If you've put on a few unwanted pounds, shedding just 5 percent of your body weight can improve blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although women’s weight loss calorie needs are highly individualized, 1,600 calories a day is the maximum calorie intake recommended to encourage weight loss, suggests the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. However, women who hit the gym regularly may need additional calories to lose weight safely and effectively.
Many inactive women can eat as many as 1,200 calories daily and lose fat, notes the NHLBI. Active women and women weighing more than 165 pounds, on the other hand, can eat up to 1,600 calories daily and still shed pounds, the NHLBI reports. Your individualized weight loss calorie needs require trial and error. If you’re not losing weight using a 1,600-calorie plan, try a 1,400- or 1,200-calorie diet instead.
Safe Weight Loss
Eating the maximum number of calories allowed for weight loss will help you peel away pounds at a slow, but steady and safe pace. Dropping 1 to 2 pounds per week is safe and effective for long-term success, notes the CDC. Achieve this goal by cutting your intake by 500 to 1,000 calories daily
Effects of Exercise
If you start hitting the gym hardcore, you may not have to reduce your calorie intake to lose weight. Boosting your expenditure by 500 to 1,000 calories daily will also do the trick. Harvard Health Publications notes that 155- to 185-pound women burn 670 to 800 calories using an elliptical trainer for an hour or jogging 5 miles per hour for 60 minutes.
Healthy Food Choices
Protein and fiber both increase satiation, making it easier to adhere to your weight loss diet, according to reviews published in a 2008 edition of the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” and a 2011 edition of “Nutrition Journal.” Choose a variety of protein-rich foods, such as lean meats, seafood, egg whites, skinless poultry, low-fat dairy foods, soy products, seitan, nuts and seeds. Reach for high-fiber complex carbs, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes.
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: How are Overweight and Obesity Treated?
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Losing Weight
- Harvard Health Publications: Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Protein, Weight Management and Satiety
- Nutrition Journal: Comparison of High Protein and High Fiber Weight-Loss Diets in Women with Risk Factors for the Metabolic Syndrome: A Randomized Trial
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.