When it comes to losing weight, there's no such thing as fast enough for most dieters. Twenty-two pounds is a lofty weight-loss goal that can take months to achieve. If you're overweight, you might drop a lot of weight at first, but you can generally only expect to lose a pound or two a week -- and this is with an intense diet and exercise program.
Examine your diet for excess calories. If you cut 500 calories a day from your diet, you'll eliminate 3,500 calories a week -- the equivalent of a pound of fat. Focus on eating small, regular meals and getting healthy snacks such as nuts and legumes. Drink water rather than sugary, high-calorie drinks, and get rid of non-nutritive foods with a high calorie content such as ice cream, potato chips and cookies. Instead, focus on eating whole grains, fruits and veggies and lean proteins such as fish.
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Increase your daily activity. Calories are a source of energy for your body, and if you use more energy, you'll burn more calories. Becoming more active also means you might be able to eat a few more calories without gaining weight. Try taking breaks every 30 minutes to stretch or walk around your office. Walk to as many places as you can, and park away from stores. Rather than trying to get all your groceries into your house in one trip, take several trips. Take time to play with your kids or pets, and incorporate movement as much as you can throughout your day.
Start a cardiovascular exercise routine. Cardiovascular exercise burns more calories than weightlifting or calisthenics, so prioritize activities such as running, cycling or jumping rope. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 75 minutes of vigorous cardio a week, or 150 minutes of moderate cardio. You might need much more if you're trying to lose weight, though. A 30-minute high-impact aerobic routine, for example, burns about 311 calories in a 180-pound person. With such a routine, you'd need about five and a half hours of exercise each week to lose a pound from exercise alone.
Incorporate strength training into your workout. Muscle burns more calories than fat, and building strong muscles can help you look more toned. Try bodyweight exercises such as pushups and squats, and lift weights such as dumbbells and kettlebells. Weight machines like the rowing machine and leg press can add an additional challenge. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least two days of strength training per week. You can speed up your muscle gain by incorporating a few minutes of strength training into each workout. For example, try carrying weights while you're walking.
Try cutting calories slowly. This can slow down your weight-loss a bit, but makes it easier to sustain your diet and reduces the risk that you'll feel deprived.
If you can burn a pound through exercise and a pound through diet a week, it will take about three months to lose 22 pounds.
- Harvard Health Publications: Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity for Everyone
- CNN Health: Cardio Burns More Fat Than Weightlifting
- Cleveland Clinic: Heart and Vascular Health Prevention
- University of Rochester Medical Center: Maintaining Weight Loss
- Columbia Health: How Many Calories Does It Take to Lose One Pound?