Not all women who weigh 200 pounds are overweight or obese; tall women with lots of muscle mass may weigh 200 pounds and have a low body fat percentage. However, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, even a woman who is 6 feet 3 inches tall who weighs 200 pounds has a body mass index that falls into the overweight category. Two hundred-pound women who want to shed pounds may benefit from consuming a reduced-calorie meal plan.
Overweight women may be consuming more calories than their bodies need. Harvard Medical School reports that moderately active women require about 15 calories per pound of body weight to maintain their current weight; therefore, a moderately active, 200-pound woman may be eating up to 3,000 calories – or more -- per day. However, individual energy intakes to maintain 200 pounds vary based on a woman’s specific activity level, height, age and metabolism.
Recommendations for Weight Loss
For a 200-pound woman to move toward a healthier weight, a reduction in calories is a must. A good place to start is to reduce your current intake by 500 to 1,000 calories a day to lose up to 2 pounds per week, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute reports that most women who weigh 165 pounds or more should aim for 1,200 to 1,600 calories a day to achieve a safe and effective rate of weight loss. However, individual calorie needs vary.
If you’ve tried reducing your calorie intake but can’t seem to shed pounds, talk with your doctor about possible medical reasons you’re not reaching your weight goals. Certain health conditions, such as hypothyroidism, can slow down your metabolism to the point of making it nearly impossible to lose excess weight. Fortunately, if you do have this condition, taking a daily dose of synthetic thyroid hormone can help get your metabolism back on track.
Although eating very few calories can lead to a rapid weight loss, safety is an issue when dropping your energy intake too much. Although very low-calorie diets containing 800 calories or less per day can lead to a quick weight loss of 3 to 5 pounds per week, Weight-control Information Network warns these diets require medical supervision. Potential negative side effects of very low-calorie diets include dizziness, fatigue, nutrient deficiencies, hair loss, menstrual irregularities and gallstone formation, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: Body Mass Index Table 1
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: American Dietetic Association Publishes Evidence-based Nutrition Practice Guidelines for Registered Dietitians
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: How are Overweight and Obesity Treated?
- Weight-control Information Network: Very-Low-Calorie Diets
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Weight Control and Diet: Dietary Management
Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in dietetics and has extensive experience working as a health writer and health educator. Her articles are published on various health, nutrition and fitness websites.