Calorie Reduction for the Morbidly Obese

Approximately 66 percent of American adults are overweight or obese, according to the Weight-Control Information Network. Your body mass index, calculated by comparing your height to your body weight, indicates whether you are underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese. Morbid obesity is a subcategory of obesity that generally correlates to being 100 or more pounds over your ideal body weight. Morbid obesity increases the risk of developing hypertension, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, so the treatment regimen usually includes losing weight.

Morbid Obesity

Your body mass index, or BMI, is calculated by comparing your height to your weight. A normal BMI is between 20 and 25, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center. You are considered overweight if your BMI is 25 to 29.9; obese if your BMI is 30 or higher; and morbidly obese if your BMI is 40 or higher. You are also considered morbidly obese if your BMI is 35 or more and you have obesity-related health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, gallstones, osteoarthritis, heart disease or sleep apnea.

Losing Weight

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Losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can reduce your blood pressure and help to prevent obesity-related conditions. To drop weight safely, aim for a loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week. One pound equals 3,500 calories, so you will need to create a daily calorie deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories to lose weight at that rate. You can do that by eating fewer calories, exercising more or both.

Reducing Calories

A safe calorie range for most women wanting to lose weight is 1,000 to 1,200 calories per day, according to the National Institutes of Health. Men should eat between 1,200 and 1,600 calories per day to lose weight. Unless your health care provider advises otherwise, about 55 percent of the calories you eat should come from carbohydrates; no more than 30 percent should come from fat; and about 15 percent should come from protein. It is not safe to eat less than 800 calories per day unless you are under medical supervision.


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Reducing your calorie intake can be challenging but rewarding. Logging your meals and exercise each day can help you focus on changing your behaviors. Weighing yourself weekly and charting your progress helps to reinforce positive behaviors and identify unsuccessful ones. If you slip up and eat something that is not on your program, forgive yourself and move on rather than continuing to overeat. Get your family involved in your new lifestyle and ask for their encouragement. Joining a support group can provide you with a resource for new ideas and dealing with the ups and downs of weight loss.