Being overweight has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, with more than two-thirds of Americans overweight or obese. Fortunately, you can find simple ways to reduce your weight and become more lean. It is simply a matter of understanding your body's physiology and how your lifestyle impacts it. Two weeks of living a healthy lifestyle will not shed great amounts of weight. However, it will put you on track for long-term weight loss.
Start With the Basics
To decide a course of action, you will first need to assess your daily calorie intake and expenditure. This information is necessary to identify areas of improvement. It can also determine the most effective changes. Keeping a food and exercise journal will reveal your daily patterns. It is essential to record everything you consume. Weight loss, after all, is a simple mathematical equation of balancing your intake with your calorie burn.
Scrutinize Your Diet
Cutting fat is an effective way to lean out since you will eliminate the most calories. A gram of fat equals about 9 calories versus the 4 calories for each gram of carbohydrates or protein. Your diet should include 20 to 35 percent fat. To lose weight quickly, you can stick to the lower end of this range. By reducing your fat intake by 2 tbsp. oil or butter a day, you will reduce your caloric intake by 240 calories a day, well on your way to losing weight.
Ramp Up Your Activity
Along with diet changes, adding more activity in your day will increase the calorie deficient necessary to lose weight. Moderately intense exercise will burn fat and help you reach your weight-loss goals. A study by I-Min Lee of the Harvard Medical School and colleagues and published in the 2010 issue of the "Journal of the American Medical Association" found that middle-aged women who exercised 60 minutes a day most days of the week were most successful at preventing weight gain.
Putting It All Together
To lose 1 lb. a week, you will need to create a calorie deficient of 500 calories each day. The most effective way to do this is through both a reduction in calories and an increase in calorie burn. These goals are accessible for most individuals. You can safely increase your weight loss to 2 lbs. a week by creating a deficient of 1,000 calories. The proportion for diet changes and exercise can be determined through your initial food journal. If your calorie count was high, you may find that you can make the greatest strides through diet, adding exercise as a way to meet your calorie goal.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Obesity and Overweight
- KidsHealth: Figuring Out Fat and Calories
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Fats
- "Journal of the American Medical Association"; Physical Activity and Weight Gain Prevention; I-Min Lee, et al; March 2010