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DrSugar Answers: Cutting Too Many Calories Too Fast?

DrSugar is in the house and answering your questions.

Dear DrSugar,
I am currently cutting back and trying to lose some weight (as always), but this time I am sticking with it even if i have a bad day, but I am not sure how many calories I should be eating. I was talking to a friend who said if I am always hungry I am not eating enough. I thought I was eating around 1500 calories a day, but after food journaling I realized I was closer to 2400 daily calories. So I cut back my food intake and have added low-fat string cheese, apple sauce cups, fresh carrots, and grape tomatoes to my diet, and am trying to cut out the 100-calorie packs of snacks and only do fruits and veggies. I never thought I would say this, but yes I am hungry, but I don't want to eat and I don't want to starve at the same time. Am I cutting too many calories too quickly?

To see what DrSugar has to say about all this, just


Weight loss is a very complicated issue, but the equation for shedding pounds is simple. It comes down to two simple things: a) the energy you expend i.e. physical activity and b) the energy you take in i.e. what you eat. You lose weight by burning more calories than you take in. You can do this by either eating less, exercising more, or a combination of the two.

Losing a significant amount of weight, and keeping it off, is going to take more than counting calories. It is going to take a major change in the way you live. Recent studies suggest that the most efficient way to lose weight is to exercise at a moderate rate at least 5 days a week for 55 minutes each day. If you’re current level of activity is minimal, I recommend starting with walking about 30 minutes per day, and work your way to challenging your heart rate more as you get stronger. On the diet side of things, I would stop meticulously counting calories and start eating a reasonable well-balanced diet. This includes eliminating fast food, high-calorie beverages (most fruit juices), junk food, snack foods, and heavily processed foods. Instead of focusing on calorie content, focus on eating healthy foods (i.e. vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean meats).

Another quick tip is to not be fooled by “low-fat” snack or processed foods. The amount of calories you eat is more important than the amount of fat. Too many calories from carbs are just as bad, if not worse, than too many calories from unsaturated fats. If you plan healthy meals and start doing something active every day, you will start losing weight in no time. Try to think of it as a new way of life and you will be happier, healthier, and less miserable while you drop the pounds. Good luck!

If you have a question for DrSugar, send me a private message here and I will forward it to the good doctor.

DrSugar's posts are for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. Click here for more details.

Join The Conversation
kmacp kmacp 8 years
"If you’re current level of activity is minimal, I recommend starting with walking about 30 minutes per day, and work your way to challenging your heart rate more as you get stronger" that should be "your" this may answer your question a little better: You enter your height, weight, activity level etc. and it tells you exactly how many calories you need to maintain that weight. -500 calories from that and you will likely lose 1 pound a week.
Silverlining10 Silverlining10 8 years
Yeah...I heard the healthy way to lose weight was to just cut 500 calories a day, but that will only help you lose 1lb a week. I know some people are impatient about that, so you may try cutting some more, but..If you're hungry, eat something fibrous or drink one of those Slim Fast drinks that curb your appetite for 12 hours. I've known people who weren't dieting to drink Slim Fast because they get the munchies too often during the day, and they can't just pack five sandwiches.
Hoaxerz Hoaxerz 8 years
If you are hungry, then yes, there is a problem. A person can lose weight without starving! It is a bad thing when your body adapt to a lower calorie intake- it means your metabolism has dropped. To increase your metabolism, you need to eat MORE, not less. Granted, you need to eat more of the good stuff, like lean protein and complex carbs; but, isn't it more fun to be eating more clean food, than just eating less junk?
princess_eab princess_eab 8 years
Watch out - meticulously counting and weighing can really take over your life! It's a great thing to keep track of, but try to treat yourself to something naughty once a week, and please don't weigh every day. It's a recipe for disaster.
durbangirl durbangirl 8 years
My nutritionist said it takes at least two weeks to get used to a new eating routine. She said that I need to just come to terms with the fact that I would be hungry for those two weeks until my body got used to less calories. I was hungry, but after those two weeks, I settled into a routine with fewer calories and feel satisfied.
lizs lizs 8 years
I have to agree, marydaz, that I was hoping for more from the answer. Personally, I think it's great that she's keeping close track of what she eats - it's how new habits are built, isn't it? It's so easy to blow your weight loss with just a few hundred extra calories here and there. I think it's normal to be hungry when you first cut calories - I recently went from 1800 to 1500 to try to break a plateau, and I was starving for a few days!
ehadams ehadams 8 years
Yeah, this answer didn't really address the question at all...
marydaz marydaz 8 years
Sorry, but I feel the need to point out that this is a pretty lame answer to the question Dr. Sugar. There is nothing at all wrong with the answer, but it didn't address what she was really asking. She pointed out she was already cutting junk and processed foods for heavens sake, she was wondering why she still felt so hungry. A better answer might have to do with if she is getting enough lean protein and adding fruit/veggies that aren't quite as sugary as carrots and tomatoes.
bosworthfan bosworthfan 8 years
- in response to missyd
bosworthfan bosworthfan 8 years
No, I don't think it means like that. What I take from it is that if you do eat a lot of carbs in general (probably excluding whole grains- even though you still shouldn't have an excess just because they are healthy) then it can come out to be just as bad or have too many calories as the unstaturated fats that foods have.
Francoisehardly Francoisehardly 8 years
MissyD, I think that refers to the fact that a person won't lose weight eating too much of any food, whether it's considered healthier or not. And I don't think lard is an unsaturated fat. Unsaturated fat is the good kind.
missyd missyd 8 years
"Too many calories from carbs are just as bad, if not worse, than too many calories from unsaturated fats" how are they worse? What if they are whole grains, such as oats, etc? A stick of lard is just as bad as an excess of whole grains? I dunno............... :shrug:
carolinel carolinel 8 years
I hate working out. I lost 30lbs by dieting only, no work out (just counting calories. I eat 1200-1500, I'm also 5'0) and I've been around the same weight for 3 years now. I stopped eating alot of bad stuff but I'm very happy with my new lifestyle.
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