When it comes to losing weight, it helps when you set up manageable goals -- like taking two months to get the weight off. But that also means making sure that your weight loss goals are realistic. To ensure that you lose fat and not muscle on your weight-loss plan, keep your rate of weight loss to no more than 2 pounds a week, which equals a grand total of 8 pounds over the two-month period. A combination of diet and exercise can help you reach your goals.
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Eat Fewer Calories
To lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn. One pound of fat contains 3,500 calories. To lose 1 pound each week on your two-month weight- loss plan, you need to decrease your daily intake by 500 calories. In general, most women can successfully lose weight by restricting their eating plans to 1,000 to 1,200 calories each day, while men and women who weigh more than 165 pounds can lose weight by consuming 1,200 to 1,600 calories daily, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
Go for Low-Energy-Dense Foods
Cutting back on calories might leave you feeling hungry, and this may thwart your weight-loss efforts. To help you stick with your two-month plan, eat foods that are not only low in calories, but filling, too. Such low-energy-dense foods are those that come in large serving sizes but are still low in calories. For example, a grilled chicken salad is a low-energy-dense food as it can contain less than 200 calories, while a fried chicken sandwich isn't because it can have more than 500 calories. Other low-energy dense foods are fruits and vegetables, lean sources of protein, whole grains, and low-fat or nonfat dairy products.
Meet Your Daily Fiber Needs
Eating more than 14 grams of fiber a day for more than two days might help you lose weight, according to a review article published in the May 2001 issue of the "Nutrition Reviews" journal. Fiber in food satisfies hunger and keeps you feeling full longer so you eat less. To help with your two-month weight-loss plan, aim to eat more than 25 grams of fiber each day. Foods high in fiber include whole-grains, fruits, vegetables and beans.
Burn More Calories
In addition to eating fewer calories, burning more calories through exercise contributes to weight loss. Burning an extra 500 calories each day can help you lose one additional pound each week. For example, a 155-pound person burns 457 calories during a moderate, aerobics dance class, or 267 calories walking for an hour at a rate of 3.5 miles per hour, according to the AceFitness.org physical activity calorie calculator. If you have a hard time fitting regular exercise into your day, burn extra calories adding activity throughout your day. For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator, park at the far end of the parking lot or stand while talking on the phone.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- FamilyDoctor.org: What It Takes to Lose Weight
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: Healthy Diet
- AceFitness.org: Tools and Calculators
- Nutrition Reviews: Dietary Fiber and Weight Regulation
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Eat More, Weigh Less?
- MedlinePlus: High-Fiber Foods
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Low-Energy-Dense Foods and Weight Management: Cutting Calories While Controlling Hunger
- American College of Sports Medicine: For All-Day Metabolism Boost, Try Interval Training