How Many Calories a Day to Lose 4 Pounds per Week?


In order to reduce weight, leading a balanced lifestyle that includes eating a healthy diet and doing regular exercise is essential. Reducing your daily calorie intake can help you lose 4 pounds a week. However, it is healthier to lose weight at a more slow and steady pace.

Most adults should aim to lose 1 to 2 pounds weekly. Credit: Rostislav_Sedlacek/iStock/GettyImages

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In general, a reduction of 500 calories per day will help you lose 1 pound in a week, which translates to a daily calorie deficit of 2,000 calories per day to lose 4 pounds in a week. This would require consuming an unhealthy, low number of calories per day, making it more ideal (and safer) to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week.

Reduce Weight for Better Health

A healthy body weight, like everything else in life, is about balance. Generally, if you eat more calories than you burn, you gain weight. Conversely, if you eat fewer calories and burn more calories through physical activity, you'll lose weight. Body mass index (BMI) is a person's weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters, explains the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

BMI is one of the most popular methods to determine if you are overweight, according to the Cleveland Clinic. To easily calculate your BMI, multiply your weight by 703, and divide the answer by your height in inches. Divide this figure by your height again. A BMI of 25 and above is considered to be overweight, while a BMI over 30 puts you at risk for developing obesity-related conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease.

Read more: How Many Calories Should I Burn a Week to Lose Weight?

Create a Calorie Deficit

Calories are the energy in food, explains the Mayo Clinic. Carbohydrates, fats and proteins are the nutrients that contain calories and are the main energy sources for your body. The calories you eat are either converted to physical energy or stored calories will remain in your body as fat.

To lose weight, reduce your calorie intake so that your body must draw on reserves for energy, or increase physical activity so that you burn more calories. Estimate your energy needs based on your activity level — either low, moderate or high.

Consuming more calories if you're extremely active likely won't make you gain weight. However, most people are not active enough to consume more than 3,000 calories each day. Because 3,500 calories equals about 1 pound of fat, you need to burn over 3,000 calories to lose 1 pound.

Read more: How Much Weight Can You Lose on a 1,200 Calorie Diet?

Set Realistic Goals

The U.S. Department of Agriculture states that the best strategy for losing excess weight and stored body fat involves calorie reduction and increased physical activity, or better yet, a combination of both. You need to burn off 3,500 calories more than you take in to lose 1 pound.

This translates to a reduction of 500 calories per day to lose 1 pound in a week or 1,000 calories per day to lose 2 pounds in a week. One to 2 pounds per week is generally considered to be a safe rate of weight loss.

To lose 1 to 2 pounds a week, burning 500 to 1,000 calories more than those calories consumed each day will help you to safely lose weight. Eating a nutritious diet, combined with increased physical activity, can help you to lose pounds at a healthy rate. Be sure to meet your nutritional needs while trying to reduce weight.

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