Calorie control is a tough feat for many women, which may be why the majority of women in the U.S., or 64 percent, were overweight or obese as of 2013, according to Weight-control Information Network. You don’t have to use an extreme low-calorie diet to drop those extra 6 pounds. However, reducing your calorie intake is a must when it comes to weight loss success.
Very Low-Calorie Diets
You can shed up to 5 pounds per week with a very low-calorie diet, according to Weight-control Information Network. These diets often provide 800 or fewer calories daily. Although you can shed pounds fast using very low-calorie diets, you may also develop some not-so-pleasant side effects. These can include feeling tired, constipation, nausea, diarrhea, low-blood sugar and nutrient deficiencies. Gallstone formation is also common with very low-calorie diets, reports Weight-control Information Network. So chat with your doctor first to find out if a very low-calorie diet is the right fit for you.
Recommended Weight Loss
Most women should aim for a 1- to 2-pound weight loss per week, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. This rate of weight loss is safe and helps you keep lost weight off for good. This means to lose 6 pounds, it should take you about three to six weeks. Losing weight at a faster pace increases your risk for fatigue and malnutrition, and can cause a decrease in your metabolic rate.
To reach your 1- to 2-pound per week weight loss goal, drop your energy intake by 500 to 1,000 calories daily. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute suggests most women need 1,200 to 1,600 calories -- even as few as 1,000 calories daily for inactive women who weigh less than 165 pounds -- for weight loss success. Weigh yourself weekly to track your progress.
Although crash dieting and extreme low-calorie diets may seem appealing for quick results, they are often unnecessary except for people who are very obese. Much of the rapid weight loss you’ll see with severe calorie restriction is initially water weight. A review published in a 2006 edition of “Obesity” reports that very low-calorie diets are not more effective in the long term than low-calorie diets containing 1,000 to 1,500 calories per day.
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.