According to the Mayo Clinic, 3,500 calories must be eliminated through diet or exercise to lose one pound. Because most adults need to eat 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day, this is best achieved by cutting 500 calories each day throughout the week.
Many dieters face major roadblocks to staying on a diet. As the Mayo Clinic points out, it helps to start with a quantifiable goal. Losing one to two pounds a week is an achievable rate of change, while working to lose 30 pounds in one month is likely to end in failure.
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute provides a number of useful alternatives to reduce calories and fat without losing out on taste or satisfaction. Choosing popcorn as a snack, frozen yogurt for dessert, and lean white meat can reduce intake without leaving a dieter feeling deprived.
Dieters should also burn excess calories through an active lifestyle. The Centers for Disease Control recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. Walking instead of driving, joining a friend for an exercise class or going for a walk after lunch are great ways to be more active. Making small but meaningful lifestyle changes can help ensure a successful weight loss of at least one pound per week.