What is the 500 rule for weight loss?

Dr. Vonda Wright, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
To lose a pound of fat, you must burn off 3,500 calories. To break it down into manageable chunks, this means burning off 500 calories more per day than you take in. Do this seven days in a row and you will lose one pound. The 500 rule makes weight management simple.

The 500 rule works by decreasing energy intake (food) or increasing energy output (exercise) or a combination of both. I used the 500 rule. I simply switched my daily morning coffee drink with all the pumps, milk, and fixings, with a simple cup of joe. I didn't change anything else about the way I ate initially. This simple change removed about 350 calories per day from my intake. I then made a more concentrated effort to burn 300-500 calories by exercising. In a couple of weeks, I was back to my normal weight. My patients make significant changes in their weight by eating only half of their normal portions at lunch and dinner. Initially they didn't sacrifice the foods they loved. They just enjoyed half the amount.

What if you are one of the people who say to me, "I already don't eat very much." It may be true. For you, exercise will go a long way to ramp up your metabolism and build muscle. Muscle itself burns more calories in its daily work than fat, so the more of it you have, the more efficient you are at burning calories.
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Midwifery Nursing

Remember the old adage intake needs to equal output to maintain weight. To lose weight you need to subtract 3500 calories from your weekly intake or 500 calories a day. 500 calories a day is the 500 rule. Giving up that morning muffin, donut or bagel might be a good start...or maybe that bed time dish of ice cream or chips or fries with your lunch. Giving up the empty calories of sodas will also make a difference. So move more to increase your burn and eat less and you will be on your way to slow healthy weight loss using the 500 rule.

Kat Barefield, MS, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
The 500 rule includes eating 500 fewer calories than you burn daily in order to lose one pound weekly since there are 3,500 calories in one pound of fat. A weight loss rate of one pound per week is considered safe and practical. You can accomplish this by consistently eating ~300 fewer calories and burning an extra 200 calories – or whatever combination works best for you. Use the Sharecare Fitness App under your Coach tab to set up your personal program which includes the number of calories you burn daily, the number of calories to eat daily, 8 menus, a food logging tool and an exercise program. By logging what you eat, you can see how many calories you’ve taken in compared to what you’ve burned.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.