Safe weight loss is about maintaining health whilst losing weight, it is not about losing weight rapidly; this has never worked and never will. This article is to be published in two parts over two days and will be stored in our news blogs archives for future viewing.
Aim for one pound (450 grams) each week because this level of weight loss is sustainable and you will not regain the weight later providing you adjust to your new healthier lifestyle.
Slow weight loss is the safest and most effective approach. A good weight-loss program helps you to lose weight gradually — about one-half to one pound per week initially and improving to one pound each week. Gradual weight loss promotes long-term loss of body fat, not just water weight that can be quickly regained.
Diets are only half of the program because no program works without sufficient light exercise.
Most people leading moderately active lives need about 15 calories per pound to maintain their weight. For example, a 200-pound person would have to eat foods containing no more than 3,000 calories each day to maintain his or her weight.
To lose one pound, a person must burn 3,500 calories more than consumed. For example, reducing calories by 300 per day and increasing daily activity to burn off an additional 200 calories should result in a weight loss of one pound per week.
A Good Balance
When limiting calories, you still need to satisfy basic nutritional needs. Eat a variety of foods every day. Choose from each of the five food groups – dairy, meat, fruit, vegetables and breads – and allow for an occasional treat. Balanced food plans encourage making wise choices about everyday food; choices you can make to achieve and stay at your proper weight for life.
Evaluate Your Eating Pattern
You should also evaluate your eating patterns. Sometimes six small meals a day can help you control your hunger. If you prefer to stay with eating three main meals, always plan for some low-calorie between-meal snacks like an apple or a carrot to satisfy hunger between meals.
All foods and beverages can be consumed in moderation. Try to cut down on foods high in fat and sugar, or substitute with low calorie and low fat foods and beverages.
The choice is always yours.
Most successful weight-loss plans call for a reduction in both calories and the amount of fat eaten.
Determine what type of physical activity best suits your lifestyle. You should work your way up to regular aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, jogging or swimming, since it is a key factor in achieving permanent weight loss and improving health.
Aerobic exercise works the body’s large muscles, such as the heart, and should be moderately vigorous, but not exhausting, to be most effective. For maximum benefits, most health experts recommend exercising 30 minutes or more on most, preferably all, days of the week. I disagree with this because as you exercise and become fitter the amount of exercise that you do will become inadequate compared to your fitness level. My weight loss program recommends three sessions of ten minutes each week to start.
Try to incorporate some simple calorie-burners into your everyday routine. Even the most basic activities (such as taking an after-dinner walk, using the stairs at the mall instead of taking an escalator, or parking farther away so you have a longer walk) can get you prepared for more aerobic activities.
Part 2 of this article will follow.
This article is © copyright David McCarthy 2005. It may be reproduced only in its entirety with no changes or additions.