Diet and weight loss are hot issues for many people. According to the Boston Medical Center, an estimated 45 million Americans go on a diet each year. If you're a dieter who has a large amount of weight to lose, it's important to be patient and stay focused on your long-term goals. A loss of 70 pounds in seven months is entirely possible if you lose an average of 10 pounds per month, or 2 to 3 pounds each week.
Understanding the Numbers
Weight loss is really just a numbers game. To lose 1 pound, you must create a 3,500-calorie deficit through diet, exercise or both. If you want to average a weight loss of 10 pounds per month, you'll need to lose an average of 2 to 3 pounds each week. This means you'll have to create a daily caloric deficit of 1,000 to 1,500 to hit your goal in time.
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What to Eat
There are countless diet plans that you could try, but just as the concept behind weight loss is simple, so too are the concepts behind healthy eating. You don't need to follow a gimmicky fad diet or plan that calls for extreme restriction or food group elimination. You must be aware of your intake to ensure you're meeting your daily caloric goal, which is easier when you consume whole, fresh foods. Shop the outer rim of the grocery store and fill your cart with lean proteins, fresh produce and nutritious whole-grains. Avoid pre-packaged processed foods, which are often calorie traps loaded with preservatives, sugar and artificial flavorings.
Controlling Your Portions
Portion control can be tough, especially if you're accustomed to eating large meals or going back for seconds. Remember that you can eat the most nutritious, healthy foods, but if you're eating too much of them, you'll sabotage your weight-loss goals. Invest in a small food scale or measure out your food with measuring cups. Serve your meals on small plates and resist second helpings. Instead of eating three large meals each day, try dividing them up into five to six smaller meals. This will help you stay satisfied and adjust to smaller portions.
Exercise isn't just an important factor in overall health -- creating your daily caloric deficit could be a challenge to do with diet alone. If you weigh 250 pounds, for example, you could burn more than 500 calories just by walking briskly for one hour, which could create half of your caloric deficit for that day, in addition to improving your cardiovascular fitness. Find activities that you enjoy doing, as these will be the ones you're most likely to stick with. Join a walking club, buy a bicycle or try out a new outdoor activity with a friend. Aim for 150 total minutes of moderate-intense activity each week.
Write It Down
One of the best accountability tools you can have for your 70-pound weight loss goal is a simple notebook. Write down everything you eat, as well as the duration and type of exercises you perform each day. Keep a weekly record of your weight loss in this notebook, and if you aren't losing the 2 to 3 pounds you need to each week, go back and reevaluate your diet and exercise program. You might need to scale back your calories or bump of your workouts a bit.
- Nutrition.gov: Interested in Losing Weight?
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How to Avoid Portion Size Pitfalls to Help Manage Your Weight
- ProHealth: Exercise & Activity Calorie Calculator
- Boston Medical Center: Nutrition & Weight Management
- American College of Sports Medicine: ACSM Issues New Recommendations on Quantity and Quality of Exercise