Losing weight is an obsession in the U.S.: in 2008, 26 percent of women and 16 percent of men claimed to be dieting, according to "The Boston Globe." Statistics bear out the need for dieting, since 34 percent of Americans are classified as overweight and 34 percent as obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2007/2008 statistics. Most people want to lose weight quickly and painlessly, but losing 50 lbs. takes time, effort and determination.
Choosing the right diet is important. While drinking sauerkraut juice might work for a week, few people can sustain a limited diet over the long haul. A diet that allows a piece of cake at a wedding or a glass of wine on special occasions helps ensure you can stick to your diet rather than going off it on every occasion. The most sensible way to stick to a diet long enough to lose 50 lbs. is to choose a diet that allows treats from time to time, whether that's calorie counting or another balanced diet.
To lose 1 lb., you must eliminate 3,500 calories. Since everyone's daily caloric intake is different, it's hard to put a number on how many calories to eat each day. Cutting out 1,000 calories a day will cut 7,000 calories a week. Cutting 7,000 calories gives you a 2 lb. weight loss each week, so losing 50 lbs. will take 25 weeks, or about six months.
Increasing your activity level helps you lose weight faster. Taking a brisk 30-minute walk each day burns around 173 calories, if you weigh 200 lbs., MayoClinic.com reports. While that may not sound like much, it adds up to 1,211 calories a week or an extra 1 lb. every three weeks, which could cut nearly a month off your total weight-loss time. Low-impact aerobics knocks off 225 calories in half an hour, while running at an 8 mile per hour pace eliminates more than 600 calories. Exercise truly makes a difference -- but don't hurt yourself. Start slowly and build up your pace.
Trying to lose weight too fast can have serious health risks. A very low-calorie diet, less than 800 calories a day, should only be undertaken long-term with your medical practitioner's approval and supervision. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders states that between 10 and 25 percent of people who lose more than 3 lbs. per week develop gallstones, and of those, one-third have symptoms, sometimes requiring surgery.
It's possible to lose 50 lbs.; many people have done it. A University of California study found that between 33 and 66 percent of people who lost 5 to 10 percent of their body weight regained it all, plus more, within four to five years. After devoting six months or more to losing excess weight, have a plan in place for keeping the weight off. Choosing a weight-loss diet that can be modified to add back calories slowly to avoid weight gain and sticking to your exercise plan are essential to keeping the weight off permanently.