1 -2 days strength training. I was hoping to lose the 10-12kgs I’ve put on over the past 12 months and seem to be getting stuck. I had a wonderful trainer for 2 years and with his help lost an incredible 20kgs and had the best body i’ve had in years. I’m 46 now has that got something to do with it?
    I’ve stopped having bread because I get too bloated on it and have also stopped having most dairy i.e. milk. I still have the occasional yogurt which my 1200 cal allows and fear my calcium levels will drop too much if I don’t.
    My strength training regimen consists of dumbbells of 12kg-16kg for chest press and bent over row, 32kg pull down, 200kg leg press, lunges using 16kg dumbbells, and 34kg low row, I also get in some tricep dips using only body weight and when I’m done I tend to like to finish off with 30 pushups on toes. I know that doesn’t seem a lot but I hope that I can increase it all soon when my strength improves.
    I use the adidas micoach system and follow a get fit plan which I’m really enjoying and am really surprised at how many cals I can burn in any given session. When I left my trainer I was between 61-64kgs depending on who’s scale you go on (lesser on his). I don’t know what I’m doing wrong I would appreciate any kind of feed back. Thank you in advance I look forward to hearing from you.

    • If I were you, I’d consider doing a low-carb diet. You can try it for a month to see how it works.

      Also, do NOT expect to see a difference in a week. You need longer time than that. You might lose a pound one week, zero the next and then two pounds the week after that. Body weight does fluctuate slightly, depending on a lot of things.

      Another thing, it is NOT just about the scale. Maybe you’re replacing some fat with muscle. It’s good to also have body fat and circumference measurements done regularly to put things in perspective.

  100. Jenny Jennefer Vongpakede says:

    Hello my name is :Jenny I m 45 years old
    I want 2709 calories in one day I exercise
    Every day I think any one will have a tin
    Shape of body

  101. Hi, Kris I lost 90lbs in 10 months and kept it off for several years, so it is very possible for Christina. I was also very dedicated and determined. I also did not count a single calorie. My method was a very low carb diet.
    I am now pretty much back to where I started as I just had my second child. However I know where i went wrong and know exactly what I have to do its just the motivation I need to find. lol

  102. Both methods, 1) net of calories eaten and burned versus 2) reducing insulin-triggering carbs (sugars, starches AND alcohol), work . The difficulty is the enormous amount willpower required to sustain method 1 against the insulin-driven cravings in response to blood sugar peaks (within 20 to 30 minutes of consuming carbs) and the subsequent roughly balancing blood sugar decrease in response metabolic rate in respone to the spike. While if one does not consume carbs then one will indeed lose weight (leaving aside the other health concerns of a widely fluctuating blood sugar level). Yet we humans were not designed to overcome that in a time of food abundance (such as the current and recent decades in first-world countries. One obvious but secondary benefit and causal factor toward weight loss is that whenever one severely reduces or eliminates an entire food group which heretofore comprised a major fraction of one’s diet, one will more likely than not experience a sizeable reduction in caloric intake. Witness the quantitative (albeit annecdotal) evidence provided by the calorie-counting carb-reducing commenters. I have experienced the quick rebound in appetite and resulting weight grain (forgive the lame pun) from one Big Mac meal with a “medium” coke and those near orgasm-inducing fries! Once attuned to the physical, emotional and spiritual triggers , you yourself will have no doubt. A carbohydrate and ethanol restricted diet is without question the least tortuous and most successful strategy. For the data collectors/analyzers among us keep the calorie log. I recommend the app LoseIt for your log. In short, cut carbs and you will lose pound!

    • Kristjan says:

      Thanks and I definitely agree.

    • “those near orgasm-inducing fries!” That’s so funny. I think a lot of bad for you foods that we love so much are like an addiction. As an experiment I went 6 months without eat fries (from anywhere, not even the homemade kind). At the end of the 6 months I ordered small fries at McDonald’s. They tasted ok but not nearly as great as I seemed to remember them to be. So now I don’t crave them at all.

  103. For me it was a bit of both. Over a long period, thru trial and error I managed to lose 45 pounds. What ended up working was watching calories, which resulted in me discovering that to keep my calories low AND not feel like I was starving myself I did best to fill up on veggies and lean proteins. I feel full and satiated. I now added sharitaki noodles which have zero calories to help me feel full while keeping my calories in check. I still have 70 pounds to lose, but I already feel better (ie. no longer have high blood pressure) and can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

  104. Natasha says:

    Hi,
    I’m a 15 year old girl and weigh 155 pounds. I’ve lost 15 pounds in the last two months, and I want to reach my goal of about 120 by the end of August this year. I’m exercising 4 times a week for an hour (combination of cardio and weight training). Is my goal realistic, or should I lessen it a bit? I know my comment/question is a bit late, but I just found this blog… I hope you reply :)

    • Kristjan says:

      Hello Natasha.

      It is highly unlikely that you can lose weight that fast, a pound per week is a better option, perhaps two pounds if you’re really strict on your diet. See here: http://www.kriskris.com/how-long-does-it-take-to-lose-weight/

      You have your whole life ahead of you. If I were you, I’d put the major emphasis on a permanent lifestyle change. Btw 120 pounds is pretty low. Depending on your height, this may be an unhealthy goal.

  105. Danielle says:

    Wow, you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. Someone who knows nothing about weight loss is about to get some really awful advice.

  106. Hi kris I really need your help do u know how I can lose 1 stone per month because I’m 14 stones now at just 18 years old. Help please !

  107. I’m sorry, but I completely disagree that the theory of calories in vs. calories out somehow does not hold. If you consume more calories than are required by your body to function, you will gain fat. If you consume less than your total daily caloric expenditure, you will lose fat. This is a fact. If your maintenance caloric level is 2500c and you ingest 2000c in junk food you WILL lose almost exactly 1lb per week. However, your body composition also depends upon your ingested macro-nutrient ratio. If your protein intake (for example) is not adequate, your body will cannibalize your muscle tissue for its amino acids that it is not receiving from your food. As you lose muscle, the number of calories required by your body decreases, yet most people still eat the same number of calories. The result? You gain fat. Not because the calories in vs. calories out theory doesn’t hold, but because although you are eating same number of calories as before, you are now eating more than your body requires. Simple as that.

    It is NOT that hard to count calories, and people should NOT be discouraged from doing it. It is a very simple task that requires minimal effort. Use something like myfitnesspal.com to accurate measure your daily caloric intake. Although these calorie counting sites are not 100% accurate, they are definitely more accurate than simply eliminating junk food and hoping for the best. You can eat ANYTHING in moderation so long as you don’t go overboard.

    • Kristie says:

      “If your maintenance caloric level is 2500c and you ingest 2000c in junk food you WILL lose almost exactly 1lb per week”

      No, you won’t, you really, really won’t lose 1 pound a week. In fact, in my case, I’ve gone days at 1000 c a day, with mad exercise, and GAINED a pound.

  108. Kristie says:

    Hi there – question about long term weight loss and exercise. I’m a 52 year old woman. Over the last year, I lost 90 pounds – from 258 to 168. I need to lose 20 more, but I’ve been stuck at my weight for about 3 months. I did this by tons of cardio (ellipitical, biking, running, kayaking), strength training, and pilates. Generally I exercise for 2 hours a day, 6 days a week. My diet is tightly controlled – about 1500 calories a day.

    But, no weight loss in over 3 months? I’ve had people say i don’t eat enough, I eat too much, eat too late in the day, need more supplements. So far, nothing has worked.

    Suggestions?

    • Hello Kristie. Maybe you should take a little break for a while and focus on maintenance. Just make it a goal not to gain weight and cut back on the exercise a bit.

      Then in a few months, start again. I do suggest you try a low-carb diet, it is very effective.

  109. Famelda says:

    Godd day Kris,

    I have attempted multiple times over this past week to calculate what my required caloric intake should be on this/your site and it gives me no calculation. So I am coming to you in hopes that you may calculate it for me.
    Height: 66 inches
    Weight: 146 lbs
    Age: 29
    Occupation and exercise: Desk job and minimal activity

    Thank you for your patience and your time. I greatly enjoyed reviewing your advice and tips,by the way. You’ve given me a great deal of insight.
    Cheers,
    Famelda

  110. Anastasia says:

    Hi I just started working out again I have gained 30lbs since I started working! now I use to run 2 to 4 miles a day and I usually ate what I wanted but portioned it out well I’m trying to do that again but every time I try I seem to fail i need help so I also am trying that healthy trim pill what do u think of that I’m 5’1 and at my heaviest which is 173 would like to drop 30lbs jut don’t know what to do any more motivation has been hard with me working again and being a busy mom I know poor excuses someone please help

  111. Hi Kris
    I m Arslan from Pakistan
    My weight is 93-Kg/Age-29/Sex-Male/I want to lose weight 6-Kg/Per month
    How many cal i need to eat per day to get the target weight.

    Tks
    Arslan saleem

  112. I think the point Kris was making in this article is not to worry so much about counting calories. But to eat the correct types of foods (ie. low carb diet).

    “Weight loss is not about calories, it is about eating the types of foods that encourage weight loss.”

    When you eat too many carbs (you get high blood sugar) so your body creates insulin (which is a hormone) that tells your body to convert the sugar into fat and store it. Because sugar is recognized as a poison, your body wants to turn it into something else (ie. fat).

    If you eat only a few carbs (from fruits and vegetables) with your meals, your body will alternately use the already stored fat in your body for fuel. Which in turn causes weight loss.

    Wiki is great for more info.

  113. hey there, my weight is 143 pounds and my age is 19 and when i follow your all procedure for couting calories that i need per day has come 1173……….. which i think is too much for me to lose weight …………?? i think i need less than this per day??? plz do favour me i m so confused…………..

  114. Hi,
    For a child who wants to lose weight isn’t important to incorporate how many calories is needed to grow? Am i right? and if someone is a healthy weight and they just want to tone do they still need to cut back calories???
    Thanks

    • This advice is for adults only. It is important that you talk to your doctor about your child.

      Strength training is great for improving body composition.

  115. Kathleen says:

    When I workout, I bulk up instead of losing weight. I would rather have a slender body than a muscular one. How do I lose weight and not bulk up?

  116. None of this information applies to me. The more I eat, the more I exercise, the fatter I get. I can only imagine how fat I would be if I ate my suggested daily calorie intake.

  117. Caroline Diaz says:

    Hi, I need to know how many Calories I must burn while using treadmill? Many thanks for your reply..

  118. marinedoc says:

    Its so easy to lose weight… run as hard and for as long as youncan in the morning and do different muscle group weight lifting everyday at lunch or dinner. Ive been doing that all through high school wrestling and the marine corps and im in the best shape of my life!

    -semper!

  119. I’m 15 years old , and I have always have had weigh problems., but I can’t find any work outs that work or a right amount of calories to have. All these “weight-loss calculators” are different. I weigh 180 and I’m roughly 5 foot 3. Any suggestions would help. I feel like gettng skinnier would motavate me to do things at school more., and actually go to school. Any help please (:

  120. Hi Kris,
    I appreciate finding a truly “free” informational site. I’m currently doing Weight Watchers but had been finding myself at a plateau. I’ve enjoyed reading through some of your articles and also the comments of others here :)

  121. Hey Kris,
    Interesting article…although I have some serious issues. I recently moved to a new city for college, where I have a free gym subscription. Since I’m in full control of what I eat for the first time, I decided to start fresh and eat healthy. I’m not on any sort of grueling diet, I eat 3 enjoyable meals a day (ranging from crackers and hummus to hamburgers), get 20-30 minutes of cardio (swimming) 6 days a week, and only drink water. At social events I’ve been able to treat myself to an occasional milkshake, frozen yogurt, whatever. In the last 5 weeks I’ve lost 24 pounds. I haven’t been counting calories; I don’t have to. But I haven’t been taking any weird supplements, eating any specific foods, anything. Just being conscious of what I’m eating and exercising is doing it for me, so I’m sort of getting the idea that you’re trying to sell something.

  122. Hi Kris,

    Interesting forum, so I will add what I have learnt over the years. First off my experience has taught me that there is no silver bullet to weight loss and for staying in shape. It requires discipline, focus and persistence, and you do have to experiment and figure out what foods work for you and which ones don’t. In other words you have to educate yourself. I have tried it all and after you lose the pounds, you go back to your old eating habits and the weight slowly creeps back on. So from my experience and I have become a stronger believer in this, you have to count the calories, and what I mean by that is you should have a ball park idea of what you are eating, you shouldn’t have to weigh every morsel of food but a general idea about the calories is necessary, next you have to be AWARE of the food choices that you are making, just counting calories but eating junk won’t work either, and you have to incorporate some type of exercise such as walking, running, push ups, pull ups, leg raises and for those who want to workout with weights, i find Kettlebells as the most effective. And one more essential thing is eliminate all unnecessary and extra salt and sugar from your diet. Then formulate a diet and stick to it, if you cheat, don’t beat yourself up just get back on it. Here’s what I do.

    Morning:
    Dunkin Donuts medium coffee with cream only
    A hand full combo of unsalted, raw Almonds, Pistachios, Walnuts, Cashews
    A handful combo of black berries, blue berries, raspberries
    (Sometimes I just have the coffee, sometimes Coffee and Nuts, some times Coffee and the berries and sometimes all three)

    Afternoon:
    A salad with mostly greens, tomatoes, carrots, a spoon of tuna salad or if there’s some chicken breast, turkey breast etc.

    Evening:
    The carbs come from bulgur, buckwheat, beans or small amount of white rice.
    Some type of veggies
    Some type meat (chicken, fish, shrimp, mutton) and sometimes no meat.

    And that’s pretty much it from Monday – Friday, I usually go out on Saturday for dinner and if I am doing that then I eat very little during the day and eat a good dinner.

    My method allows me to maintain my calories around 1500 – 2000 range and i find that this works for me, I do feel hunger but I think its a good thing, I feel light, energetic and pretty good. Now my system is such that if I eat crappy, oily, salty and sweet food, I feel sick, lazy and just slow.

    So keep it simple, eat fresh, eat raw, eat natural, make an effort to stay away from canned, boxed and manufactured food. The change will come, it will be slow for some, fast for others but trust me it will happen.

    For exercise, I started with walking, then I started running, now i am addicted to running (read the “Born to Run” book), I do pull ups, push ups, leg raises, planks and throw around some kettle bells.

    Read books, learn to appreciate other cultures, respect people, animals, nature and make an effort to help others, make an effort to not complain and finding fault with everything and everyone. Good things will happen and when they do teach others from your experience and pass what you have learned to others so that they may also benefit.

    That’s all there is to it. Peace and Love to all,
    Aatif Naziri
    8-28-2012

  123. I am 34 years of age and my present weight is 78 kg. I want to loose my weight upto 10-15 kg. Pl. give me proper guidance so that I can achieve my goal.

  124. Hey, I’m 14 and I eat everyday like 1200-1300 calories and I also do 20 min intense sport averyday (I’m trying to make muscles). I wanted to ask if something was not okay with. Now I have 160cm/ 5.24feets and 15kg/ 99-100lbs but some time ago until I started a diet with calories I had almost 132-133lbs/ 60kg. At first I was very angry with my weight so I didn’t even watch on ineternet how much calories should I eat a day so I just ate 800-1000calories so in 3-4months I reached my weight. From what I read I should eat a lot more but I don’t think I can (also I’m a little scared to not put weight again), I eat 2-3 meals a day (it was like this even before) and also eat fruits and sometimes I enjoy myself with sweets like chocolate. I wanted to ask if I should forece myself eat more or I can stay like I am?

  125. Hey Kris I have questions still about how many calories to eat! I am currently using a app that is suggesting me eat 1200 calories a day. Now when I put in my exercises an how many calories I’ve burned it does up my calorie intake depending on how much I burn. I have set a goal of 2 lbs a week. An the first week I’ve either stayed at or below my calorie budget! I have lost 4lbs.

  126. So, I’m frustrated…the past month, I’ve only lost about 5 lbs although I have been eating much healthier, staying away from processed foods, etc. Am I eating too little in calories?

    Yes, my name is Kris too!

  127. Does this mean I can eat Oreo’s?

    Cheers,
    Matt

  128. Hello,I am 13 years old 199 lbs and im 5’7 .i have been dying to lose at least 30lbs for a year now.i have tried the lemon water fast ,100 sit-ups a day,and i have even tried weight loss pills,out of all the things nothing has worked.i even feel like giving up .you are my only hope .i would realy admire you if you show me the guide into losing weight.

  129. narly Haley says:

    SO FLIPPEN AWESOME!!!!

  130. elena leon says:

    i want my body to be tighter im a mom of two kids

  131. Hi Kris,

    Thanks for your tips. I want to lose some weight like most want. But I am from India where the major food is RICE. Can you please suggest me which diet I should follow and how much rice should I eat (times) to lose quickly.

  132. Hey Kris,

    I am feeling a bit upset because I wanna lose weight and I have sorta tried, but have given up because it was too hard. This is the best website I have read out of many so thank you so much for this. I am feeling so confident now, and hopefully I’ll be able to lose the weight that I’ve gained! Thanks again :)

  133. Kris,
    Thank you for the writeup. My wife and I switched to gluten free 2 months ago after we tracked some behaviors and outcomes of eating a lot of gluten rich foods. We’re both pretty sure that we’re intolerant of it and after 2 months being GF we’re feeling really good.

    In fact, we’re now waiting out the Thanksgiving holiday to start extreme low-carb (that and we just pre-froze 11 crock-pot meals where some weren’t low-carb. I’ve already kind of started being that I’m watching my carb intake and starting to become accustomed to what kinds of foods have carbs and what don’t.

    There is one main question I have that I can’t seem to find a straight answer for. Dietary fiber. Since it’s grouped together with carbohydrates on nutritional information it’s confusing to me about whether I would count dietary fiber as part of my daily carbohydrate intake, a portion of it, or none of it.

    Other than that. Love the blog. Will try to visit often.

    • Hello Dez, thanks.

      You can subtract the fiber from your total. The fiber doesn’t count since it isn’t used for energy.

      So… net carbs = total carbs – fiber.

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