General guidelines on how to lose weight(1)

Limitation of fats in the diet

One of the ways of facilitating your weight reduction is to focus on the limitation of fat intake. This is very effective because one gram of fats could give you 9 calories of energy whereas protein and carbohydrates could only give you 4 calories per gram. Thus, if you limit your intake of fats, your losing calories—and subsequently your weight—would be faster than when you solely restrict your protein or carbohydrate intake.


Determine how many calories you need to maintain your ideal weight. You can look at your ideal body weight in the ensuing Table 1[1]USDA Acceptance Weights for Adults

*The higher weights in the ranges generally apply to men, who tend to have more muscle and bone than women; the lower weights more often apply to women [1].

To find your calorie needs, multiply your ideal weight by 15 if you are moderately active or by 20 if you are very active[1].

From that total, subtract the following according to your age:

                              Age 25-34, subtract 0

                             Age 35-44, subtract 100

                             Age 45-54, subtract 200

                             Age 55-64, subtract 300

                              Age 65+, subtract 400[1]

To find your fat-gram allowance, multiply your daily calories by the percentage of fat desired (10%, 20%, or 30%); then divide by 9 calories/g[1].


Suppose you are male, 38 years old, with height of 5’ 4”,  with present weight of 170 pounds, and moderately active. Firstly, you want to find out if you are overweight, underweight, or with normal weight. So you look at Table 1, and you find out that the maximum weight that you should have is 157 pounds. Offhand, you are overweight by 13 pounds. Therefore, the program that you will need is weight reduction.

Ideally, you need to lose 1-2 pounds per week; thus, if you prefer to lose 1 pound per week, then you will need 13 weeks or approximately three months to normalize your weight. If you want to accelerate your weight reduction, you can target to lose 2 pounds per week, and you need around 6-7 weeks or 1 ½ months.

Before proceeding with the discussion, you need to understand two technical terms: (1) total daily caloric intake (TDCI), and total daily caloric requirement (TDCR). TDCI refers to the actual number of calories that you take each day, while TDCR refers to the number of calories that you should take each day to maintain your ideal weight [Please consult Powertec (20)].

Since you are overweight, it is safe to assume that your TDCI has been very much higher than your TDCR. You have been taking more calories than what you need, or more than what you can burn. Thus, the excess calories are stored and deposited in your body making you heavier than your ideal weight. Therefore, in your weight reduction, the basis of subtracting the number of calories that you need to slice off each day should be from the TDCI.



  1. Roth, Ruth A. Nutrition and Diet Therapy. Singapore: Delmar Learning, 2007.
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