Our menus are easy to follow and were created by the nutrition staff at EatingWell with a variety of delicious and healthy recipes, lots of whole grains to keep you satisfied, and healthy amounts of fresh fruit and low-fat dairy products to ensure you meet basic requirements for calcium, protein and other essential nutrients during the diet. Our menus are available in three calorie levels: 1,200, 1,500 and 1,800. They are completed with healthy snacks that keep your diet interesting and help you feel satisfied.
You're likely to lose weight with any of these plans because losing weight requires eating fewer calories than you do, and most adults consume more than 1800 calories a day.
So how do I choose which level is best for you?
One option is to take a simple approach: if you're a relatively small person or don't have much weight to lose, you should set a low calorie goal. (The lower you go, the faster you'll lose, but there's no point in setting unrealistic expectations if you can't meet them.) If you're a tall person or someone who carries a few extra pounds, you're likely to do quite well with the high-calorie plan. If you're not sure, start in the middle with 1500 calories and adjust it according to your level of physical satisfaction and how quickly you lose weight. If you want to calculate your goal more precisely, use the following equation: Multiply your weight (in pounds) by 12 and subtract 1,000. Next, select the calorie content closest to your answer. This will help you lose about two pounds a week. (Note: If you're calculating a number lower than 1200 calories, follow the 1200 calorie plan. When you eat less, it's hard to meet your daily nutritional needs.)
For questions about calculating daily calories, this formula is used in many clinical trials to lose weight, and it's true, it assumes that the person using the equation is sedentary. If you are an active person and you find that your result (for example, 1200 calories) is too low, increase it gradually until you get a result that seems satisfactory to you. It's NOT about starving to death. Most people will lose weight on a 1,500-calorie diet, some with an even higher calorie content. The best way to know if you're at the right level is how satisfied you feel (you shouldn't be hungry all day long!) and if you're losing weight. If you lose weight at 1800 a day and feel good, keep it up. The calculation is just a recommended starting point.