How To Set Your Last Weight Loss Goal – Ever!


Written on January 1, 2008 – 4:39 pm | by Jeff Ainslie

successIf you never want to go on a diet again, the simplest way is to start eating like a person at your goal weight and keep doing it. You will lose weight faster at the start and it will slow as you approach your goal weight, but you will never be “on a diet” again.

First of all, you need to know your BMR (basal metabolic rate), which is how many calories your body burns in a day to stay alive. If you were asleep for 24 hours, your BMR would be the amount of calories you would burn.

Here is an online BMR Calculator.

To get a realistic measure of the total calories that you burn in a day, you need to multiply your BMR by a number that represents how much activity that you do in a day.

  • If you get little or no exercise, multiply your BMR by 1.2.
  • If you exercise lightly or take part in easy sports one to three times a week, multiply your BMR by 1.375.
  • If you are moderately active — three to five times a week — multiply your BMR by 1.55.
  • If you are very active — hard exercise or sports six to seven times a week — multiply your BMR by 1.725.
  • If you are extra active — very hard exercise or sports and a physical job — multiply your BMR by 1.9.

Here are some ballpark figures that I worked out for a weight loss of 50 lbs.

5’5″ woman, 30 years old who exercises lightly (BMR x 1.375)

175 lbs – 2165 calories per day
125 lbs – 1850 calories per day

If this woman eats 300 calories per day less on a continuous basis, over time she will lose 50 lbs and maintain that weight. With eating 300 calories less per day, she can expect to lose about 0.6 lbs per week at the start.

5’10” man, 30 years old who exercises lightly (BMR x 1.375)

225 lbs – 2950 calories per day
175 lbs – 2550 calories per day

If this man eats 400 calories per day less on a continuous basis, he will also have a 50 lbs weight loss. With eating 400 calories less per day, he can expect to lose about 0.8 lbs per week at the start.

This is how most people put on weight in the first place. They simply eat a few more calories per day on a continual basis and over time they store more and more fat. They eat the calories of a heavier person, and gradually become that heavier person.

It is clear that diets don’t work because as soon as people go off of a diet, they start eating like they did before the diet. The best approach is to know your goal weight and then figure out how many calories per day you will need to eat to maintain that goal weight.

Start to eat your “maintenance” calories at the start of your weight loss. If you eat like a thinner person, you become that thinner person. You will gradually lose the weight and never feel deprived along the way. It’s not a sexy weight loss plan, but it works in the long term.

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  1. 9 Responses to “How To Set Your Last Weight Loss Goal – Ever!”

  2. By Nikole on Jan 10, 2008 | Reply

    This is great except I find it nearly impossible to count calories. I make a lot of my own meals and find it difficult to calculate how many calories I eat a day. Then if I go out to eat, or have a catered lunch at work, it’s even more difficult to know the calorie count. Do you guys have any ways to make it more simple to calculate the number of calories in what you eat?

  3. By George on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    Yea I think there are programs that are up to date with these things and do the math for you.
    Good info:)

  4. By Cindy Stewart on Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

    I love the the podcast. Keep up the good work. My two daughters and I listen to your show. Who is that on the Fat 2 Fit logo picture?

  5. By Bill on Jun 24, 2009 | Reply

    Does the example above fall within the calorie deficit and exercise range that would keep you losing fat but not muscle? I’m curious if the “start eating like a person at your goal weight and keep doing it” always works or if it could be cutting too much too soon. Seems like someone really overweight, let’s say 5′ 10″, 300 lbs and sedentary, wanting to be 175 pounds, would surely lose a lot of muscle if they suddenly dropped to 2550 calories, the calories needed for his “ideal” weight. Not sure, just wondering….. great shows…..

  6. By Kerri on Jul 22, 2009 | Reply

    OK. I’m with you on this but I consistently have been hearing that if you don’t eat enough calories in a day then your body goes into starvation mode and stores fat. Is this true? If my BMI is 1336 and with my activity level says I should eat 2117 calories in a day what is my minimum calories I should worry about eating without worrying I store fat. I am currently 143 wanting to get to 135. Eating for the 135 but seem to be on a stand still so I’m not sure if I cut calories or excercise more. I don’t feel like I eat a ton already and if I add exercising does that mean I should be eating more? I’m so confused. I use the livestrong site and at the end of the day sometimes it tells me that I should eat 600 more calories. Is it OK that I don’t?

  7. By Ryan on Aug 27, 2009 | Reply

    I was the same way when I first started out. I actually went out and bought an old old PDA and installed an application called “Diet & Exercise” which allows me to track my daily calorie intake. This program also allows you to see your BMR, track your exercises(very basic list but allows user defined add-ins) and count how many cups of water you’ve had in a day. Also, as they say in the commercials, if you own an iPhone or iPod touch, “there’s an app for that” which does all the same things as “Diet and Exercise” + some.

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