Easy Tips to Lose One Pound a Week
Whether you are several pounds overweight or trying to lose that last five pounds, it is sometimes hard to know where to start. Most diets either restrict your calorie intake drastically or require a time-consuming exercise program. This leaves you constantly hungry or worn out. By losing weight at a slower, steadier pace, however, you are more likely to stay on point and keep the weight off. By making your goal to lose one pound a week, you will slowly change your eating habits and activity level at a pace you can live with for a lifetime.
You must burn 3500 calories to lose a pound. That sounds like a lot of calories. But if you break it down in seven days - one week - that is only 500 less calories each day. If you add exercise you can cut your calorie intake by 300 calories and burn off 200 calories. Cutting out 500 calories (or less) per day from your diet can be as simple as trading in your regular soda for diet soda, downsizing each meal by one-fourth, or cutting out unnecessary foods such as candy bars or alcoholic beverages. One candy bar can have 260 calories in it! If you eliminate that every day you are half-way there.
The typical sedentary person needs approximately 12 calories per pound of weight to maintain their current weight. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, you need 1800 calories to stay the same weight. If you are an active person, calculate 15 calories per pound. It is recommended, however, to not go under 1200 calories per day. This is both unhealthy and will cause you problems losing weight because your body will go into starvation mode and hang onto the excess fat. Your goal is to lose the weight slowly, at a healthy rate.
While you are decreasing your calorie intake, make sure you are including a variety of foods to maintain the nutrients your body needs to function properly. Choose foods from all five food groups, limiting high fat or high sugar foods. A balanced diet should include:
- One source of lean meat or protein rich food
- One serving of complex carbohydrates
- Two-three servings of vegetables and fruit at each meal
- One serving each of dairy and whole grains
Try eating five smaller meals and healthy snacks each day instead of the traditional three. You are less likely to overeat this way and will maintain your energy level. And don't feel you have to completely cut out fats. A little fat is important to help your muscles burn energy. If you eat no fat at all, your fat reserves will be slow in giving up what is stored in your body. That result is slower weight loss.
So, how do you find ways to cut out calories without starving? Here are some tips:
- Fresh fruit or raw veggies are just as easy to carry to work as it is to buy a candy bar in the vending machine. One banana is only 116 calories of nutritious food while a typical candy bar has 240 calories of empty nutrition. You've saved 124 calories in only one snack. Multiply that by 7 days and you've eliminated 868 calories for one week.
- One regular can of soda contains between 100 and 260 calories. Most people drink two or more per day. If you trade in just one of these for a diet soda or bottle of water you save 100 calories. That's 700 calories per week.
- Replace one high-calorie meal a day with a large salad. You will feel just as full but only consume about 50 calories. Use low-calorie dressing and add a tomato for only 100 more calories. Considering the average healthy meal is about 400 calories (baked chicken, baked potato, pat of butter, peas), you will have saved 250 calories in one meal. That's 1750 calories per week.
- Eating out? Order your cheeseburger without the bun. You will save 123 calories and miss out on all of those carbohydrates too.
- Watch the lattes and cappuccinos. One regular-sized plain latte or cappuccino contains 120 calories. If you must drink coffee, drink regular coffee for only 5 calories a cup. Add cream for about 20 calories per cup. You are still saving 95 calories for every cup of coffee you drink.
These few tips have already lost you a pound. Read your food labels and see where you can cut out unnecessary calories in your own diet. You will be surprised at how easy it is.
Adding exercise to your new lifestyle can make the pounds slip off even easier. Exercise actually increases your metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories with everyday activities after you've exercised. Also, contrary to what you might believe, exercise makes many people feel less hungry. The best part is that muscle makes you look trimmer than the same weight in fat. If you decide to add exercise, you can eat a few more calories and burn off the rest in exercise. Easy ways to add this to your busy life are:
- Ride a stationary bike while watching your favorite television program for 30 minutes. This burns approximately 300 calories at a moderate pace, 500 at a more vigorous speed. Do this three times a week and you will burn 900 to 1500 calories.
- Go dancing! Dancing actively for 30 minutes burns 153 calories and you are having fun and socializing at the same time.
- Take an evening walk with family or friends. Walking briskly for 30 minutes burns 214 calories. Do this three times a week and eliminate 642 calories.
- Clean house. We all have to do it and you can burn 238 calories in one hour of cleaning.
Whether you choose to add exercise or just to eliminate unnecessary calories, you will be amazed at how quickly those extra pounds come off. In two months you could be 8 pounds slimmer. You will feel better, look better, and have learned new habits that will keep you fit and trim for life.
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