In addition to a sensible, reduced-calorie diet, consistent exercise is essential if you want to lose 50 pounds. By scheduling exercise ahead of time, it becomes harder to make excuses, such as not having enough time. Exercise becomes part of your daily routine and eventually part of your lifestyle, which is essential for long-term weight loss.
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Plan to lose weight gradually at a rate of no more than one to two pounds per week. This is healthy, safe, and maintainable in the long run, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. Understand that one pound of fat had 3,500 calories. This means that it will take a daily deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories to reach the expert-recommended weight-loss rate. Create this deficit by burning calories through exercise and consuming fewer calories from food.
Adjust your diet and eating habits so you eat fewer calories. Practice portion control and limit weight-loss sabotaging foods that are high in sugar, trans and saturated fats, salt and cholesterol. Compare food labels and choose low-calorie, nutritious foods over high-calorie, unhealthy foods. Emphasize a nutritious, reduced-calorie diet that consists of low-fat protein, veggies, reduced-fat dairy products, whole grains and fruit.
Schedule 45 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise into five or six days of the week to burn calories. Understand that you have to work up to this point; you might have to start with just 10 to 15 minutes of exercise a day. If you can't fit 45-minute sessions into your schedule, break up your routine into three, 15-minute sessions over each day. Go jogging or swimming, ride a bike, take an aerobics class, pedal on an elliptical machine or use a rowing machine.
Incorporate at least two full-body strength-training sessions into each week. Strength training maintains lean muscle tissue, which boosts your resting metabolism, because it uses up more calories than fat to sustain itself. Plan your sessions 48 hours apart so your muscles have enough time to repair and recover. Alternatively, work your upper body on two, non-consecutive days and target your lower-body on two non-consecutive days. Work your hips, legs, arms, back, chest and stomach with eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise, and slowly work your way up to finishing two or three sets.
Add variety to your workout routine, because according to a study by the University of Florida, consistently doing the same exercises can get boring and make you dread working out -- whereas variety makes exercise more enjoyable, so you're more likely to stick to your routine. For instance, if you normally exercise indoors, take your workout outdoors; if you always use weightlifting machines, use free weights, your body weight or resistance bands; if you always jog for cardio, ride a bike, go swimming, take a dance class or participate in a group sport. Find a variety of activities that you enjoy and stick with these.
Keep a journal to track your weight-loss progress. Write down what and how much you eat every day, and what type of exercise you've engaged in. This paints a clear picture of the calories consumed and burned, and can help you detect pitfalls early on. Record your progress, such as inches or pounds lost, to serve as motivation to keep going.
Create an exercise schedule that fits your lifestyle. For instance, do 45 minutes of cardio on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, and do strength training on Thursday and Saturday. You can also do your cardio from Monday through Friday, and then include strength training for your upper body on Monday and Wednesday and work your lower body on Tuesday and Thursday.
Always perform at least five minutes of low-intense cardio before starting your exercise routine, and stretch your muscles after finishing your workout.
Consult your doctor before starting a new exercise routine and diet, particularly if you're new to exercise or suffer from an injury or health condition.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Losing Weight: What Is Healthy Weight Loss?
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: Facts About Healthy Weight
- American Council on Exercise: Three Things Every Exercise Program Should Have
- Helpguide.org: What’s the Best Exercise Plan for Me?
- University of Florida: Adding Variety To An Exercise Routine Helps Increase Adherence
- American Council on Exercise: Keeping a Daily Food Log Could be Your Secret Weapon To Weight Loss Success