ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Sustainable Weight Loss for Smart People

Updated on July 18, 2010

Most people won't want to hear this:

To lose weight you need to eat less calories than you burn.

To maintain your target weight the two need to balance.

There are no quick fixes. All you need are determination and a bit of intelligence - here's how to get a healthier, happier you:

Firstly, how many calories should you be eating?

If there's "1 Rule To" losing weight it's this: Work out how much you should be eating, and stick to it.

Are you sticking to the 2000 (for women) or 2500 (for men) calorie guidelines on food packets, but not losing weight?

What you should be eating can be calculated by this very simple formula to find your Base Metabolic Rate:

British / American BMR formula:

  • Women: 655 + ( 4.35 x weight in lb ) + ( 4.7 x height in inches ) - ( 4.7 x age )
  • Men: 66 + ( 6.23 x weight in lb ) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) - ( 6.8 x age )

Metric BMR formula:

  • Women:655 + ( 9.6 x weight in kg ) + ( 1.8 x height in cm ) - ( 4.7 x age )
  • Men: 66 + ( 13.7 x weight in kg ) + ( 5 x height in cm ) - ( 6.8 x age )

Note that "weight" is your target weight, not your actual weight. This formula will tell you how many calories you need daily to maintain that weight, assuming you do no exercise at all.

For example, a 30-year-old woman, 5 foot 6 inches (or 66 inches) tall, who wants to maintain a target weight of 10 stone (or 140 pounds) works hers out like this:

655 + (4.35 x 140) + (4.7 x 66) - (4.7 x 30)

= 655 + 609 + 310 - 141

= 1433 kcal a day.

Everybody does some exercise every day, even if it's only climbing a flight of stairs, running for a bus, or doing the shopping. You can add 20% to your total to account for this, so x by 1.2:

1433 x 1.2 = 1719.6

To maintain a weight of 140 pounds, she'll need 1700 calories a day - not the 2000 recommended by the food manufacturers!

Don't go crazy!

The main problem people have with "dieting" is that they crash, lose loads of weight, then go back to eating what did before - and end up putting weight back on. This is what diet people rely on - they don't gain anything if you end up maintaining your target weight, they want you to keep coming back to their diet plan!

  • Don't try to lose too much, too fast - it's just as unhealthy for your body as being overweight to start with!
  • Focus on changing your lifestyle to maintain your calculated calories - do you want sustained weight loss or crazy yo-yo crash dieting?
  • Don't worry about the odd "day off" - have a nice meal with a loved one without worrying, once in a while. It's the overall improvement in your health you're looking at, not the week-by-week weight loss.

How many calories should you eat to lose weight?

3500 calories equates to a pound of fat, stored or burned, for most people. If you're over by 100 calories a day, you'll put on a pound every month or so - this is why it's important to go by your BMR, not the 2000 / 2500 on the food packaging!

If you can get your daily intake under by 500 calories a day, that's a pound lost every week.

Even if you can only get it under by 100 calories a day, that's just under a pound lost every month!

Don't forget though, the BMR formula was worked out for your target weight.  If you can maintain your BMR intake then you'll naturally gravitate toward your target weight; the calories you're eating won't be enough to maintain your current weight, so eventually you will reach your target!

The most important thing is to realise that you need to make a long-term commitment to being healthier, not a short term "target" for weight loss. If you set your target as the number of calories you calculated at the start, and stick to it, you'll get there in the end - and you won't have any problems maintaining your target weight because you just have to carry on doing what you've been doing!

What about exercise?

Exercise is good for you. There's no disputing that - it burns excess calories, tones muscles, makes your heart healthier and makes you happier by releasing endorphins. If you're feeling tired and miserable, the best thing for you is probably to get exercising - but how?

  • Again, concentrate on a sustainable lifestyle change, don't go crazy! Small steps will still get you there in the end.
  • Go exercising with friends - have fun together and keep each other motivated.
  • Do something you're interested in: dance, martial arts, football, golf, trampolining ... sex? It doesn't have to be the gym!
  • Whatever you burn from exercising, you can knock off your target for the day.

Whatever you do - stick at it, and GOOD LUCK!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • SherryDigital profile image

      Sherry Duffy 

      6 years ago from Here. There. Everywhere. Currently: Portland, OR

      A great read with practical tips! Thanks!

    • profile image

      Ken Frederick 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for those awesome article. I actually watch for checking extra because of anyone when you need it.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)