Weight loss requires work. You must change your eating habits, exercise more and learn ways to deal productively with stress. You can do this work more easily by seeking incremental changes to lose 50 pounds. Instead of seeking fast, instant results, settle for a more gradual loss. You'll also be more likely to keep the weight off, as you establish healthy habits for the long term.
How Weight Loss Works
You must create a caloric deficit to lose weight. Since 3,500 calories equals a pound of fat, a deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories per day logically helps you lose a pound or two per week. To create this rate, though, you must often take rather aggressive measures that you may find unsustainable.
There's nothing magical about the 1- to 2-pound-per-week, weight-loss rate, though. If you find that you're often hungry or stressing out about going to the gym, you can settle for a more gradual rate of loss — say, 1/2 pound per week — and make subtler changes that will get lasting results.
You'll only need to create a 250-calorie deficit to achieve this rate of loss. Even sedentary people, who burn few calories per day, can afford to trim this number of calories from their daily intake, or to trim 125 calories and burn an additional 125 calories through exercise.
An Easy Diet Plan for Weight Loss
Quick diet plans often challenge you to give up all candy, baked treats, refined grains and saturated fat. Making these changes all at once requires incredible willpower and dedication. Failing to meet these goals could cause frustration and might cause you to give up on weight loss altogether.
But, if you're looking to trim only 125 to 250 calories per day, you can alter your eating habits in small — almost unnoticeable — ways. Eliminate one 12-ounce soda to save 151 calories; eat 25 fewer cheese crackers at snack time to save 150 calories; skip a 1-ounce slice of cheese on your sandwich to save 114 calories.
Other ways to trim calories include eating a whole-wheat English muffin instead of a large white bagel; ordering a baked potato instead of french fries; grilling chicken instead of sauteing it in butter; and dipping carrot sticks in hummus instead of chips.
As your weight-loss journey progresses, you'll learn to incorporate more changes until most of your meals contain lean proteins, vegetables and whole grains. Gradual weight loss enables you to take time to figure out what to order in restaurants, how to trim calories from favorite recipes and how to get your family used to the changes.
Learn to Appreciate Exercise
Instead of treating exercise as a necessary evil to spur weight loss, make it fun by participating in activities you enjoy. Work your way up to the 150 minutes per week of exercise the CDC recommends for good health. You may even learn to like exercise so much that eventually you'll add more to accelerate your weight loss.
A brisk walk, a hike in the woods, snow-shoeing with friends or a dance fitness class all offer fun ways to burn calories. These activities can feel more like a pastime rather than a chore. If you simply cannot carve out the time to exercise, think of small ways that you can bring in movement to your day. A brief walk after breakfast, strolling while you're on the phone, parking farther out in the parking lot and choosing the stairs instead of the elevator will help you burn extra calories.
Building some muscle also makes weight loss less of a chore. Lean tissue burns a greater number of calories at rest so that your metabolism doesn't slow down so much when your size shrinks. You don't need to heave heavy weights on the gym floor to acquire lean mass. Squat in your living room, do push-ups off your kitchen counter and lunge down your hallway for easy, at-home options.
Lifestyle Changes to Lose 50 Pounds
Adequate sleep makes dietary changes and exercise easier because you're rejuvenated and focused. The more fatigued you are the more likely you'll reach for sugary treats and caloric energy drinks to perk you up. Lack of sleep can also interfere with your hunger hormones and make you too tired to exercise. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that you get seven to nine hours per night to promote good health and a healthy weight.
Diminishing stress can also make weight loss easier. You might habitually reach for food when anxious or overwhelmed. Make the easy choice of calling a friend, taking a bath or going for a walk instead. Turn to other non-food rewards and outlets such as writing in a journal, learning a new hobby or taking a yoga class.
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: Weight-loss and Nutrition Myths
- Shape: Ask the Diet Doctor: How Many Calories Should I Eat to Lose Weight?
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Losing Weight
- Healthaliciousness: Cheese Crackers, Soda, Cheese
- American Council on Exercise: Weight Loss: Tipping the Scales In the Right Direction
- National Sleep Foundation: Nutrition, Exercise and Sleep
- Psychology Today: Why We Gain Weight When We’re Stressed—And How Not To
- National Sleep Foundation: National Sleep Foundation Recommends New Sleep Times