A person can lose weight by eating fewer calories than he exerts each day. It takes 3,500 calories to create or burn a pound, so eating 500 calories per day below the maintenance amount for a person's current weight results in 1 to 2 pounds lost per week.
Although some diets recommend cutting out food groups, such as severely cutting carbohydrates, this is not typically accepted as a long-term solution. Instead, an overall change in eating habits, also called a lifestyle change, is a more sustainable option for losing weight. Lowering calories just enough to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week is safe and sustainable for most people.
Using healthy foods that are low in calories, such as fruits and vegetables, to fill up is an effective way to eat less overall, making it easier to stick to a lowered calorie goal. Chewing slowly, including favorite foods in moderation and scheduling treats are all ways to help control calorie intake and create a long-term lifestyle change. Learning to control portion sizes through the use of smaller bowls and plates is a good way to train the stomach to get used to smaller amounts of food. Cooking meals from scratch when possible and avoiding processed packaged foods is the best way to get more control over the content of each dish.