How Much Weight Can I Lose in a Year?

Young Man Running Up Stairs
With proper diet and regular exercise, you can lose a lot of pounds in a year. (Image: Chad Baker/Jason Reed/Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Trying to lose a lot of weight in a short period of time is a bad idea. It's not a healthy approach to weight loss. Worse, if you lose weight fast the odds are very high that you will simply gain back the pounds you lost. So if you are thinking of weight loss in terms of a year, you are on the right track. Slow weight loss can be achieved in a healthy manner and you'll build habits that will help you keep the weight off permanently.

Lose Weight Slowly

preparing food
Proper nutrition combind with exercise can help you to lose weight. (Image: Liv Friis-Larsen/iStock/Getty Images)

You must run a deficit of 3,500 calories to lose one pound. Your rate of weight loss should be no greater than 1 to 2 lbs. per week on average. This is a goal you can achieve by combining healthy eating and moderate exercise. You do not need to sacrifice nutrition or overdo the exercise. A pound or two seems small. However, at the end of one year you will have lost 52 to 104 lbs.

Exercise

Competitive Swimming
Swimming is a good cardio exercise for weight loss. (Image: Michael Braun/iStock/Getty Images)

For good physical and cardiovascular fitness, the average person needs at least 2-1/2 hours per week of exercise such as running, swimming or another aerobic activity. If you want to drop a lot of weight, you should work out more. Moderate exercise is best. For example, a steady jog at 5 mph will burn off the calories without the injury risks of running harder. Including strength training such as weightlifting to build muscle helps you lose weight as well. Muscle burns more calories than fat tissue, so adding a few pounds will actually help take off the fat.

Diet

hand reject a bottle of beer
Reduce your intake of alcohol. (Image: ronstik/iStock/Getty Images)

Once your body has stored calories as fat, the only way to get rid of the excess is to use it. If you continue to consume more calories than you use, no amount of exercise will cause you to lose weight. For starters, Best Running Tips suggests you reduce your intake of alcohol, fast food and high-calorie foods like cake and candy. Start a food diary so you can record your food intake and identify problem areas. Make fruit and vegetables a bigger part of your daily diet. To develop healthy, low-calorie meal plans, take advantage of a diet plan geared specifically for people who want to reduce weight. Pick a plan based on the USDA or United States Department of Agriculture's MyPlate -- an updated set of recommendations that stem from the former USDA Food Pyramid.

Manage Your Life

woman and Personal Trainer in gym, with dumbbells
Exercising on a regular basis is essential. (Image: kzenon/iStock/Getty Images)

Evaluating your own personality and behavior is a big step toward successful weight loss. People often eat when fatigue or a social situation triggers overeating. Others respond to stress, loneliness or other strong emotions by eating. If you identify these triggers, you'll be able to better manage your eating behavior. It's also essential that you exercise on a regular basis. Losing 50 to 100 lbs. in a year in a healthy way is not only possible, but the slow, steady rate of weight loss is actually the best approach. To be successful, you'll need to make a commitment to long term changes in your eating and exercise lifestyle.

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