Weight Loss (cont.)
In this Article
How do you lose weight?
The most effective method for weight loss is reducing the number of calories you consume while increasing the number of calories you burn through physical activity. To lose 1 pound, you need an expenditure of approximately 3,500 calories. You can achieve this either by cutting back on your food intake, by increasing physical activity, or ideally, by doing both.
For example, if you consume 500 extra calories per day for one week without changing your activity level, you will gain 1 pound in weight (seven days multiplied by 500 calories equals 3,500 calories, or the number of calories resulting in a 1-pound weight gain). Likewise, if you eat 500 fewer calories each day for a week or burn 500 calories per day through exercise for one week, you will lose 1 pound.
Examples of calorie content of some popular foods and beverages include the following:
Any activities you do throughout the day are added to your BMR (basal metabolic rate) to determine the total number of calories you burn each day. For example, a 170-pound person who spends 45 minutes walking briskly will burn about 300 calories. The same time spent on housecleaning burns about 200 calories, and mowing the lawn for 45 minutes consumes around 275 calories. For more, please read the Calories Burned During Fitness Activities article.
How fast should you expect to lose weight?
Most experts agree that a safe, healthy rate of weight loss is one to 1 ½ pounds per week. Modification of eating habits along with regular exercise is the most effective way to lose weight over the long term. It is also the ideal way to ensure that the weight stays off.
Starvation diets may result in rapid weight loss, but this weight loss is almost impossible to maintain for most people. When food intake is severely restricted (below approximately 1,200 calories per day), the body begins to adapt to this state of poor nutrition by reducing its metabolic rate, potentially making it even more difficult to lose weight. It is also possible to experience hunger pangs, bouts of hypoglycemia, headaches, and mood changes from overly stringent dieting. These symptoms can result in binge eating and weight gain. Since a highly restrictive diet is almost impossible to maintain for a long time, people who attempt to starve themselves thin often start to gain weight again when they stop dieting.