If you're considering drastic measures such as a crash diet to quickly slim down, reconsider. Overly restrictive diets that require you to cut out entire food groups are dangerous to your health and slow your metabolism. The weight you lose is mainly water weight, which you will quickly gain back. For permanent weight loss, a sensible and safe approach that enables you to change your lifestyle for the long run is best. Within two weeks, you can see significant results.
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Expend 500 to 1,000 calories every day so you lose 1 to 2 pounds per week since 1 pound of fat has 3,500 calories. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this is a maintainable weight-loss rate that can result in lasting weight loss.
Change your diet and eating habits so you consume fewer calories and contribute to your daily caloric deficit. Eat high-fiber foods that are filling so you're less likely to consume too many calories. Include vegetables, whole grains and beans in your diet. Replace high-calorie foods with low-calorie foods. For instance, instead of chips or ice cream, eat carrots or strawberries. Use smaller plates and cups so your portions are smaller and contain fewer calories.
Perform at least 150 minutes of weekly cardiovascular exercise, as recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Ride a bike, play a game of doubles tennis or walk briskly. Maintain a moderate pace during which you can talk, but not sing. When you're comfortable with this exercise pace, slowly increase your workout duration to 300 minutes per week to burn more calories and enjoy more health benefits.
Incorporate resistance training on at least two days of the week. Perform muscle-strengthening exercises that help you maintain and increase muscle tissue. The more muscle mass you have, the higher your caloric burn, because strength training can speed up your metabolism by 15 percent, according to the CDC. Complete eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise, and use enough weight so you can't do another repetition after finishing the last one. Use weightlifting machines, free weights or your body weight for resistance, and target all of your major muscle groups.
Minimize stress in your life to prevent your body from producing an excess of cortisol, a stress hormone that triggers hard-to-resist cravings for sugary, fatty foods, which can make you gain weight, particularly around your middle. Take deep, relaxing breaths, meditate or practice yoga or tai chi to manage stress in your life.
Sleep for about eight hours at night, because according to Harvard Medical School, sleep deprivation is associated with weight gain. It alters hunger-controlling hormones so you eat more and it leaves you tired and lacking energy to exercise. Additionally, you're less alert and productive during your waking hours.
- University of Southern California: Top Five Dangers of Crash Dieting
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Losing Weight
- Helpguide.org: Healthy Weight Loss & Dieting Tips
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Why strength training?
- University of New Mexico: Cortisol Connection: Tips on Managing Stress and Weight
- Harvard School of Public Health: The Obesity Prevention Source: Sleep