Following a low calorie diet is considered to be a very simple, traditional and accessible method of weight loss. Doctors have been prescribing low calorie dieting for many years, long before the invention of most commercial diet products that exist today. As a weight management system that most people can utilize, a low calorie diet does not require special equipment, food packages, or other items that many commercialized diets require. Instead, it is a form of weight control that requires mindful eating and self-discipline on the part of the dieter.
The premise behind a low calorie diet is also simple. By consuming fewer calories than needed for a person's daily activities, a dieter's body will burn existing fat to make up the difference that the body requires, thus resulting in weight loss. People beginning a low calorie diet will need two things: a food journal and a calorie counter. The former can be done in a paper notebook or on computer a word processor, and the latter can be found in book form or on the Internet.
To begin a low calorie diet, one must first determine his or her own caloric needs. Basic caloric needs can be determined by multiplying one's weight by 10 for women, or 11 for men. Needs vary by many factors, however, and anyone wishing to begin a low calorie diet should first consult with his or her physician to determine daily calories needed. Much of this will have to do with the amount of physical activity one gets, as well as with one's muscle to fat ratio. After identifying the calorie amounts needed to maintain a one's current weight, the doctor will then decide by how many calories the intake should be reduced in order to lose weight safely and effectively.
With this new number of daily calories in mind, the dieter may then begin recording everything he or she eats in the food journal. Every item, from main courses, to dressings, from sweets, to drinks, needs to be recorded and added up. To do this, simply look up each food item online, or in a calorie counter book to determine how many calories it has.
The calories eaten throughout a 24-hour period should be as close to the recommended number provided by the physician as possible. Eating below the allotted number of calories can be detrimental to the diet as well as to the dieter. When the body receives fewer calories than it needs to fully operate, it can stop functioning properly, start hoarding fat, and cause diet failure.
In order to sticking to the calories allowed, a dieter may wish to use smaller plates and portions, pay attention to fat and sugar content when making food purchases, and stay away from high calorie drinks. Filling up on water and low calorie, filling foods such as salads and other vegetables may also help. A popular strategy when going to restaurants is to ask for half of the meal to be boxed for a later.