1500 Calorie Diet Sample Menu

I posted a 1500 calorie version of my original 1200 calorie diet plan a couple of days ago. You can access the plan by clicking on the link here or in the navigational bar at the top of this page. Today I am posting a sample 1500-calorie menu that is an updated version of one of the original 1200-calorie sample menus I’ve provided previously.



1500 calories is actually more realistic than 1200 calories for most women on a low calorie diet and may be for you as well, whether you are exercising or not. If you need help in assessing what might be the best calorie count for you, you may want to read how to get started on a 1200-calorie diet or How many calories per day do I need: Metabolism Part 2.

Keep in mind that the sample menus I provide are simply basic guides for choosing a balanced yet healthy low calorie diet. Go ahead and make substitutions when necessary. For example, you may need to substitute a particular fruit or vegetable with something else that is in season. Or you could choose to go with a frozen or canned version. Today’s menu calls for topping a breakfast cereal with fresh blueberries that may not be available at all or available at an affordable price where you live at this time of year (fall). How about a banana or kiwi? (I like blueberries so much I don’t mind frozen blueberries that have been slightly defrosted on my cereal.)

1500 Calorie Diet Sample Menu #1

Breakfast:

1 cup Oatmeal Squares by Quaker

4 oz. skim milk (nonfat)

4 oz. orange juice

½ cup blueberries

Midmorning snack:

8 TLC Crackers – Kashi Original Whole Grain

2 pieces mini Babybel light cheese

Lunch:

2 slices Flax & Fiber bread by Arnold

1 tbsp. peanut butter – natural creamy

1 tbsp. Low sugar jam or preserve by Smuckers

1 medium apple

8 carrot sticks

Water, unsweetened tea or coffee, or diet soda

Afternoon snack:

Your choice of a 75-calorie snack

Supper:

Make a large salad

1-3 cups spinach leaves with salad greens

½ chopped ripe red tomatoes

½ cup drained and rinsed chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

½ cup low fat 1% cottage cheese

½ tbsp. salad dressing light Ranch

1 SMALL oatmeal muffin (150 calories or less)

Water, unsweetened tea or coffee, or diet soda

½ cup light vanilla ice cream

Total calories about 1500

I do my calculations for calorie count with a nutrient database (I use the one at My Food Diary. You can read my review of their service here).  I was pleased to learn that this selection of foods comes up very well for total nutrients as well as calories. The day’s menu serves up a total of 30 grams of fiber! That’s actually on the high end for women but may help to keep you from feeling hungry when on a low calorie diet. (Read my earlier post on a High Fiber Diet.)

Calcium: 1253 mg (That’s enough for anyone including women over the age of 50.)

Vitamin C: 100 mg (134% of the recommended daily value for adult women)

Vitamin A: 16, 451 IU (This is high, 548% of the recommended value, but should not be a problem coming from food. However, taking supplements with high doses of vitamin A daily in excess of 25,000 IU is dangerous.)

Iron: 30.1 mg (This is 167% of the recommended daily value for pre-menopausal women. It is high for women who are 50+ but may not be a problem once in a while unless you are needing to be on a low-iron diet for medical reasons.)

Let me know what you think of this 1500 calorie diet sample menu. I would be interested to hear of any modifications that you might make.

  • Brenda November 25, 2011, 9:55 pm

    Hi Lori,my Name is Brenda i am 44 years old and i weigh 244 lbs,I want to loose about70 lbs i have tryed to loose weight and i am not having any luck,i bought so much workout stuff from treadmill,total workout gym,Etc..and i just don’t have much energy anymore like i use to,i stay tired all the time..I am up for suggestions,on what type of vitameins i need to take,and how can i get my matabolizam back up,i can tell it’s very slow,and that’s probably why i’m staying so tired all the time and have no energy,but i just don’t know what i need to try to give me back my energy that i once had.
    I hope to here back from you soon. i am so eger to try and do what ever it takes to get my energy level back up,so i feel like workingout more to get this weight off.

    Brenda

    • Lori November 26, 2011, 7:49 am

      Hi Brenda,

      If your doctor approves, I think the single best thing you can do for yourself would be to make sure you are getting plenty of high quality protein in your diet and cut way back on added sugars and refined carbohydrates such as white rice, white bread, and white potatoes. Also make sure you are eating lots of non-starchy vegetables with the exception of beans. Beans are a starchy vegetable (high carbohydrate) but also a good source of protein.

      If you do these things you will find yourself feeling much better in a short time. Some exercise is good but there is no need to knock yourself out. By eating a balanced diet you will find yourself getting most of the vitamins and minerals you need just from your diet (the best place). You may need to take additional calcium and vitamin D. Check with your doctor on this.

      Good luck Brenda,

      Lori

  • Karen Barker November 25, 2011, 7:03 pm

    I have just been diagnosed with celiac disease. I also hit the 150 pound mark the other day and can no longer fit into my clothes. Not sure if that’s related to the celiac or not but I am trying desperately to find a 1500 calorie diet that is gluten free. Do you have any advice? I’m soooooo upset about my weight (I’m only 5’4″) Thanks for your help…. :-)

    • Karen Barker November 25, 2011, 7:04 pm

      Oh, forgot to mention, have been a vegetarian for 32 years ~sigh~ Lots of dietary challenges.

    • Lori November 26, 2011, 7:38 am

      Hi Karen,

      I’m sorry to hear of your diagnosis. I wish I were more of an expert on celiac disease but I am not. So no, unfortunately, I do not have a 1500 calorie diet plan that is gluten free. There are a number of excellent bloggers who share recipes and more for people who suffer from celiac disease but I don’t have the web addresses at my fingertips. If I come across the information I will share it with you.

      The same basic advice I share here will still hold true. You unfortunately have more challenges than the average person with having to avoid gluten and being a vegetarian but it can be done. You still need balance and variety in your diet. You still need enough protein from plant sources and plenty of fruit and vegetables. I would encourage you to begin experimenting with including Quinoa in your diet. It is gluten free and a fairly good source of protein.

      Wishing you well,

      Lori

  • Shayna November 24, 2011, 1:48 pm

    Hi Lori,
    Firstly: I love how in depth your responses are to everybody’s inquiries!
    Secondly: I’m 19 years old and 124lbs. I am just finishing up my first semester at college. Prior to the fall, I weighed 118lbs. During the summer, I was home and exercising nonstop. Being home also meant that protein-rich foods were readily available (upon my request) and large quantities of water were at my fingertips. Now at school, the selection of foods containing protein is very limited (and not too be trusted!) and I can only drink about a quart of water a day without spending a ton of money each day on jugs of water. I was drinking a gallon and a half back home in the summer! Over summer, I was also very active – probably burning 12oo calories daily without consciously making appoint to do so. I was walking my dog each morning, going on runs, bike-riding, walking a mile to and from work – just enjoying the outdoors! And weight training 4x a week. I was also eating just the right amount and my body looked the best it had ever looked. Loved the way I felt too! Since I went to college, my diet has not changed tremendously, other than a reduction in protein-rich foods and water. I still gravitate towards fruits, veggies, salads, yogurt, cottage cheese, whole grain and whole wheat breads – all the right things! I do not drink alcohol and I do everything I can not to eat late at night. There’s nothing diet-wise that I can think of that I could be doing that I’m not already doing that would help me to slim me down. I also get to the gym for weight training 3x a week and for cardio 3x a week. I will throw a yoga or pilates class in there once a week as well. Was it just inevitable that I was going to pack six pounds on due to the change in seasons? Because I cannot possibly put in the time at school to burn 12oo calories each day like I did at home. I probably consume 22oo calories daily now (and over summer too). Will counting calories and doing your 15oo calorie diet plan significantly help me? How soon will I see results? Thank you!

    • Lori November 25, 2011, 11:58 am

      Hi Shayna,

      You’ve asked some excellent questions that may prove difficult to answer without having more information. I’ll do what I can.

      To begin, you say you feel most comfortable at 118 pounds and look your best. But to maintain that weight you have found you need to burn about 1200 calories a day. That’s a lot and simply not very compatible with the lifestyle of most adults. Another observation is that both 118 and 124 pounds are well within a normal weight range for someone of your age and height.

      You do seem to have a healthy diet, however, I’m not seeing any mention of eating lean meat, fish, poultry, or beans (legumes). These are excellent protein rich foods. Are these part of your diet also?

      Keep in mind that you are at an age when you are transitioning from being a teenager to being a young adult woman. The additional weight may be normal for someone of your genetic makeup. How do you compare with the other adult women in your family particularly how much these relatives weighed in their early 20s (mother, aunts, sisters?)

      If you still feel 118 is appropriate then you have a couple of choices. Burning 1200 calories a day is not particularly sustainable so it would seem that your best option would be to lower your caloric intake. A daily intake of 2200 calories seems to me to be on the high side for someone of your age and height but normal when you are very active as you described.

      1500 calories a day would be probably be fine for weight loss if you increase that amount by 100-300 calories on the days you get a fair amount of exercise. Make these changes and you will hopefully see yourself losing from 1/2 to 1 pound a week. (2-3 months to achieve your weight loss goal.) Once you reach your goal weight a daily intake of 1700-1800 calories may work for you to maintain except when you are at home and more active over the summer.

      Getting enough protein foods matters for weight management. Protein helps to keep your metabolism running well and to keep you feeling satisfied on fewer calories. Without having a detailed food record over a period of days I have no way of knowing for whether or not you are getting enough.

      Are you living in a dorm? Most college dorms have menus that are approved by dietitians and as such “should” provide plenty of protein foods and other healthy choices. But the quality of food provided by one college or university varies considerably from the next. I’m not sure what you mean when you say the food is not to be trusted. However, if you feel you don’t have what you need or can trust you might consider having a small dorm refrigerator in your room to keep a small amount of protein rich foods to supplement your diet.

      I wish you luck with your weight management efforts!

      Lori

  • Danielle November 17, 2011, 1:22 pm

    Hello im looking for a food plan for my 11yr old daughter.. she is 411 and weighs 212 i nee a diet plan for her pleases help

    • Lori November 18, 2011, 7:46 am

      Hi Danielle,

      I’m sorry but I specialize in weight loss for women. I would encourage you to seek help from a pediatrician or a dietitian who specializes in weight loss for children.

      In the meantime I would recommend you plan meals and snacks for your family that are well-balanced with plenty of protein from whole foods such as fish, poultry, lean meat, low fat dairy (such as low fat cottage cheese and yogurt without added sugars), beans (for example black beans and navy beans), nuts, and seeds. Supplement the protein foods with lots of non-starchy vegetables, and some fruit and whole grains (whole grain cereals, pasta, and bread). Eating this way is healthy for the whole family and will help your daughter immensely!

      Avoid fried foods and white foods such as white potatoes, white rice, and white bread as much as possible.

      Hope this helps,

      Lori

  • Rosa October 24, 2011, 10:24 am

    hi im 22 a single mother of a 5, 4, and 1 year old and im 5’4 and 260lbs i really want to get down to 150 which is alot to lose not just for my selfasteem but for my health can you give me any other pointers i cant stand being this big but i do love food=( i do have lots of time to excercise but use to e a runner so i have big calfs that i feel will never be small do to all the fat thats over the muscle any tip for that just wondering hope you can help me im desprate but very motivated HELP PLEASE I WANT TO LIVE A LONG HEALTHY LIFE FOR MY CHILDREN AT THIS RATE I DONT THINK I WILL BE ABLE TO!!!!

    • Lori October 24, 2011, 5:52 pm

      Hi Rosa,

      I’m sorry to hear you have had such struggles with your weight. However, it’s good to know you are willing to do what it takes to lose weight and get healthy. Eating a healthy diet matters not just for you but for your children also! You set the example for them.

      Here’s what I would suggest for you to get started. Begin by limiting your food portions and strictly limiting any sugar in your diet. The average American consumes about 22 teaspoons of sugar a day. That’s terrible. Sugar comes in many forms. Every 4 grams of sugar equals about 1 teaspoon. Read labels and stop buying foods with added sugar (begin by cutting back as much as possible).

      Read about Sources of Hidden Sugar to learn more.

      As you begin to get the sugar out of your diet then I want you to strictly limit refined carbohydrates. If you aren’t sure what I mean please ask! Choose instead to have a small amount of whole grains such as oats, barley, and a little whole wheat.

      If your food budget is limited and prevents you from buying as many fresh vegetables and lean meats, poultry, and fish as you might like let me know and I can give you other ideas.

      Do keep me informed if you get started with my suggestions and how it is going for you.

      I wish you the very best!

      Lori

  • liezel September 18, 2011, 9:06 pm

    is this a low calorie diet menu plan? pleas.. reply as soon as possible.

    • Lori September 20, 2011, 8:59 am

      This is a sample plan to give you ideas on how to create your own menu. Just follow the guidelines as given in the 1500 calorie diet plan (link is on the menu bar at the top of each page).

  • Elizabeth September 11, 2011, 4:32 pm

    Hi Lori,
    I am a 36 year old mother of a 3 week plus baby. I am breastfeeding exclusively and plan to do so until 1 year. My last weight in was 200lbs. I weighed 211 before giving birth, My pre-pregnancy weight was 160lbs and my height is 5ft 9.5″ . I want to start losing weight but I am finding it hard to do so because age is no longer on my side. What advice do you have in terms of a meal plan. I saw the 1700 cal menu but I am not sure if it will be okay for me.
    Thanks

    Elizabeth.

    • Lori September 12, 2011, 5:52 pm

      Hi Elizabeth,

      My apologies for the delay in responding. I’ve been traveling.

      It seems like you may have a basal metabolic rate of about 1500 calories. You might try following my 1500 calorie diet plan.
      But you will need to add more calories for nursing.

      Yes, it does get harder to lose weight the older we get but it is possible. The breast feeding should help quite bit. Good for you!

      I can get you a bit more information when I return home from my travels in the next couple of days.

      Thanks,

      Lori

  • julia September 5, 2011, 4:46 pm

    I just found out that I am a diabetic. I weight 215 lbs 5’3″ in height. I’ve been trying to have a chart that will show x amount of weight for x amount of calories. It also showed how much to eat per serving of food intake. I used to have one. I want to get my weight back to 145lbs. Can you help me please.

    • Lori September 6, 2011, 7:50 am

      Hi Julia,

      I’m not familiar with the kind of chart you are describing. You may want to check with a dietitian who specializes in diabetes.

      However, I am aware of a tool/calculator that will give you the approximate calorie count needed to maintain a certain weight based on height, age, and activity level. This calculator is called the Weight Maintenance Calculator and can be found on the website of the Calorie Control Council. Although I can’t say for sure, the calculator does seem to be accurate (as an approximation).

      Hope this helps,
      Lori

  • Dianna August 29, 2011, 8:24 pm

    Lori,

    I am confused. Help! I am 49, 5′ 1″ woman who has gained weight. I weigh 140 lbs. I have chronic pain caused by a nerve condition that increase the pain if I raise my heart rate. I am now taking several different medications that cause me blurred vision and virtego. Driving, walking very far, and other activities are no longer available to me. I am serious about keeping my weight down now that I am seditary. I went to a calorie counter and it stated that for me to lose 1.5 – 2 lbs a week my intake should be 600-800 calories a day. Is that enough to get in all my dietary requirements or do I now need supplements too? Please advise.
    My goal weight is 120-125.
    Thanks for your website!
    Dianna

    • Lori August 30, 2011, 6:54 am

      Hi Dianna,

      I’m glad you asked me about a safe caloric intake. So many of the calorie counters online fail to tell people about the need to get enough calories to maintain health and keep metabolism running well. When you get enough calories your rate of weight loss will be slower BUT it will be easier to maintain when you achieve your goal. And you will be far less likely to struggle with a plateau.

      I would suggest you have a caloric intake of at least 1300 a day. If you follow my basic plan for 1200 calories + a minimum of 100 more you will hopefully be getting many of the nutrients you need. It is hard even for a nutritionist to meet basic needs on only 1200 calories a day. It requires attention to balance and getting a variety of foods from each of the food groups. That’s why we discourage women from getting any less than 1200 calories (men need a minimum of 1500-1600 calories a day).

      You may need to take an iron supplement if you are not post menopausal. You may also need a calcium and vitamin D supplement.

      I would keep your doctor informed of your dietary choices and ask him or her if you have questions.

      Sorry to hear of your chronic pain! I can’t imagine what that must be like.

      Take care,

      Lori

  • Krystal Powell July 23, 2011, 4:00 am

    Dear Lori,

    My name is Krystal, I am 20 years old, 5’7, and 218.2. I just had my first child 4 months ago. And gained a lot of weight thinking because I was pregnant I could eat everything in my path. I want to lose this weight so bad, but I am one of those people that doesn’t have time to do vigorious workouts or even basic workouts. I am on a tight budget and wanted to ask if you had a cheap meal plan with under 1600 calories?

    • Lori July 23, 2011, 7:14 am

      Hi Krystal,

      You could follow my 1500 calorie diet plan as the base and add calories as necessary to meet your needs. I am currently working a series of short reports that you might find helpful with respect to the specifics of what to include in your individualized plan. You can eat a nutritious diet without spending a lot of money. However, you must be willing to occasionally try new foods.

      In the meantime, you might consider keeping a food diary to track what you eat and how much you are eating. By getting a better sense of where the extra calories are coming from you can begin to reduce your calorie intake and get a start on your weight loss journey.

      Best of luck!

      Lori

  • Debra Snider July 11, 2011, 10:36 pm

    Dear Lori,

    I am a 47 year old female who is 5’2″ tall and weighs 182 pounds. I had been down to 169 pounds but my dad died in January and I have gained weight since then.

    Using the BMR calculator, my BMR is 1517.2. I am sedentary as far as planned exercise but 9 months of the year I am a teacher and on my feet all day walking lots of steps.

    I am going through perimenopause symptoms (insomnia, hot flashes, and PMS almost the entire month).

    I want to take off weight in a manner where it will stay off.

    My goals:
    Weight loss to 140 pounds (so 42 pounds total).
    Exercise – walk 3 times per week for 30 minutes.

    I am not a water drinker — any suggestions on getting that habit started?? I am going to take my weight loss goal in 10 pound increments. Is 1.5 months reasonable for a 10 pound loss for me?

    I really just need someone to encourage and keep me accountable. I liked you on Facebook (1500 calorie plan) and plan to come back to the website to read more articles!

    Thanks for all the good information!

    • Lori July 12, 2011, 6:47 am

      Hi Debra,

      I’m sorry to hear about your Dad. My father passed away a few years ago and I miss him a lot!

      Yes, perimenopause is another big source of stress. I had a harder time managing my weight during perimenopause than any other time in my life. Post menopause is GREAT in comparison. (Well, not exactly. I’m still dealing with hot flashes 8-10 years later but hey, no more PMS!)

      With respect to your weight loss goals, a 10 pound loss in a month and a half seems possible given your current weight, exercise goals, and proposed calorie intake of 1500 calories a day. You’ll need to monitor your calorie intake closely to succeed. That’s not easy or fun but can make all the difference. I recommend keeping a food diary at least while you are getting started.

      If the weight is not coming off as quickly as you might like, I would suggest finding a way to walk a bit longer each time, with greater intensity, or more often. Over time you’ll want to change up your exercise routine to keep it effective.

      Glad you joined the facebook group!

      Best of luck,
      Lori

    • Lori July 14, 2011, 7:56 am

      Hi again Debra,

      I just now realized I neglected to answer your question about how you might begin the habit of drinking water on a more regular basis.

      I was a plain water drinker for years until I decided one day that I just couldn’t stand it anymore!! What I discovered at that point was just how much of a difference it made to add a tiny bit of juice to the water to give it a LITTLE flavor! But then I went on from that method to begin drinking unsweetened tea. It’s made all the difference for me. I absolutely love all the different flavors I can choose. And there are health benefits to drinking tea above and beyond the value of the water.

      You can drink unsweetened iced tea in the summer months and hot tea otherwise.

      Hope this helps,

      Lori

  • zee gabriel July 11, 2011, 9:24 pm

    Hi, Lori..
    My daughter is 15 years old, and she’s about 170 pounds, and 5,41 feet tall. She needs to lose her weight. Can you please help us to design her diet plan. Please make it simple and easy…natural food would be better, since here in Indonesia, it’s kind a hard to find those brands you mentioned above, Thank’s

    • Lori July 12, 2011, 6:09 am

      Hi Zee,

      I would take a look at my 1500 calorie diet plan (see link on the menu bar on the top of each page). This basic plan will give you a sense of how to balance a diet with natural foods. However, that said, I am not an expert on what would be best for teenagers. My expertise is nutrition and weight loss for adult women.

      I would strongly encourage you to seek the advice of a dietitian or qualified nutritionist in your country to give you some advice.

  • vrinda chaudhary July 5, 2011, 6:45 am

    mam/sir i would like to know the precise diet plan for a menpausal woman?

    • Lori July 5, 2011, 9:43 am

      Hello Vrinda,

      Menopausal women need basically the same healthy food as anyone else. That said the emphasis needs to be on lean meat, fish, or poultry; low fat dairy or dairy alternatives; fruits and vegetables, and enough but not too much whole grain foods. I have two basic low calorie plans on this website. You might take a look at the 1500 calorie diet plan to get an idea of how the basic whole foods work together to create a healthy diet plan.

      Some people prefer low carb, others low fat, and others still simply want lower calorie with a healthy balance of foods. You can achieve a healthy balance with any of these approaches by limiting calories but not entire food groups. I would also strongly encourage you to strictly limit or eliminate sugar/sweet foods, refined carbohydrates, and processed foods.

      Be sure to get enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet. Visit with your physician to keep him or her informed of your diet plans and to learn about what other needs you might have.

      Good luck,

      Lori

  • Pat June 4, 2011, 11:59 pm

    Hi Lori,
    You mention maintenance calories is this the same as your BMR?
    Thanks

    • Lori June 6, 2011, 2:36 pm

      Hi Pat,

      Sorry for the delay in responding. No BMR is not the same as maintenance calories. BMR represents the least or lowest calorie intake you want to have and still satisfy your basic caloric needs. Maintenance represents the caloric intake to maintain your weight (once you have reached a healthy weight). This number will take into account the additional calories you need over and above BMR to cover the energy cost of physical activity and the digestion of food.

      To learn more about this you may want to read: How many calories do I need: Part 2.

      Hope this helps.

      Lori

  • valerie May 23, 2011, 8:24 pm

    i was wondering how much you lose a month on a 1500 calorie diet

    • Lori May 24, 2011, 1:36 pm

      Hi Valerie,

      How much someone might lose on a 1500 calorie diet is dependent on the individual.

      What you need to learn about yourself is how many calories you need per day to maintain your current weight. This is dependent on your age, sex, height, weight, and activity level.

      Once you know your maintenance calories you can subtract 1500 calories from that amount. This will give you your calorie deficit per day. If for example you need 2000 calories to maintain and you go on 1500 calories the difference or deficit would be 500 calories per day. (If your maintenance needs are 2500 calories a day then 1500 calories would result in a deficit of 1000 calories a day.)

      You need a deficit of 500 calories a day to lose one pound a week. (A pound of fat is equivalent to 3500 calories.) That would result in a loss of 4 pounds in a month.

      Hope this helps,

      Lori

  • Wanda May 16, 2011, 12:31 pm

    I am 50+, I am 5’3″ and weigh 122 pounds. I go to the gym 4-5 times a week. I have RA and LGL Leukemia. I started on a gluten free diet so your 1,500 calorie diet won’t work for me–is there anyway to change it around? I eat a lot of pepitas, sunflower seeds, blueberry (gluten free) granola, and dried fruits & nuts. Any suggestions for my issues?

    • Lori May 17, 2011, 12:13 pm

      Yes, you’re right. My plan was not developed to meet the challenges you face. If you have not done so already, I would strongly encourage you to meet with a dietitian who can advise you on a therapeutic diet. Your health challenges go beyond my expertise.

      Lori

  • Melissa April 15, 2011, 7:20 am

    Hey there, im 5’4 and 220lbs… i love food and its hard for me to stick with my diet all the time cause i have a newborn baby and my life pretty much is all about him lol. I was told by my husband that instead of me counting calories, just eat our everyday normal foods just less. and drink plenty of water. My goal is to be 175. But its hard to get in my exercises cuz like i said i have a new born baby. Doesnt really sleep much during the day… So is it ture. Can i just eat less of my normal foods? Also Ive Started the jillian michaels 30 day shred last week and im on level one still, not ready to move up, there not to much cardio in it and i think im gaining muscle instead of loseing weight. So i am going to start doin my hip hop abs video next week 6times a week carido and 3 times a week the 30day shred. What do you think?

    Thank You:)

    • Lori April 16, 2011, 10:41 am

      Hi Melissa,

      I believe your husband is giving you good advice. Eating your everyday normal foods is good because you won’t have to change your whole routine. That’s hard to do when you have a new baby in the house! What he suggests about eating less and drinking plenty of water are also good suggestions. If you consume less food you will automatically be consuming fewer calories. If for example you are accustomed to having two servings at meal time go with only one. Getting plenty of water is also good. By staying well hydrated you help your body to burn calories more effectively. You will also avoid the problem of thinking you are hungry when you might really be thirsty.

      I like that you are making some time in your day to get some exercise. Good for you!

      If you don’t like drinking lots of plain water, you could also try unsweetened tea or flavor your water with a little bit of juice.

      If you are not currently eating many fruits or vegetables you might want to consider adding more to your diet over time. Fruits and vegetables go a long way to keep you feeling full for longer periods of time as well as helping you stay healthy. And ultimately you will want to be a good role model for your child so he or she will get in the habit of eating fruits and vegetables at a young age (but not too young!).

      Let me know how you do!

      Lori

      You didn’t mention if you are breast feeding. If you are please don’t cut your calorie intake too low. Breast feeding may take more calories but it also does a lot to help your body lose weight. Good luck!

  • Maggie March 29, 2011, 4:47 am

    Hi Lori,
    I’ve just turned 55, weigh 105 kilos, 1.73 tall, just about tried all kinds of diets, yes I loose a lot of weight but always seem to get it back on, went to all kinds of doctors and just about had enough of all the yo yo my bodies going thru. But deep down inside I feel I need to loose weight, I don’t feel as healthy as I should be, can’t go for long walks as I find myself out of breath, and saying I want to sit down for a while!! I feel as if I am a prisoner in a body that really isnt me!!! I used to weigh 62 kilos – ten years ago!!! Really I need someone to HELP ME stay on some kind of diet that will bring back the person stuck up in this body!!! Its not me, I don’t feel like its me!!! If I don’t look at myself in the mirror I feel different but once I see myself then the truth dawns on me!!!

    • Lori March 29, 2011, 8:24 am

      Hi Maggie,

      Weight loss is not easy. You’ve experienced that. If anything it gets harder the older we get and the more we have experimented with dieting over the years (yo yo dieting). However, that’s not to say you can’t succeed with losing weight and maintaining the weight loss. A lot depends on how much you want to achieve the loss.

      If you are highly motivated and willing to do what it will take then absolutely you CAN turn things around. The key to success will come in changing your relationship with food and incorporating a significant amount of exercise back in your life. It’s good to know you can walk. That’s great. Get on a schedule (walk 3-5 times a week at minimum) and push yourself to go a little further and a little faster each week. You will be pleased at how quickly you will start to feel better and more able and that will motivate you to keep going. If you find other forms of exercise you might like such as dancing or bike riding or whatever you can add that to the mix or switch things up to keep it interesting.

      What you eat with respect to your daily diet is essential. Instead of thinking of a diet as something you go on and then come off, you will need to think of having a diet for living. Begin to transition to healthier foods with an awareness of portion control so you can keep your calorie intake under control. It’s all about calories whether we like it or not. But after you get a sense of your calorie needs and the kind and amount of food you need to achieve and maintain your goal weight you will not need to track your calorie intake. You need to be knowledgeable about what you are eating and why certain foods are better choices than others.

      Unlike many people think, there is no need to deprive yourself or hate your new way of eating. There are thousands of healthy food choices that taste great! I have reached a point in my life that I actually feel deprived if I am not getting plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in my diet (whether eaten fresh or cooked).

      I share lots of ideas about ways to enjoy, yes enjoy, healthy low calorie food and exercise on this website. I hope you will follow along.

      I’m also in the process of finishing up a short book I wrote on dozens of ways to stay motivated. Be watching for it. I may be giving it away!

      I wish you the very best,

      Lori

  • Maggie February 26, 2011, 8:28 am

    Hi Su,

    I am a relatively new mom, my baby is 7 months old, and I still have 20 pounds of weight to lose to get to pre baby size. However my goal is more than that. I am 5’7 and I would like to weight at least 170, if not 155-170. Is this doable?

    I am in the process of drying up my milk, only pumping for relief. I am ready to get this party started. However, I have never been successful with any diet ever, apart from WW, and I can’t help feeling like this will be the same. I got this new program/app on my iPhone called ‘lose it’ abd it says for me to lose 2 pounds a week, I need to have a 1478 calorie diet a day.

    My question is, how do I go from being pregnant/nursing and eating whatever whenever to trying to make a new lifestyle?

    Another tidbit, I did calculate by BRM (basal metabolic thing) abd it is 1750 calories. Not quite sure what this means though.

    Looking forward to your input.

    • Lori February 26, 2011, 11:17 am

      Hi Maggie,

      Would you mind sharing your age? It would help me out.

      I have a terribly busy weekend because we are in the process of putting our house on the market to sell. The work seems to be endless!!

      But I will do my best to get back with you in the next few days.

      Thanks,

      Lori

      • Maggie February 26, 2011, 2:20 pm

        Hi! I am 24 years old. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

        • Lori March 1, 2011, 3:54 pm

          Hi Maggie,

          Thanks for your patience. I’m finally finding a few quiet moments to respond to your question.

          What may be the most important question you’ve asked is how to change your lifestyle after a period of eating whatever you wanted because of the pregnancy and then nursing. You have developed a habit that won’t be easy to break but it can be done. People form new, healthier habits all the time. My question for you is how badly do you want to slim down?

          That’s the most simple and straightforward answer I can give you. Not many people want to hear that response. However, the truth is that if you want something badly enough you will do what it takes to change. So find a compelling reason. Teaching your child healthy eating habits by being a healthy role model might be a reason. Getting into a pair of skinny jeans might be another reason.

          In addition to having a solid, compelling reason, you want to take stock of the habits that could keep you from your goal. Lots of people keep a food diary for this and those who do have a much higher success rate than those who don’t. You might be amazed at what you learn by keeping a record of what you eat over a period of time.

          I have a sister who gained 80 pounds with her second pregnancy. By tracking her food habits she discovered some essential information.

          For example she learned that she needed to wait 20 minutes after eating an appropriately sized meal or snack to give her body time to recognize that she had eaten enough. She discovered bagels can be a source of a lot of calories and she cut back to only 1/2. She also learned that she was drinking too much fruit juice, she used food to calm herself, she needed to eat more slowly, avoid crackers, and keep low calorie foods around.

          There was more but you get the idea. Each person is unique so you will need to discover what trips you up and gets you to eat more than you need. You also need to begin making healthier food choices. In that sense your goal is to transition to a healthy way of eating and living. You are not going on a diet just to lose weight and then regain it with poor habits but instead choosing a diet for living a healthy life.

          In addition to the first two recommendations, I would strongly encourage you to read more about basal metabolic rate (BMR). I have several articles on my site that you can read to understand why you don’t want to consume less calories than your estimated BMR. See: Why BMR is a BFD!

          Unfortunately the apps on the market won’t walk you through all the particulars of your situation to give you good advice. Eating a 1478 calorie diet could be problematic if you need 1750 calories. I don’t recommend it.

          I have LOTS more information on this website that can help you out. Hope it does. Don’t hesitate to ask if you have another question.

          Good luck!

          Oh yes, I asked your age because it influences BMR. You’ll be happy to know that your age is on your side. You will have a faster BMR and hence the ability to burn calories faster at age 24 then you might at 44!

  • Su February 19, 2011, 9:08 am

    Hi Lori,

    Thanks so much for this wonderful website!

    I’m 24 years old, 5 ft 5 in and weigh 180 pounds. My goal is to lose around 30 pounds but more importantly, I want to start making a change to my lifestyle (I’m a grad student and there’s a lot of pizza and cookies everywhere :-| )

    I’ve started working out for an hour 4 times a week, and also managed to bring down my calorie intake to around 2000 every day. Keeping a daily food diary has really helped. I want to try and bring down my calorie intake by another 200-300 calories, but I’m having a lot of trouble doing that. I find that if I have consumed around 1700 calories by the end of the day, I get cravings late at night and end up eating something unhealthy, usually sugary. I usually end up eating much more than I should, going over 500 calories.

    Do you have any suggestions about what I could do?

    Thanks!

    • Lori February 19, 2011, 7:28 pm

      Hi Su,

      It’s been a busy Saturday! I just now found your comment and question. I’d like to give you the best response I can when I’m a little more rested hopefully in the morning! Thanks.

      Lori

    • Lori February 21, 2011, 11:13 am

      Hi again Su,

      Thanks for your patience I had a crazy busy weekend! We are preparing to sell our house and move out of state.

      First of all, I’m glad you have not attempted to drastically reduce your calorie intake. Too many people do that and most of the time it doesn’t work well.

      A quick estimate suggests that your BMR is a little over 1600 calories so a caloric intake of 2000 calories may be a good choice for weight loss especially on the days you exercise. Are you seeing any weight loss at all with a 2,000 calorie intake?

      If so, then one option is to just stick with that for the time being. That would be one way to avoid the cravings! You would need to adjust that calorie intake down as you lose weight.

      If on the other hand, you are not losing weight or you are determined to lose weight a bit faster with a lower caloric intake I have some suggestions for you that might help.

      Because you already find 1700 calories a day to be challenging don’t reduce your intake any lower than that. All of the tips I shared with Tanya would hold true for you as well (sufficient calorie intake as we’ve discussed, eating breakfast, keeping sweets out of sight as much as possible, having low calorie filling snacks as an alternative when cravings hit such as celery or plain popcorn, knowing your triggers so you can distract yourself if you are not actually hungry).

      In addition to those tips, here are some other ideas that might help:

      1. Seek ways to reduce stress. Being a graduate student can be very stressful. I know, I was one at one time. Excessive stress can cause the body to release cortisol which in turn may trigger cravings for high-fat, high-sugar foods.

      2. Also with respect to hormones you will want to do your best to eat a balanced healthy diet and get enough sleep. Coming up short with either of these can have a negative impact on hormonal balance which in turn can cause cravings.

      3. For some people eating just a tiny bit of the desired (craved) food can help stop the cravings. For others it is the opposite! One bite will unleash an unstoppable urge to eat a LOT. Know yourself.

      Taking one or two bites works for me sometimes and other times it is a bad idea! If I am truly hungry a few slices of high protein lean deli turkey for 50 calories or less stops my craving and hunger.)

      4. Avoid spending too much time sitting. Even taking a short 10 or 15 minute walk can help control appetite and reduce the tendency to get cravings.

      5. Include whole grains in your diet and avoid refined carbohydrates as much as possible. The dietary fiber and other nutrients in whole grains can help to keep your hunger under control.

      Because each person is unique there could be other issues. Give these suggestions a try and let me know if anything is working.

      Good luck!

      Lori

  • Tanya February 13, 2011, 5:17 pm

    Hi Lori.

    I am 39 years old, 5’7″ and 205 pounds and my goal is to really loose about 50 pounds to be at a healthy weight. ALL of my weight is in my hips, thighs and booty, no where else. I’m doing a 30-day nutritional program by Dr. Schulze of American Botanical Pharmacy which is fabulous program because he believes in filling the body with nutrients when it is hungry instead of carbs and sugar. But Lori THAT’s my problem. I am a sugar attic. Whether it is homemade or artificial, I’m eating it. I absolutely LOVE SUGAR, especially in the form of cakes and candy like peppermint patties. It tastes so good, but I know it is killing me at the same time. I did wonderfully for the first week and a half of this program, but then here comes the sugar issue, even with working out daily for an hour. And he suggests a 1,500 calorie a day diet for the 30 day program and I did not realize that I was still eating 3,000 calories a day, thinking I was eating healthy. I see your guidelines of suggestions that will help, however, with my sugar issues, how do I stop the cravings so I can successfully maintain the 1,500 calories and continue on the program? Thanks so much Lori!!!

    • Lori February 13, 2011, 5:38 pm

      Hi Tanya,

      You asked a great question! Cravings, especially for sugar, are very common. If I get started eating sugar I find it very hard to stop. I can see you know what I mean! I’d like to answer your question with the best response I can give. So I’ll ask for your patience because I may very well write an article on that topic.

      I’ll try to get back with you with a few quick tips in the meantime. Right now I’m needing to head out the door. My husband and I don’t eat out often but tomorrow is Valentine’s day so this is special. Hope you are able to celebrate with loved ones also (without too much candy!).

      I’ll get back with you soon.

      Thanks!

      Lori

    • Lori February 14, 2011, 11:33 am

      O.k. Tanya back again. Ah yes, cravings! As you probably already know cravings are an extraordinarily complex human experience. Cravings can be either physiological or psychological in origin. As such, discovering the solution to combat cravings in a given person can be a challenge!

      But don’t feel like you are alone. A 2007 Tufts University study of healthy women found 91 percent of women report having food cravings. The intense desire to eat a certain food or foods can get worse with dieting.

      I’ll share a few suggestions for combatting cravings but keep in mind that there are so many other things I could tell you. That’s why I would like to write an article or two to cover the topic better.

      Do take the best care of your health that you can and you are off to an excellent start with this. A healthy diet and exercise matter. Beyond this:

      1. Make sure you are getting enough calories to satisfy your basal metabolic rate. This is very important. 1500 calories may not be enough for you.

      2. Be sure to eat breakfast

      3. Keep sweets out of reach, out of sight, and better yet out of your house or place of work if at all possible! Controlling your environment makes a huge difference.

      4. Plan ahead to have healthy, low calorie, and filling snacks on hand for when you are hungry and it’s not meal time.

      5. Get to know your “triggers” and have coping strategies in place. For example, have a list of ways to distract yourself when cravings hit and you are not actually hungry.

      There’s a lot more I could say and hope to soon in an article.

      I wish you the very best!

      Lori

  • Marianne January 10, 2011, 2:27 pm

    Wow thanks Lori for your time and patience! Your advices are very useful, I really appreciate it :) Keep up the great work!

  • Marianne January 7, 2011, 6:42 pm

    Hi Lori, I’m 23 years old I weigh 49kg and I’m 1.57m, I have a fit body, I’m slightly slim, but I have a small belly because lately I started work and I sit all day at the office. I work for 10 hours and when I return from work I’m usually too tired to exercise. I have also lost appetite all of a sudden (I tend not to sleep really well because I work too much and maybe my lack of sleep is one of the problems) and skip lunches. My face is suddenly bursting out, it’s really embarrassing, I look like a teenager. This sample menu is really interesting, I will take it into consideration, but if possible, can you tell me what food and vitamins should I eat that will increase my endurance and energy, give me nice skin and get me the flat stomach I want? Do you recommend any sample menu?

    PS: I don’t smoke and I don’t drink so that’s a good thing.
    Also what do you mean exactly by servings because the term is a bit confusing.

    Thank you in advance!

    • Lori January 8, 2011, 8:23 am

      Hi Marianne,

      You’ve asked some great questions! I want to give you the best response so I’ll need a bit of time. Right now I’ve got to do Saturday chores for my family and other work on our house. I’ll get back with you later today or tomorrow!

    • Lori January 9, 2011, 11:35 am

      Hi Marianne,

      It seems to me that you are at a healthy weight for your age and height. (I have a hard time thinking in metric terms so I converted everything to what we use here in the United States – feet for height and pounds for weight. Metric is probably the better system but this is what I’m used to. Oh well…) And I’m glad you don’t smoke or drink.

      I suspect your loss of appetite may very well be from the stress of the long work hours, skipping lunch, and lack of sleep. I’m not a medical doctor but I know that would be very hard on just about anyone. The part that concerns me is that your loss of appetite came on suddenly. I would monitor that closely and bring it to the attention of your doctor if that keeps up.

      I do have some thoughts about what might help you feel better and give you more endurance and energy. As for the blemishes on your face, I’m not sure of the cause but I have read some information that may help.

      First of all with respect to feeling better overall. The single most important thing you can do to feel better is to eat a healthy diet on a regular schedule. The 1500 calorie diet plan gives you an outline of what a healthy low calorie diet might be like. Following it exactly everyday would be hard for anyone. Just do the best you can to begin eating a balanced diet. You can improve on it over time.

      The amount of food indicated in each of the food categories is equivalent to one serving. For example 1 slice of bread with at least 2 grams of dietary fiber is one serving. 2 oz. of lean meat, poultry, or fish is one serving. I really need to create a second diet plan with metric measurements so it would be easier for people in other countries to follow! You may want to read more about Portions and Servings to learn more.

      Beyond eating a healthy diet, it is very important to get some kind of daily exercise. The exercise of whatever kind you choose can help you in so many ways. It can provide you with stress relief, firm and tone your muscles, and help you have deeper more restful sleep. You might be amazed at how much better you can feel when you eat right and exercise! Because you are so tired after work you might try something soothing in the evening such as yoga. Certain types of yoga can be a great way to stretch and flex after a long day. Or you might try doing something more strenuous early in the day before work.

      As for the blemishes. The American Academy of Dermatology states that acne is not caused by food. However, there are other health professionals who disagree. One perspective is that a poor diet combined with stress influences hormones in a negative way. Some suggest a low-glycemic diet might help. To read more about this see Is Acne Fed by the Western Diet? on the WebMD site. The particular study referred to in this article is a bit dated. I will see if I can find anything more recent.

      Hope all of this helps. Please ask if you have more questions.

      Oh yes, one more thing. Because you have a long work day and often skip lunch you may want to read 28 Healthy Low Calorie Snack Foods to Go for some ideas on ways to eat healthier during your long work day. I also have articles on this site about how important it is to eat a healthy breakfast with plenty of protein!

  • Brent Shults January 3, 2011, 10:36 am

    Hi Diane, I am a type 1 diabetic. I have had it for almost 30 years. I take a drug called “Symlin” along with insulin and it is injected much like insulin. I am not sure if you are taking insulin or the pill. The symlin works when you eat to make you feel full, it is a natural hormone much like insulin, but serves a different purpose. I am not sure if your doctor would prescribe it to you, but it would be an option possibly.

  • Diane Vivian December 31, 2010, 11:21 am

    I am 66 years old,5’4 and weigh about 250. I am a type 2 diabetic and have IBS so there are diet considerations for me. Could someone help to structure a 1500 calorie diet that I can use. My Dr wants me on 1000 calories per day but I am just too hungry and my diabetic meds ,with that small amount of food, keep lowering my blood sugar too low.I have had a heart attack and don’t want another one. I also have to walk with a walker due to degenerative disc disease. Please help.

    • Lori December 31, 2010, 11:46 am

      Hi Diane,

      I wish I could help you but your medical condition goes beyond my expertise. If it is at all possible, I strongly encourage you to find a way to meet and talk with a clinical dietitian who specializes in diabetes and who understands the dietary needs of someone with IBS. I wish you the best of luck in getting the help you need and deserve.