The 2 Pounds Per Week Rule and How to Burn Fat Faster

Tom Venuto
Tom Venuto – author of Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle

Note from John: this is a guest article by Tom Venuto, author of the EXCELLENT book, Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle. You can read my review on here.

Why do you always hear that 2 pounds per week is the maximum amount of fat you should safely lose? If you train really hard while watching calories closely shouldn’t you be able to lose more fat without losing muscle or damaging your health? What if you want to lose fat faster? How do you explain the fast weight losses on The Biggest Loser? These are all good questions that I’ve been asked many times. With the diet marketplace being flooded every day with rapid weight loss claims, these questions desperately need and deserve some honest answers. Want to know where that 2 pounds per week rule comes from and what it really takes to burn more than 2 pounds of fat per week? Read on.

Why Only 2 Pounds Per Week?

The truth is, two pounds is not the maximum amount you can safely lose in a week. That’s only a general recommendation and a good benchmark for setting weekly goals. It’s also sensible and realistic because it’s based on average or typical results.

The actual amount of fat you can lose depends on many factors. For example, weight losses tend to be relative to body size. The more body fat you carry, the more likely you’ll be able to safely lose more than two pounds per week. Therefore, we could individualize our weekly guideline a bit by recommending a goal of 1-2 lbs of fat loss per week or up to 1% of your total weight. If you weighed 300 lbs, that would be 3 lbs per week.

Body Weight Vs Body Composition

Weight loss is somewhat meaningless unless you also talk about body composition; the fat to muscle ratio, as well as water weight. Ask any wrestler about fast weight loss and he’ll tell you things like, “I cut 10 lbs overnight to make a weight class. It was easy – I just sweated it off.”

You’ve also probably seen people that went on some extreme induction program or a lemon juice and water fast for the first week and dropped an enormous amount of weight. But once again, you can bet that a lot of that weight was water and lean tissue and in both cases, you can bet that those people put the weight right back on.

The main potential advantage of any type of induction period for rapid weight loss in the first week is that a large drop on the scale is a motivational boost for many people (even if it is mostly water weight).

Why do you hear so many diet and fitness professionals insist on 2 lbs a week max? Where does that number come from? Well, aside from the fact that it’s a recommendation in government health guidelines and in position statements of most nutrition and exercise organizations, it’s just math. The math is based on what’s practical given the number of calories an average person burns in a day and how much food someone can reasonably cut in a day.

How Do You Lose More Than 2 Pounds Per Week?

Can you lose more than 2 lbs of pure fat in a week? Yes, although it’s easier in the beginning. It gets harder as your diet progresses. How do you do it? My rule is, extraordinary results require extraordinary efforts. An extraordinary effort means a particularly strict diet, as well as burning more calories through training because you can only cut your calories so far from food before you’re starving and suffering from severe hunger.

Simply put, you need a bigger calorie deficit.

If you have a 2500 calorie daily maintenance level, and you want to drop 3 lbs of fat per week withe diet alone, you’d need a huge daily deficit of 1500 calories, which would equate to eating 1000 calories per day. You would lose weight rapidly for as long as you could maintain that deficit (although it would slow down over time). Most people aren’t going to last long on so little food and they often end with a period of binge eating. It’s not practical (or fun) to cut calories so much and in some cases it could be unhealthy.

The other alternative is to train for hours and hours a day, literally. People ask me all the time, “Tom, how is it possible for the Biggest Loser contestants to lose so much weight? Well first of all they’re not measuring body fat, only body weight. Then you have the high starting body weights and the large water weight loss in the beginning. After that, just do the math – they’re training hours a day so they’re creating a huge calorie deficit.

But without that team of trainers, dieticians, teammates, a national audience and all that prize money, do you think they’d be motivated and accountable enough to do anywhere near that amount and intensity of exercise in the real world? Would it even be possible if they had a job and family? Not likely, is it? It’s not practical to do that much exercise, and it’s not practical to cut your calories below a 1000 a day and remain compliant. If you manage to achieve the latter, it’s very difficult not to rebound and regain the weight afterwards for a variety of physiological and psychological reasons.

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For Fast Fat Loss: Less Food Or Harder Training?

Trainers are becoming more inventive these days in coming up with high intensity workouts that burn a large amount of calories and really give the metabolism a boost. This can help speed up the fat loss within a given amount of time. But as you begin to utilize higher intensity workouts, you have to start being on guard for overtraining or overuse injuries. That’s why strict nutrition with an aggressive calorie deficit is going to have to be a major part of any fast fat loss strategy. Unfortunately, very low calorie dieting has its own risks in the way of lean tissue loss, slower metabolism, extreme hunger, and greater chance of weight re-gain.

My approach to long term weight control is to lose weight slowly and patiently and follow a nutrition plan that is well balanced between lean protein, healthy fats and natural carbs and doesn’t demonize any entire food group. To lose fat, you simply create a caloric deficit by burning more and eating less (keeping the nutrient density of those calories as high as possible, of course). But to achieve the extraordinary goals such as photo-shoot-ready, super-low body fat or simply faster than average fat loss, while minimizing the risks, I often turn to a stricter cyclical low carb diet for brief “peaking” programs. I explain this method in chapter 12 of my book Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle (it’s my “phase III” or “competition” diet).

burn the fatThe cyclical aspect of the diet means that after three to six days of an aggressive calorie deficit and strict diet, you take a high calorie / high carb day to re-feed the body and re-stimulate the metabolism. Essentially, this helps reduce the starvation signals your body is receiving. It’s also a psychological break from the deprivation which helps improve compliance and prevent relapse.

The higher protein intake can help prevent lean tissue loss and curb the hunger. A high protein diet also helps by ramping up dietary thermogenesis. A high intake of greens, fibrous vegetables and low calorie fruits can help tip the energy balance equation in your favor as fibrous veggies are very low in calorie density and some of the calories in the fiber are not metabolizable. Healthy fats are added in adequate quantities, while the calorie-dense simple sugars and starchy carbs are kept to a minimum except on refeed days and after (or around) intense workouts.

There’s No Magic, Just Math

In my experience, a high protein, reduced carb approach in conjunction with weights and cardio can help maximize fat loss – both in terms of increasing speed of fat loss and particularly for getting rid of the last of the stubborn fat. It helps with appetite control too. But always bear in mind that the faster fat loss occurs primarily as a result of the larger calorie deficit (which is easily achieved with sugars and starches minimized), not some type of “low carb magic.”

If your diet were high in natural carbs but you were able to diligently maintain the same large calorie deficit, the results would be similar. I’m seeing more and more advertisements that not only promise rapid weight loss, but go so far as saying that you’re doing it wrong if you’re losing “only” two pounds per week. “Why settle” for slow weight loss, they insist. Well, it’s certainly possible to lose more than two pounds per week, but it’s critically important to understand that there’s a world of difference between rapid weight loss and permanent fat loss.

It’s also vital to know that there’s no magic in faster fat loss, just math. All the new-fangled dietary manipulations and high intensity training programs that really do help increase the speed of fat loss all come full circle to the calorie balance equation in the end, even if they claim their method works for other reasons and they don’t mention calories burned or consumed at all.

Beware of The Quick Fix

Faster fat loss IS possible. My question is, are you willing to tolerate the hunger, low calories and high intensity exercise for that kind of deficit? Do you have the work ethic? Do you have the supreme level of dietary restraint necessary to stop yourself from binging and putting the weight right back on when that aggressive diet is over? Or would you rather do it in a more moderate way where you’re not killing yourself, but instead are making slow and steady lifestyle changes and taking off 1-2 lbs of pure fat per week, while keeping all your hard-earned muscle?

Remember, 1-2 pounds per week is 50-100 pounds in a year. Is that really so slow or is that an astounding transformation? You don’t gain 50-100 pounds over night, so why should anyone expect to take it off overnight? Personally, I think short-term thinking and the pursuit of quick fixes are the worst diseases of our generation.

If you want to be one of those “results not typical” fat loss transformations, it can be done and it may be a perfectly appropriate short-term goal for the savvy and sophisticated fitness enthusiast. It’s your call. But when you set your goals, it might be wise to remember that old fable of the tortoise and the hare, and buyer beware if you go shopping for a fast weight loss program in today’s shady marketplace.

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One last thing…

In case you’re wondering, Tom is not one of those phony weight loss gurus. He’s the real deal! Check out this comment I received from someone who bought his book…

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tom venutoAbout the Author:

Tom Venuto is the author of the #1 best seller, Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle: Fat Burning Secrets of the World’s Best Bodybuilders and Fitness Models. Tom is a lifetime natural bodybuilder and fat loss expert who achieved an astonishing 3.7% body fat level without drugs or supplements.

Discover how to increase your metabolism and burn stubborn body fat, find out which foods burn fat and which foods turn to fat, plus get a free fat loss report and mini course by visiting Tom’s site at:

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102 Responses

  1. Nikki

    Just seeing if I have this right,

    If I need 2300 calories to maintain, and I only eat 1000/day, and work out enough to burn 1,500/day would I lose 5lbs per week?

    Is that just incredibly unhealthy, or even doable??

    • John

      Hi Nikki,

      Your math may be right, but I think you missed the point of Tom’s article. Losing more than 2 pounds per week is possible, but not necessarily realistic or desirable long-term.

      If you’re losing much more than 2 pounds per week, then you’re likely doing three things:

      1) losing not just fat, but also valuable lean body mass
      2) losing water weight
      3) weakening your metabolism

      If your daily calorie needs are 2300, then I wouldn’t drop any lower than 1840 calories daily (a 30% deficit). Much lower than that and you’re playing with a starvation level diet, which will have metabolic consequences and won’t work long-term. Realistically, a 15-20% deficit works better long-term, especially for consistent progress for FAT loss, not just weight loss.

  2. james

    okay i am 13 and i am 5.3 or 5.4 and i weigh 119 lbs. i dont think im fat but i want to take off the extra “fat” off of my stomach. today i started my fat burn training but as most people know on facebook my 6 pack training. i know that a low carb diet is good when it comes to stuff like this, and so is a high protein diet, but i want to know what foods are high in protein. also for this fat loss diet i am taking what carby materials should i stop eating, like not cut back on but just stop eating. i do work out at the gym too so should that help? i want to lose “FAT” not weight. please help me.

    from, james

    • John

      Good for you, James!

      Foods that are high in protein include:

      1) meats like beef, pork, buffalo
      2) poultry like chicken and turkey
      3) most fish like salmon or catfish
      4) a lot of other foods have a decent amount of protein, too – like dairy products, nuts and seeds, beans, and others.

      Just to clarify, eating carbs isn’t a problem, and at your age – I would worry more about WHAT kinds of carbs you’re eating, rather than your total carbohydrate intake on a daily basis. Carbs aren’t the problem, it’s the processed carbs that you want to avoid. Many foods that are rich in carbs have health benefits and will actually help you in your gym training – like potatoes, sweet potatoes, rolled oats, brown or wild rice, and practically any vegetable.

      If I were you, I’d keep it pretty simple. Stay away from sweets and simple carbohydrates (like white bread, soda pop, “snack foods” like cookies and crackers, and anything else that is high in sugar). If you avoid the sweets and simple carbs, and focus on eating healthy foods the rest of the time, then you’ll be well on your way to six-pack abs.

      The training will help a bit, too ;-)

  3. Ravi Persad


    I am 5’9 and 235 lbs. I am male, 38 yrs old. I estimated my BMR as 3300 calories working out 3 to 5 days per week. Now I want to lose 2 lbs per week. I read burn the fat, feed the muscle and i read where the maximmum would be a 30% deficit for like 3 days and maybe a 10% deficit on the 4th day then back to 30%. The question is I want to lose 2 lbs a week. That would be approximately 2300 calories a day (1000 deficit). Now I want to maintain a a 2300 calories every week to have that constant 1000 deficity per day. I know that I should be raising calories every 4th day to prevent my metabolism from slowing down. Would it be ok if I did like 2000 calories for 3 days and then raised it to 3200 calories on the 4th….that would still be an average of 2300 a day but I would benefit from the lower calories and raising the calories but still maintain a constant 1000 calories deficity. Or would dropping to 2000 a day cause a problem with the diet?

    • John

      Hi Ravi,

      The Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle system recommends only dropping calories to a 30% deficit, and no lower. Anything lower than that, and you’re flirting with a starvation diet that may have metabolic consequences. With the stats you’ve posted, you should be able to lose 2 lbs per week at 2300/day with a 4th refeed day.

  4. Molly

    Thanks so much for writing this, I’ve been fooling myself with stupid diet pills and starvation which has made my weight so much worse. I feel like i’ve gotten a small reality check and I’m going to do my best to discipline myself and my body. I do have 1 question though.

    I’m stuck working at McDonalds Fast Food and this makes it incredibly hard not to binge or be tempted to chow down on the food :-( how can i avoid eating the crappy food i gotta serve???

  5. Michelle

    I need advise. I have been going to the gym three times a week for the past month. Each time I meet with a personal trainer for 1/2 hr and then do about 20 minutes to 1/2 hr cardio. I’ve also been keeping to a diet of about 1200 – 1500 calories a day. I’m vegetarian so my diet already consisted of mostly fruits and vegetables and I take supplement protein. I also cut out all junk food or foods with processed sugars.

    After a month I had my measurements retaken yesterday and guess what, I LOST ZERO!!!. How is this possible? I wasn’t hoping for 2 lbs a week but I thought after a month I would have lost atleast 1 pound! Why is my body not cooperating?

    I currently weigh 136 and need to go down to between 110 and 115, to fit within the healthy range for my height (5′).

    Any advise???

  6. Elaine Johnson

    Hi Michelle,

    Im not a professional or anything just someone who is losing weight and has gained some knowlege. I think you might be eating too many calories for your height and weight to lose weight. For your size it takes about 1700 calories just to maintain your weight so if you want to lose a decent amount of weight you would need to lower your calories to about 1100 calories per day. As a vegitarian protein supplement I would suggest Nutiva Hemp Protein. And Also if your just going to workout 3 times per week then do it intensely with more interval cardio with light weight training. (ex: 45mins cardio with intervals and 15 mins of light weights. push ups, squats, 5 lbs weights ect.) If your not drinking enough water then that will definately slow down your weight loss and also lack of sleep. ALWAYS warm up, cool down, and stretch for at LEAST 5 mins. If the low calories is starving you then add 200 to 300 calories twice a week to zig zag your calories. Its said that it helps to confuse your body into keeping a high metabolism. Eatiing 5 to 6 small meals increases metabolism also.

    One last thing i would suggest is to see your doctor for a full health assesment to see where you stand. Sometimes health issues can cause you to hang on to weight.

    Good Luck!:)

  7. Claire

    Hey, I really need advice on weight loss! I’m 17, 5″5 1/2 and I’m 150lbs (so yeah I’m fat) but I have lost weight before quite fast, it was about 8lbs every 2-3 weeks and then I sadly put it all on again :(
    So as a new years resolution that I am set on completing is to lose roughly 30 lbs in about 18 weeks. Is that possible? I am desperate to lose weigh since I’m a brides maid this year and I want to look good.

    What foods would I need to eat and foods that I should not, I know the basics.
    I’m not really active so what excersises are best? I can’t sign up for the gym cause I’m broke but I do have wii fit and an excersise bike plus weights and stuff like that. Also I walk a bit anyway at least 30-40mins a day.
    If you could help you would be a life saver. Thanks

  8. Sabrina

    In order to lose 2 lbs a week all i have to do is reduce my calorie intake and workout more. i need advice im 5’8 146 1bs and i am trying to lose 18 lbs in two months. how can i lose the weight and keep the weight off in a healthy manner.

  9. Elaine

    I’m a 28 year old female, I am 5’4, and starting weight was 156. I’m trying to lose 2 pounds a week so I cut my calories to between 1100 – 1250 (at least a 500 calorie deficit from my maintenance intake) which I log online every day. I work out every single day with a heart rate monitor that says I burn 450-460 calories. I’ve been doing this for over a month, and I’m only down to 154. What am I doing wrong? I am so frustrated!

  10. james

    could be that even though your burning fat
    your putting on muscle as a result of your workouts hence your weight isnt dropping as much
    but your body fat percentage is
    thats thats what you really want to use
    bodyfat percentage and the way your clothes fit is a better indicator than weight which can be really misleading
    i myself started training again a month back i started at 166lbs and 5 foot 10
    ive dropped to 160 lbs but ive gone down a waist size and my body fat has dropped by 4% so
    thats really a much better way of measuring fatloss

  11. Online Sunshine

    I’m a 41 year old female. I’m 5’5″ and my goal weight is 125lbs. My starting weight 2 1/2 weeks ago was 170. I am now down to 165lbs, which is the standard 2lbs a week weight loss.
    My regime is eating 1500 calories per day (3 meals and two snacks a day). I walk 4 miles after work. And I do situps and pushups 3 times a week.
    This week I started adding an extra 4-mile walk on my lunch hour for a total of 8 miles a day. I am still eating 1500 calories and don’t feel weak or excessively hungry. I only do the 8 miles during the week. On the weekend, I do one 4-mile walk and then rest one day totally.
    I have been logging my food in MyFitnessPal and based on the reports, I average 140g of carbs, 50g of fat, 80g of protein, and 18g of fiber. I don’t eat much sugar and most of my food is prepared from scratch…lean proteins, lots of veggies, and carbs are mostly rice. Snacks are things like Greek yogurt, string cheese, chips with salsa and avocado, pistachios, and fruit.
    Beverages include coffee in the morning, a diet soda after lunch, and water throughout the day (about 48oz total). And occasionally I have a cocktail made with diet cranberry juice).
    I’ve read that if you over-train, you stress your body and it causes you to lose less weight.
    Do you think that doing two 4-mile walks during the week is considered over-training?
    I really want to get this weight off – I pulled an abdominal muscle last year (that still isn’t healed) and I have back spasms and I know that this excess weight isn’t helping me recover.

  12. james

    two 4 mile walks isnt exactly overtraining
    but the situps you do wont exactly do much
    if you want a toned mid-section you need to burn fat from all over your body and regardless of what women think
    you need to do some sort of weight lifting
    it wont make you bulk if you dont overdo it otherwise youll be never achieve that toned look.
    situps may work the abdominals but that in itself doesnt burn many calories
    you need to do exercises which engage multiple muscle groups such as light free weights which any trainer in a gym will show you.

  13. Kamel Hamdan

    hello tom, i read your book ( burn tha fat feed the muscle) and thank you for that amazing book, it really inspired me and it coverd everything .. i have aquastion and i hope you answre me. i gaind som muscle over 5 months i traind hard but i had atime was stresful i gaind fat now i wanted to cut and lose tha fat but i don’t want to lose any muscles or any mass, now does lossing 2 lbs per week is too much , couse i heard when you cut you ll’ lose muscles! i train with weights and do cardio daily for 30 min. and eat som 25% defict from my mantaince ( close to 300- 400 cal.) should i keep doing this ir what ?
    many thanks …

  14. Natalie

    I’m 13 years old and I weigh, may be just under, 60kg.
    I hate it. I think I am fat and that I have huge thighs and bottom. I really want to lose 2 pounds a week to reach my goal (56kg in 4-5weeks).
    I am trying to diet, and do very well in the mornings….However, my family are not very supportive and have sweets and high calorie foods around the house, which do not help. I snack at them at night and I hate my self so much for it.
    Have you got any tips on how to lose 2pound a week and to stop my cravings?
    Help please….I hate myself for being this weight.

  15. Ugo

    Hi im 5,7 and i weigh and im 184 pounds my calorie intake is 2200 calories everyday and i was wondering if i only consume 1500 calories per day how much weight will i lose? Thank you

  16. John

    Hi. Im 5’9″ and Im 194 lbs. I have been doing a lot of workout for the past year, and I have had a lot of results. My arms and chest are in really good shape, and my waist size is 33, and I’m built muscle wise.
    But, ive had a problem with love handles. My stomach is almost flat now, but they are still there, and I can’t seem to get rid of them. I eat probably around 2000 calories a day. What should i do?

  17. Stephanie

    Hi, Im stephanie im 14 years old im a freshman in high school and i weigh 126 pounds. I want to be on a healthy diet so I can control my weight and keep it around the 120’s. I was wondering is you could help to tell me what kind of foods I should be eating.

  18. Nick

    Everyone has six pack abs, bar none. We just hide them under fat. Get body fat under 10% and the abs will begin to define. Then one will not be frustrated by ab workouts apparently accomplishing nothing. I think thats a big reason why arm workouts are so popular among beginners, they can see the muscle and get immediate satisfaction. Even if you can’t see those abs, work em out! The core strength is critical to posture and stability going forward to avoid injury and keep good forms. One day, those abs will even be visible to admire.

    I picked up “the warrior diet” about a year ago and stuck to it. now it’s second nature and I’m very happy with the yield. Good book.

  19. Bianca

    Hi im 19 years old, 5’4 , 240, i am content with my body and the weight is not all in my stomach but i would like to loose 70 pounds in 7 months, what do you suggest i do,take, and eat?

  20. Ava

    Hi,I’m 13, 155 pounds, 5’3″. I want to lose weight at a steady rate of say maybe 2-3 pounds a week? My BMR is estimated to be 1,500. And if i eat around 900-1000 calories a day? will I be able to do it? All my previous attempts have been unsuccessful. Also, I don’t have access to a gym or any equipment, So my exercise is generally indoors exercise i.e.Cardio, leg raises etc. What do you suggest to do?

  21. shukura

    ok i’m between 5 f and 5.2 and weigh 140 pounds I have three kids under the age of 4 with the youngest being 5 months. I have just recently started decreasing the amount of calories I consume with exercise and have lost roughly 8-9 lbs. my baby is exclusively breastfed, is decreasing my calorie intake by a considerable amount detrimental to my baby’s health

  22. Sara

    Hi, I’m 18 and I weigh 175 pounds. I want to get to about 130-135 pounds. I was just wondering how many calories I would need to take in, and how many to burn off. I have an app on my iPod, but it’s really not helping much. I usually walk a mile on my treadmill a few days. But I’ve been slacking off and I’ve lost motivation :'( I’m really hoping that I will achieve this goal by March.

  23. minnie

    hiya every time i try to lose weight i fail miserable im totally unsure what cals i should be having im 28 5.2 and 154lbs wanting to get to 116lbs but cant afford to be buying any help could you advise me what to do

  24. Ray

    @minnie, I’d watch the documentary called “fat, sick, and nearly dead.” Then do the same. I lost 30lbs over the last 5 weeks – first 10 came off in the first week or so. I’m making vegetable juice and fruit juice lmost daily. Its amazing how you don’t get hungry cause you are not NOT eating you just cut out all the bad stuff. I know you canr maintain this juicing but I wanted to do it just to get to my ideal weight and then slowly start adding in just the good stuff. Haven’t had bread, pasta, sugar, etc. etc. in over a month – although I did have 2 In N out protein style burgers in the last month. I’m reduced red meat to only twice a month. Good luck.

  25. shrilekha mukherjee

    I am 15 years and 70kgs.I want to lose 3kgs per month so that in the next 11 months i can lose at least 20kg my height is 5ft2″.is is possible???and if yeas how??plzz helpp :)

  26. Chris

    I am writing this post in the hope that it will help someone here. I am 46 years old and was 6 feet and 235 lbs on January 7. 4 weeks later I am down to 212 while putting on at least 5 lbs of muscle. How did I do it? Hard work and diet. I am following the Engine 2 diet which is basically a strict vegan diet. If you do this and exercise, you will lose weight! I do not count calories and I do not starve myself. Eat whole foods, nothing processed. Watch Forks over Knives to learn more. Good luck to all.

  27. Heather

    Hello I am 16 turning 17 years old in two months, I am between 5’3″ & 5’4″weigh 180 lbs. I want to lose 50 lbs by September is that possible or too unrealistic? I walk a mile a day & I cut out the junk food/sodas. Is this a good start good or do I need to do other things to help take the fat off?

  28. Henrietta Boone

    The best of the “burn fat exercises” can be found anywhere from your local health club, to the parks around your neighborhood, to the snow-covered hills you may have nearby, to a local pool in summertime. In other words, they’re all around us once you decide which physical activity you prefer more than other.

  29. Deb Stein

    This is good info but I still do not know how many calories I should eat on a daily basis. I am 5’7″ and weigh 280. The last time I did an online BMI test, it told me I’m at 60% (gasp!). Also, I am a diabetic and not sure, but think the insulin shots affect weight loss, I’m told they actually can ‘make’ a person fat. I want to balance my body, however that looks, but loose skin is a major concern, so i do NOT want to lose more than 2lbs per week. As for exercise, it is VERY difficult at this weight, so swimming is an option. How many calories, how much of that (percent) is protein, ‘good’ fats and “good’ carbs? How much swimming and weight training will have to wait I think. Thanks in advance should you respond.

  30. Rachel

    I am 30 years old. I always had a small frame. Now I am 164 lbs. I never lost the weight after having my son 4 years ago! The fat is stubborn and so am I. I got my bmi and it’s 27. That’s bad. I had back surgery in December 2011 and need to get a routine to lose weight and strengthen. Any advise. I am 5’7″ and a big woman. What should I be eating? I gave up soda for lemon water and junk food is replaced by oranges or kiwi or apples. So far not so good. Not losing weight.

  31. aj

    Hi I weigh about 260. I try to eat about up 2 1500 to 1600 a day. Now my question is. Is that good for me im tryna lose more wight I’ve done pretty good so far mostly fat now is on my waist I work out about 2 and a half hour of working out 30 minutes of cardio. 6 days a week an I rest on fridays. Am I doing fine?

  32. Holly Butler

    Hi…What if I don’t know what my maintenance calorie intake is?? I just know that I started calorie counting 17 days ago, and was amazed at how little I can eat and accumulate the calories. I’m averaging about 1300-1500 calories a day, with lots of veggies, I’ve over-eaten three out of the 17 days (around 2200 calories), moderately exercising around 4 days a week. I’m a 54 year old female, and have hormones working against me(!), and I’ve lost 4 lbs in 17 days. I want to lose a total of 30 lbs. Do I need to get stricter and eat less calories? Please advise…

  33. tyra

    Im 194 pounds 5.3ft and female I had a baby 6 months old and would like to be 133 pounds. I am currently on a 1200 calorie diet. I have cut out all the junk and I am eating healthy how long will it take to get to my target weight with moderate excercise.

  34. Kiers

    I’m 15 years old, and recently I stopped feeling hungry and almost stopped eating entirely. I’ve lost about 6 lbs. in five days, and have told friends and teachers about being concerned about this. I drink lots of water and eat vegetables when I’m hungry, but I’m not eating as much as I used to and I’m working out a lot more then I was too. Is this a bad thing, or is it natural? I just got done with a growth spurt, and was just wondering if I should be concerned about this.

  35. Nathalie

    ok how do i start… how do i find out how many calories a day I need to burn 2 lbs a week?

  36. chloe

    hi im 14 years old 5’5 and i weigh 155 i started out at 174 and in about 1 month ive lostalmost 20 pounds but now my body eather is at 177 and it just stays there and when i work out thats when my weight goes down my goal weight is 125 and im stuck my bidy just ont lose anymore weight can you please help me and tell me eactly what i should do i think im gonna drink like a gallon of water tonight to lose some water weight.

  37. Katie

    Hi. I’m Katie. I’m fourteen. I’m 176.5 pounds and 5’3″. Don’t look at me like I’m some obese cow for being this overweight. I have this weird thing inside my body where my back is twisted at a 45* angle in the digestive area, so I don’t digest food right, and the weight just comes on. I’ve eaten I think around 500 calories today. Not on purpose, but just because I wasn’t too hungry.
    I’m starting to really work on getting in fit. This is MY body, MY home, and it is MY responsibility to make it healthy. The problem is my family. The gym is too expensive, we can’t afford it. Everyone here eats like there’s no tomorrow, and only two of the five members of the family are overweight. Everyone else is a twig. So they’re not going to stop eating horribly. Super healthy food is “too expensive” and we don’t have good work out equipment. How do I lose my weight healthily and effectively?

  38. Alexandra

    Hi John!

    I love you’re article. Very informative. Anyway, I started my journey to losing 65lb of baby weight 2 days ago and have been doing really well with tracking my food and fitness on website that I found. I get confused with all the math honestly. I’d love to lose 2lbs per week and am willing to do the work to make it happen. I am 28 yrs old, 5’8 and weigh 211 at the moment. I have an elliptical, treadmill and weight set at home. Could you do my numbers for me and tell me what amount of calories I should be eating per day and how many I should burn per day to lose that 2lbs a week? Thank you so much!

  39. Josh

    Nice article. I just had a question for you about maintaining the 2 pounds per week rule. First I am a 30 year old male who has never worked out in his life. Played sports when I was younger until about 17. After that it was pickup games and some biking to keep in shape. When I was about 24 that all stopped and I got bigger. I was up to 256 in Dec of 2011. Since then I have been on a diet of about 1800 calories per day and I work out every other day. First day I just do cardio and then the next day is lifting on a machine at the apartment complex I live in. I do arms and chest and legs with a 15-20 minute cardio warm-up. I have lost 22 pounds since december. My question is will this keep working? Is there anything you would suggest that could improve this?

  40. Caroline

    Hi im a girl 22 5’5″ and 226 lbs im trying to lose 90 lbs in 10-12 months and if i lose 2 lbs a week that would be about 10 months but what im wondering is how many calories i should be consuming if i burn about 300-400 through running and weight lifting which i do about 4 to 5 times a week. Also if im eatting 6 times a day w high protein how many calories per meal?

  41. Tom S

    Since I am totally new to this blog, want to give everyone something to really think about for themselves or their clients if trainers. If a guy or gal took say 4-5yrs to gain the weight, what makes anyone think it’s now safe to take it off in save 90-120 days or even lose weight super quick.

    You see all that crappy skin hanging down on folks that need surgeries because of rapid weight loss…..that is enough for anyone to slow the hell down and just lose 1-2 pounds a week.

    It will cut down on excess skin, your bodies natural collagen process and reshaping, just like with pregnant women, will adapt properly and folks a good 100+ pounds overweight won’t get all that saggy skin.

    For example, if a guy gained 200 pounds over a 8yr period, then use the principal to take the same amount of time to lose it or never lose more than 100 pounds (96 to be exact). That works out to 2 pounds a week. If he follows that, it will take only 25 months to lose the 200 pounds and his body will adapt naturally, if proper cardio and resistance training accompies a good, health, balanced low-cal, low-fat, low-sodium diet and eating protein with every meal and snack, drinking water before eating any snack or meal, and limiting carbs like bread, rice, potatoes, pasta, etc… in the evenings and have your post workout protein to help repair the body. Much other stuff to do, but that is the down and dirty of what I feel is a HEALTHY WEIGHT LOSS PLAN

    • Tina

      Tom, that is a good response and makes since. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Nice and slow to lose the wight and maybe we could happier people.

  42. Airohng

    hi! I am 15 years old, and a competitive rower. I am 4’11 and 103 pounds. I am not overweight, nor looking to lose weight. I do, however, want to get rid of the remaining fat i do have in my abdomen, legs, etc., with lean muscle. I want to get my bfp (body fat percentage) to 15-20%. Currently, it’s at 24%. I work out everyday, and eat correctly. Should i follow the article above?

  43. Kesley

    Hi! I want to lose 3 lbs a week. I’m 13 5.1and I know I need it. How many more calories should I burn than what I eat?

  44. Tom S

    You kids that are under age, meaning under 18, you need to not come to a health and fitness blog for nutritional advice, you need to go to your family doctor, and M.D., who can look at your entire health and then refer you to a Certified Nutritionist or Registered Dietician. It’s too risky for youth to get on blogs and take nutritional advice, especially without parental supervision.

    First see your doctor before you try and get envolved in any diet plan or fitness plan.

  45. Bobbi Michelle

    Hi. I am 17, 230 pounds and hopeless. How can i take off some pounds?

  46. Ernie Olvera

    Hi John, I’m Ernie Olvera. I Have Been Searching For The Best Way To Lose The Weight And Fat I Have, But Not Making It Confusing Just Keeping It Nice Amd Simple. Well I Came To See If You Could Give Me A Hand. You See I Weigh 160 Pounds and I’m Five Feet Seven Inches Tall. I Know You Might Think That Im Good The Way I’am, I Do To Except One For One Reason. That Reason Is Because I See That My Body Is Not Balanced Completely. As In Like I Look Skinny From The Waist Up, But From The Waist Down I Don’t. Thats What People Don’t Understand Especially My Friends And Familiy. I Look So Uneven That I Just Get So Frustrated Sometimes Because I Cant Wear Something That Fits Me Good. I Used To Be A 30-3 Last Summer, And For School Clothes I Bought Alot Of Jeans And By December Those Jeans Didnt Fit Me Nomore. They Were So Tight, When My Shirts Fit Normal. I See That I Have Big/ Thick Thighs And A Big Butt. Thats Why I Cant Wear Dress Pants Or Jeans Because My Butt And Thighs Stand Out Alot. If You See Me You Might Say That Im Just Overexagerating And Im Really Not. Under Clothing I Look Alot Different. Three Months Ago My Friend Gave Me My Xmas Present And She Got Me A Size Small, I Was Like Thanks But I Knew I Couldnt Wear It Cuz Yu Can See Love Handles. But Another Friend Was Like Yea You Can Your Skinny And Got Love Handles. So I Was Like Watch Ama Show You How I Would Look In It And How I Look When I Wear Jeans And That Small Shirt, And After Seeing Me She Was Surprised Of How I Looked. She Laughed A Little Because Of How I Looked. Skinny From The Top And Fat From The Bottom. After That She Was Like Yea I See What You Mean Now. So Hopefully I Gave You A Clear Image About What Im Talking About. Please Help Me If You Can. I Will Apreciate It So Much. Hopefully You Can Be The Person I Can Look Up Too For My Fitness Life. Thank You So Much. I Know Its Long But I Tried To Make It As Clear And As Easy Undetstanding As Possible.

  47. Megan

    Excellent. It is refreshing to read sound information that is simply put.



  49. Von Marie

    Good Afternoon,
    My name is Von and I am a stay at home mom. I am 26 years old, 5ft 2 and a half and weight about 209. I just had my baby not too long ago and it’s been very hard loosing the pregnancy weight. I have been doing some exercising at home, like Zumba for XBOX, Dance Central, and things like that. I am not able to get to a gym at the moment. I was wondering, what is a healthy weight for my height and age and is there anything MORE that I can do to get to that weight by my wedding in about a year and 1 month away?

    Thank you so much for your help!

    — Von

    • **Angie**

       Hi, im Angie, am 23 years old and have a one year old, i am getting married as well if God permits September 1st of next. year, and am trying to lose at less 60 pounds by then, so my advise to you is recommending what i started to do…… i downloaded this app on my I-Pad its called  MY FITNESS PAL it asked me to enter my high how active i am during the day, my weight, and my goal weight. based on tat info the fitness app put me on a 1200 calorie diet. i enter everything i eat n drink on there and it automatically calculated my carbs, proteins, sugar, fat, and sodium daily. so i know how many calories i consume. i stay on the 1200 target daily, and run on my treadmill for about 45 minutes. this app sets up a goal calories for u to lose 2 pounds a week and if i keep this up, i should meat my 160 lbs ideal weight by February, meaning i still have 6 months till my wedding to lose more weight or at less catch up if i have not met my goal by then. You are a stay at home mom, as of for me, i have an office job meaning i dont have much activity going on   in my daily life, but am confident that if i keep up with exercising and maintaining the 1200 calorie diet, i will achieve my ideal weight  by my wedding date =).   I hope this was helpful and wish you da best of luck…. 

  50. sarah

    So I’m Sarah, 16 years old, 5’3″, and 125 lbs. I’m not too overweight, I play soccer and am super active. I eat pretty healthily for a teenager (salads and veggies and fruits make up most of my diet). I just started calorie counting because I do need to lose a few for bikkini season, and realized that I only intake about 1500ish a day. Then I got confused because I know that I should be eating like 2000 a day right? Plus soccerpractices with conditioning and stuff shouldn’t I be eating more? But I’m not losing weight so if I want a flat stomach should I eat less? Just don’t want to jeapordize my health or anything. Thanks and I hope everyone on here reaches their goals!

    • Bryan


      You do not necessarily need to be consuming 2000 calories, that is merely the average caloric needs for an adult male. Based upon your height, weight, and age a 1500-1600 calorie diet is adequate.Your physical activities also call for additional calories, therefore based upon your stature and activity level; 1700 calories is most likely a reasonable diet. I would recommend trying different workouts along with soccer practice. Although soccer is a great way to burn calories, you are not necessarily burning a lot of fat during this aerobic long duration style workout. Try some quick burning exercises mixed with the cardio. You may want to decrease your caloric intake to around 1300 kcal and eat more fruits and vegetables along with lean protein. Carbs are not the enemy, but they can slow the rate at which you burn fat. I hope this answered a few of your questions and good luck with getting in shape.

      Bryan -RD

  51. Mia

    Hi, I’m Mia. I’m 15 years old, 5’4″ and weigh about 120lbs. I would like to lose 10lbs of fat in my lower stomach, love handles, and inner thighs. My plan is to eat about 1200 calories per day, which consist if mainly protein, fruits, and veggies, and running 30-45 minutes and doing 30 minutes of strength training. Will this plan get me to 10 lbs in 5 weeks (2 lbs per week)? Also, is the amount of calories I’m consuming too much or too little? Will this workout work for me? I tend to walk around for most of my day and start Field Hockey in late August if that helps. Advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks.

  52. Abby

    Hi, I’m 15, 5’8 and weigh about 225 pounds. I’m pretty active actually. I don’t understand why I weigh so much and can’t lose weight. I am going to try to change my diet to mostly fruits and veggies only and about 1200 calories a day. Would this be healthy? Thank you.

    • Tom S

      Rather than going into a blog asking this question, you need to get to your Primary Care Physician as soon as you can. This way you can get a referral to a Registered Dietician. At your age, there is no way you can be “pretty active” and weight that much. Also, no girl or woman should eat less than 1250 calories a day and 1500 for guys.

      If you want to lose weight, do it the right way, which is a three step process where it’s all working together:

      1) Proper low-fat balanced diet of Carbs, Proteins, and Fats, as well as, a good multivitamin, at least 64-96oz water daily, and get plenty of sleep, for your age, at least 8hrs a day.

      2) Resistance Training or Weight Training 2-3 times a week. A good beginning start is to make sure you do a good dynamic mobility warm-up, train at least 20-30 minutes with a good 12-15reps, 3 sets, of at least 3-4 bodyparts (Example: Chest/Shoulders on Mondays, Back/Arms on Wed, and Legs on Fridays, and cool-down with proper static stretches or foam rolling aka myofascial release therapy to help from getting trigger points and to keep your muscle loose or pliable and you bounce back from your workouts.

      3) Cardiovascular Exercise – This can be done at a minimum 3 times a week, mixing up sprint days, speed days of 1-2 miles for time, and long run days of at least 3 miles or more or 30 minutes or longer. Like all running, if you haven’t been running regularly, start SLOW. First week, do a combination of walk and run for 1-mile to give yourself a baseline or assessment. From there, you can work on just sprints, like 40yd sprints 5-10 times on one day and then other days, do walk/runs of 1 mile only to start, then every week, add 10 percent. Make sure your legs, especially hamstrings, calves, quadriceps (thighs), and groin muscles are really warmed up. Once you are able to mix up your week with sprint days, speed days of 1-2miles, and long run days of 30min or more or 3 miles or more, you will get a nice mix of anaerobic and aerobic exercise needed to boost your metabolism, build up your cardiovascular endurance and stamina, and you will start to see weight loss and bodyfat loss if you are doing #1 and #2 areas religiously and properly.

      In the end, always seek counsel from a medical professional first and then get referred to a Certified Trainer, Registered Dietician, and other well qualified people that can help you on your journey of weight and bodyfat loss to ultimately help you get to a healthy weight and make you feel better about yourself. Always have balance in your life, stay active, and keep the faith, family, and friends as top priorities. You will then see all areas of your life improve….Good luck.

  53. Lily

    Hi, I’m 57 and only 5 feet tall. Somehow I managed to let myself get up to 211 lbs before I decided I needed to stop that. I saw my doctor for a checkup, then put myself on a self-imposed diet and exercise program in January of 2012. My son helped by providing me with some exercises using small hand held weights. My diet is simple and easy enough to follow forever; smaller portions, no junk food, and I try not to eat too many empty calories. I snack on raisins, carrot sticks, apple slices, etc, instead of potato chips and oreos. Meals are a small (usually meatless) entree and a fruit and vegetable. I drink skim milk with dinner. Anyway, things are working great and I’m losing at least 1 lb per week and feeling great. The problem is that I also have Crohn’s disease and when it flares up I can’t have raw fruits or veggies, or whole grains. There goes my whole menu, or a good portion of it! I don’t care for meat much, except an occasional hamburger. I’m an incredibly picky eater and I don’t suppose that’s going to change now. What can I eat when the Crohn’s flares up and I still want to keep losing weight?

  54. Mia

    Hi, I’m 27 and 5″10 currently weighing 180lbs. I have two small children which I had close together and so put on quite a bit of extra weight from pregnancies…I am hoping to get back down to about 135 pounds so I need to lose 45 pounds…I am currently breastfeeding my 10 month old baby girl (although she is also on solids so not exclusively breastfeeding) and wondering how I can maximize my weight loss (in a healthy way of course) while breastfeeding? I have been stuck at 180lbs for months now and even when I manage to get down to about 175 I bounce right back up to 180 (very frustrating! and makes me lose my motivation when I feel so stuck) I haven’t actually started counting calories, but I know that I am eating probably more than I should as I feel like my hunger cravings hit and I want something high in sugar (chocolate etc…) also I eat large portions at meal times as I get so hungry!! I am moderately active although I don’t really exercise (mostly just outside with my kids) so how many calories should I actually be eating in order to lose the most weight healthily? I can’t seem to find much info on weight loss while breasfeeding…also (maybe a strange question, but) is there any way to target specific fat in areas of: love-handles, breasts, and buttocks? thanks for your help!!

  55. jane

    i am 16 155lb 5’9 . i want to lose 20lbs. as soon as possible. what is aquick way to lose the weight. how many calories a day should i eat if i workout everyday. how many calories a day should i burn and how quickly can i lose the weight.

  56. Rebecca

    Hi, I’m Rebecca and I’m 24 yrs old . I weight 289lbs and my height is 5’3. Don’t know where to start. Never took my weight so seriously until now.When i went to go ride a roller coaster and didn’t fit… that was a wake up call. I get upset easily when I don’t eat or when I wake up I have to eat something so I could feel satisfied. How many calories should I be eating daily and what type of foods ?

    • Rachael

      Rebecca…I am 27 and the same height as you are. I used to weigh over 240 lbs and just recently made it to my first weight goal of 200 lbs. I want to get down to at least 150. I did exercise before I lost the weight but I wasn’t eating right. I have since been seeing a nutritionist and he put me on strict menu plan…no sugar, no gluten (meaning no breads, pastas etc.) Basically I can’t eat anything man-made. I can only eat things that are grown such as nuts (unsalted), fruits, veggies and also a lot of meats such as chicken, steak, fish etc…also I drink 80 oz of cold water a day. It helps to feel fuller especially when drinking a large glass of water with a meal. I would recommend going to see a nutritionist and getting put on a menu plan and then starting some sort of exercise…even if it’s just walking, it’s still good for you.

  57. Skye

    My name is Skye, and ever sense I hit Junior High School, I’ve been gaining more and more weight. Now, in my sophomore year, as a 16 year old, I weigh 180lbs and I’m only 5’3.
    I’m determined, but it seems every time I go on a diet plan to change my physical appearance and myself in general, someone is there to sabotage it. Well, I’m done with me telling myself “I’ll just start up tomorrow” and it just continues.
    In all honesty though, I wouldn’t know where to start with losing weight. All I know is that 3500 calories=1lbs of weight. I would like to know a healthy weigh to lose 50lbs in the least (But healthy) amount of time possible.
    I just started School, too, so if I could reach my goal by June or before, that would be great…
    I just don’t really know what to do, I don’t drive yet and I was recently fired from my Job.
    I would like to know how many calories I should cut, how many I should burn, and how many I should consume to lose weight on Diet alone, and then whatever I can burn off by exercising.

  58. Katherine

    I am 29 years old, I am 5’7″ and weigh 180. I’ve lost 100 lbs in the last six months, and would like to loose 70 more lbs. I had been swimming laps for 2 hours a day and alternating between just water and up to 300calories a day. I just started training to run a 5k, so I am now doing 60min. Cardio and 30min weight training each day. I am consuming between 400-500calories daily. How many calories minimum do I need to consume daily to prevent my body from shutting down (passing out, shaking, dizziness, nausea. Etc.) thanks.

    P.s. I am working with a therapist and psychatrist.

  59. sam

    im 15 and i weigh about 140 lbs and im 5’5″ whats the most weight i can lose with running an hour or 2 everyday for a week without hurting my health?

  60. Lyn Jones


    I just entered a 6 week fat loss competition with some people in my boot-camp class. I really want to win, but more than anything, I want to show myself that I can commit to my weight loss and I do not have to fall victim to constantly overeating. I am 5’9 and weigh 194.9 lbs. I’ve always struggled with my weight, but this time, I just want to succeed. Can you help me? Do you have any recommendations on how to lose fat regarding my diet as I am working out about 1-2 hours per day.

    Thanks you so much in advance!!!


  61. mario

    my name is mario im 23 im 5’5 and 180lbs i dont look fat but i look lean and bulky i have a belly its not real big but somewhat medium i been trying hard to find the right diet to follow i been going to the gym but i still see no results what should i eat and what excercise should i consider that might help i have a 2 year old daughter and i dont want to be like most obese fathers who can not keep up with thier chiildren when they want to play …….

    • Ella

      You should consult your doctor, don’t be embarrassed, he/she will be happy to help you and so will your parents. Don’t hide from the rest of the world, be open about it.
      You should start walking at least 20 minutes a day, and then do some simple exercises like lifting weights, dancing and sit-ups.
      As for your diet, cut all carbs except at dinner
      Eat a large breakfast, you lunch should be small and mostly vegetables with lean protein (like chicken or fish)
      Eat dinner before 6 o’clock, or else your body can’t burn the calories before you sleep
      Drink 8-10 glasses ofwater per day and nothing else; sodas and other sugary drinks often have up too 800 calories in them.

  62. Ella

    I’m 14 (freshman) , I weigh 154 pounds, I am 5’8”. I would really like to weigh 135lbs by the end of 2013. I’m working out (easy workout) five days a week and I’m watching what I’m eating. I mainly need to cut fat in my lower stomach, hips, butt, thighs, calves and underarms. Workout tips? Diet tips? Anyone?

  63. Roddy

    These are the only tips I feel qualified to give based on personal experience of being obese and needing a place to start:

    -do NOT eat too few calories. Your body needs enough calories a day to simply continue functioning adequately. 1200 for women, and 1500 for men is the threshold you should not pass for fear of starvation and serious illness. Without being under doctor supervision, you really shouldn’t go under 1500 calories a day for women/1800 for men.
    -for the first week or so of dieting right down everything you’ve eaten; where can you cut out the junk? (suger, white grains (substitute w/whole grain rice or bread), diet soda=terrible)
    -lift some weights. On a calorie deficit you will also be losing valuable muscle. Lift weights to try and keep balanced. Once you’ve arrived at your weight goal, then you can start eating healthy food above maintenance in order to gain muscle – and NO, lifting weights doesn’t make you ‘bulky’ ladies, that’s the fat around your muscles making you bulky. Get rid of the fat and then you may catch a glimpse of your abs.
    -walk or swim. On top of being a great calorie burner, you’re doing your heart a serious favor. Plus, the effort and time you put into exercising may help give you the strength to not reach for that donut later that day.
    -drink water or tea. Please don’t drink diet soda. The effort is appreciated but the sweet taste isn’t worth putting the additives in diet soda into your body. Drink a cup of water before meals to help you feel fuller without the extra calories of food. Water = very important.
    -deal with hunger urges by chewing gum, drinking water, listening to music, keeping your hands busy. Anything to distract your brain. The urge WILL pass within a few minutes. Try to find out what triggered your urge for unhealthy food and avoid it in the future.
    -go learn about weightloss, don’t just take my word for it: try library books or websites on weightloss and healthy eating to become informed.
    -just say NO. Say no to unhealthy foods when someone tries to drag you down with a donut, and most importantly say NO to yourself. “No, I don’t need that soda – I have my bottle of water.” You have to train your brain and build up your willpower. Just try it and see that it is very possible with practice.
    -eat BREAKFAST!!!!!!!!!!!! Try to eat very soon after waking in the morning to kickstart your metabolism and your weightloss. Try to eat small meals or snacks every 2-3 hours after that to keep your metabolism rolling and to keep burning calories (which means energy not fat) by using that energy to digest your food. Yes, you can lose calories just by eating more frequently. It’s science, not magic.
    -eat lots of fruit in the morning. Lots of veggies at night. Eat protein and carbs throughout your day. (Tip: Eat protein BEFORE a workout.)

    This is what worked for me and it may work for you as well but we’re very different so get informed. Don’t be scared to speak to your doctor. Good luck, and start TODAY, right now. Now is all you’re promised.

  64. Roddy

    Oops, forgot to mention: Start slow.

    Dropping unhealthy eating habits cold turkey may work for you, but it may not. Start with small victories. Give up on donuts for example, and just eat one once a week or so. It’s okay to have a cheat meal every once in a while as long as you get back with the program. Don’t give up just because of a slip up. Just think: would you give up walking if you tripped or talking if you stuttered over a word? One cheat meal does not cancel out many days of healthy eating. Don’t let negativity go to your head.

    Start working out slowly as well. If you’re new to running or walking, give your knees time to adjust. When I first started I overdid it and was hobbled for a week.

    When you begin weight lifting don’t go for the maximum weight you can lift. You’ll feel terrible and sore afterward and this bad experience may make you give up. Don’t. Start out with 5 pounds or so for the first few weeks. Increase as your body adjusts, not when your brain decides to go for something too intense.

    NEVER workout a muscle that’s still sore from the last workout. Soreness after working out is caused by Muscle Trauma: your muscle fibers are teared and need the time to regrow, bigger and stronger. Muscle growth occurs when you’re resting them! So always give yourself a day of rest before working the same muscle. If you want to workout everyday just workout different muscles: Monday: Quads/Chest/Triceps, Tues: Hips/Back/Shoulders, Wed: Hamstrings/Core(Lower Back,Abs, Obliques)/Biceps, and so on to give your muscles the chance to grow.

    Don’t think that just because you can’t get to a gym that you’re excused from exercising. I’ve never been to one myself. Get out and walk. Not prepared to? Put on some music and dance or shadowbox. Don’t have weights to lift? Pushups, squats, calf raises, tricep dips, lunges, burpees…look up the proper form and get started because these exercises only require one thing, you.

    Try exercising for five minutes right now. Just the best you can do. Try it the next day, and the next. It takes almost a month to make a habit stick and I’d say exercising is a habit worth forming.

  65. Mj

    Hi please advise me on the following

    I’m a 5’5-5’4 male, 23 years of age, I am crrently cutting some fat.

    I believe my maintenance diet is @2250KCal a day…Should my diet be 1800Kcal a day (macro setup Carbs: 203g Protein: 135g and fats: 50g)??

  66. Demi

    So I’m 19, 5’8″ and I weigh 235 pounds. I’ve been overweight since I was a kid, and I just started a diet a few days ago. My goal is to reach around 160 pounds, in how ever many months it takes to get there. I’ve been keeping a food journal and have been trying to only eat around 1,300 cal a day. So far I have been able to keep to it. I eat a lot of vegetables, salad, smoothies in the morning and am taking vitamin supplements to make sure I get all that I need. I’ve also been working out and hour a day doing cardio exercises, among other things. I can’t run very well because I have weak lungs and find it hard to breathe while running. Is this healthy? Or should I be ingesting more calories a day? And what kind of workouts can I do to get the most calorie burn? I’m really interested in learning how to take better care of my health and my body.

  67. Jacqueline

    Hi I am 18 years old, 5’2″ and 190 pounds. I am trying to lose 2 pounds a week with an intake of 1200 calories but I am not sure how many calories I should be burning a day? How many calories would you suggest burning for my accomplishment?

  68. Tom S

    OK folks, my comment here is not to knock John for his post of Mr. Venuto’s views on losing weight, but the bottom line with any weight loss or creating a caloric deficit in ones diet, it should be done with the following steps:

    1. Never, ever follow the advice of folks that don’t have a background academically or scientifically in the nutritional sciences. What I mean is, EXPERTS is nutrition are way different than EXPERTS if FITNESS or TRAINING.

    So, in other words, beware who you seek advice on the internet or elsewhere unless they have the initials MD after their name or they have at least a Masters Degree in Nutrition, and/or a registered dietician or certified nutrtionist in your state.

    2. NEVER follow a diet unless it’s approved by your family physician or primary care provider. This can be in conjunction with your trainer, who should work with your doctor, not just come up with some meal plan or diet for you to follow without medical advice or tracking if possible.

    3. At the end of the day, it’s your body and BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY is a great rule to live life by, especially when trying to lose weight.

    In other words, if it takes our ass 2 or 3 years to lose the weight, then great. If it took you that long to put the weight on, then it should take you that long to lose it. Don’t starve, don’t take less than 1200 calories for a woman or 1500 for a man daily, if you do, you will jeopardize your health if done long term. I am not talking about intermittent fasting or “IF”, which has some good points, if done under doctor supervision.

    In the end, SLOW THE HELL DOWN with trying to lose weight fast, follow the 1-2 pounds a week, which is a safe amount of weight loss. I disagree with Mr. Venuto on losing anymore than 2 pounds a week, no matter how much you weigh. It is unsafe because your body is not use to that over the years of eating a certain way, so you have to do it slow, so as not to make the body think it’s starving or to help make it easier for the body to adjust to the caloric deficit you undertake when dieting.

    Even a couple pounds a month over say 12-24 months is the best way, it doesn’t cause all the loose skin or massive stretch marks, which is very common with the Biggest Loser show and Extreme Weight Loss show. SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE folks (This is where I totally agree with Mr. Venuto and his tortoise -vs- hare analogy above), especially when trying to lose weight and create a new lifestyle for yourself and your families.

    Good luck and keep being the best version of yourself possible…HOOAH!!!

  69. Rachel

    My name is Rachel…im a mother of 3… 5 yrs, 19 months and 8 months. …im 26 years old, 5’9 and currently 278 lbs….my high was 285…just started exercise and weight lose diets/ tips 2 weeks ago…I have had 2 back surgeries and have 3 more bad dics…I cant lift over 25 lbs….I know the weight I want to be at and maintain….just wanting tips/ ideas on how to lose rather quickly….if someone could give me ideas…like how many calories to eat, and howmany to burn for it to be effective. …

  70. joseph

    my name is joseph i was wondering im 6’11 and 18 years old. and im 291 what would be the best way for me to lose the pounds?

  71. Annette

    Hi I’m 41 yrs old woman who put on about 30 pounds in a year. I started a new medicine that had me craving sweets and I didnt heed the warning from my doctor about that. Well, I had a Total Knee Replacement about 2 years ago and my right leg only bends enough to “just” walk up&down stairs. Can I get enough of a work out on something like The Gazelle, because I need a very low impact work out on the knees? Im very depressed but want to work this weight off now. If you know of how I can do that I would truly be greatful for your advise.

  72. teresa

    I’m. Age 40 female and weigh 140 lb, I do an insanity class. 2 spin classes and run approx an hour. Which is 6.5 miles I want to drop 10 to 14 lb but doing diets plans or 1000 cal a day diets I lose a few pound for 2 weeks then it stops what am I doing wrong, I don’t think I can exercise more or eat less

  73. Hailey

    My name is Hailey I’m 14 and I’m about 134 pounds people say that I’m regular size but I want to lose that extra fat id really like to feel proud of my body I watch how much I eat and I’ve been exercising thirty minutes every five days a week lately I have dance two which I think is a good cardio exercise but I just started this any tips?

  74. Carmen

    Dear John..I need help i’m a 49 year old woman that is 5’1. I weigh about 140-145.I eat my protiens with all vegetables and i’ve cut my white sugar, white bread, all sorts of matter of fact they all taste funny when i eat them. Anyhow I’m not losing any lbs i feel heavier. I drink water and drink green tea every once in a while i will drink a natural drink like a smoothie or some other natural drink. What do you think my problem could be? oh i do walk 2xs to 3xs a week. I don’t know what else to do.

  75. mick

    i m 20 year and 5.10 and weight 209 pounds want to loose weight am vegetarian would u suggest me how i can loose wight?

  76. Patricia

    My name is Patricia am 5’7 and weigh 304lbs. I just bought a treadmill but because of my weight I can’t walk on it for more that 30 minutes at a time. I try to burn 260 calories in the morning and another 100-120 calories in the evening before eating my dinner…I don’t eat more than 1200-1260 calories a day, no juice, coffee, diet soda or artificial sweeteners and I drink as much water as I can, about 8 cups. I want to lose about 3 lbs a week. My question is can I lose the weight exercising as am doing?

  77. Nora

    I’m 5’2 and I weigh 141. I eat about 1200 calories a work out for about 30 minutes 6 days a week. Would I be losing 2 pounds this way? And what would be my calorie deficit?

  78. littleangel

    Hi john

    I am 37 yrs old weight is 155 lbs and ht 5 feet 2 inches. I have condition called insulin resistance due to PCOD. Last six months I hardly managed to lose my weight up to 10 lbs in six months by following strict diet and exercise. I workout for 2 hrs daily, 30 mins aerobics,1 hr floor exercises,30 mins weight training. But after going on a holiday for 8 days I regained all the weight back and some more. I again followed the same diet and exercise regime from last two months I have only lost 2 lbs. My diet is around 1000 cal max. What am I doing wrong?

  79. Christine

    I am 23 years old, 5 ft 5, and 172 lbs. I have recently started jogging, Pilates, and yoga as well as some minor weight lifting and squats. I would love to lose 2 pounds per week, but I’m also a student and surrounded by a lot of temptation and “quick” foods. I need to know approximately how many calories I should be consuming to lose 1 lb or 2 lbs per week. I am absolutely trash at math though. I am currently consuming approximately 1400 calories per day (9800 per week) and burning 2,000 with cardio/strength workout. I walk 5 minutes back and forth to school sometimes twice a day but otherwise live a fairly sedentary lifestyle.

    If you could help me out with a game plan is really appreciate it!!

    • Sayantan

      There are many ‘calorie calculators’ available throughout the internet though i would recommend you to use the one from It will give you your exact caloric needs. And as far as i think it is not possible to loose 2000 calories unless you are doing cardio for a full hour and then intense weight training for the next hour,even then its very difficult. As for food advice i would recommend to go with complex carbs such as oats,wheat bran, whole wheat bread etc. and stay away from white rice,white bread etc. And if you want to loose weight you must control your environment,no more quick foods,u can prep your foods during the weekend and that can last you your whole week. Remember it always the ratio of Protein:fats:carbs in the food you take e.g. you maybe eating a burger which has 500 calories or 150g oatmeal which has around 500 calories but you will loose weight with oatmeal simply owing to the fact that it has a better P:F:C ratio whereas a burger is basically full of fatty and greasy substances and unhealthy carbs. Hope this helps.

  80. Zach

    I am 15 and I was always told that I would be a ‘big kid’ I recently started going to after school weight training for my school. Before doing that, I weighed around 215-220lbs. I weighed myself the other day, I weigh almost 230?!?! I do eat unhealthy at times, but not every day. Would this be recommended? I don’t want to grow up being a overweight reject.

    • Sayantan

      Unhealthy eating does not go hand in hand with fitness. If you really want to look good and feel good you need to eat healthy. Maybe once a month you can eat what you want but for the other days you need to eat good. I would recommend to go to and see and read what you find useful there,,it has helped me a lot and am sure will help you too. Start eating healthy and you will see the difference within 2-3 months. Hope that helps.

  81. Kassie

    Hi I’m 20 years old 5ft 6 inches and I’m weighing in at 294 pounds. Is there any advice that you can give me so I can live longer for my 4 month old daughter? I don’t indulge on anything and I eat normal meals. Please anything will help.

    • Adam

      You must not eat normal meals and indulge on things if you are 5’6 and 300 pounds. Just eat less but a safe amount of calories. Use my fitness pal and track everything you eat. Eat lots of protein and your good

  82. Francesca Armitage


    So I recently started a diet and exercise regime to loose some weight I had gained over the last two years. I have only been on it for 2 weeks, but I only weighed myself for the first time in a while about 3 days ago on Tuesday. I am 5ft 2 and weighed 9st 11.8 and my BMI was 25, its three days later and I weigh 9st 9.2. That’s a difference of 2.6 lbs. I was told I should eat no more than 1250 calories per day to lose the weight, but I honestly struggle to eat that much. I only really eat about 900 calories a day, that’s including breakfast that I never ate before, my diet is healthy and packed with a lot of veg and protein simply cause I am vegetarian. I just cut down on the ammount of bread, cheese and snacks like crisps. I don’t feel tired or hungry and my exercise is moderate (I walk everywhere and I do a 20 min workout a day cause I work.). So it seems that within a week I will potentially be loosing more than 2 lbs, my question is am I doing this dangerously? Cause I feel a lot healthier than I have in years.

  83. Lisa Marie

    Hi I’m 41 (almost 42) 5’4″ and weigh 171lbs. At my height and current weight I just feel FAT. I started a healthier eating and exercise lifestyle in order to try and lose about 40lbs. I was 181 when I started on Jan 1/2017. I stated doing jillian michael’s 30 day shred level 1 and reduced my calorie intake to 1200/day using an app on my phone to track all food and drink intake. I also take a high end protein shake supplement to ensure I’m getting extra nutrients. I introduced some stationary bike time (10 min/day). So far measuring and tracking 15 locations (2 arms, thigh,calves,chest etc) I have lost a total of 27.5 inches. So a good share of visceral fat. But the scale is barely moving. Anyone have any advice on losing the excess weight? My goal weight would be ideal I think at 135.
    Thanks in advance.

  84. Bill

    I read Tom’s book. I recently applied what he taught, but I’m concerned I may have done something wrong. I really only wanted to lose 2lbs a week, but I ended up losing 28 lbs in 29 days. I work out 6 days a week with a combination of HIIT (at least 3 days) and strength training. I used an online calculator to figure out my TDEE. I cut my calories 1000 below TDEE so I would be in a 7500 calorie deficit every week. I drink a gallon of water a day. I’m 6’4, 36 years old. I started with a lean body mass of 192 lbs and I now have a lean body mass of 189 lbs. My actual weight went from 315 to 287 in 29 days. I am concerned that I am not eating enough. I want to lean out more than I want to lose actual weight. I don’t want to go backwards with muscle mass. Am I doing something wrong?

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