Weight lost too quickly is initially water weight, which is easily gained back. Losing more than 1 to 2 pounds a week may lead to loss of muscle mass needed to help maintain your basal metabolic rate. BMR is the rate at which your body uses energy to support the functions that keep you alive, such as keeping your heart beating and your lungs breathing, according to McKinley Health Center. A reduction in BMR defeats your weight-loss efforts by slowing or preventing additional weight loss. Losing more than 1 to 2 pounds a week may also increase your risk of potentially serious health problems.
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The main goal in a weight-loss program is to consume fewer calories than you expend. To achieve this, combine a low-calorie diet and exercise. The average person consumes about 2,000 calories a day, which is the amount burned performing most people's typical daily activities. Dropping 500 to 1,000 calories a day with diet and exercise will lead to an overall loss of 3,500 to 7,000 calories a week; the number of calories it takes to burn off 1 to 2 pounds of fat.
Most rapid weight-loss diets achieve their goal with an intake of calories well below the recommended limit. Low-calorie diets do not provide the nutrients needed to maintain health. Your body thinks it is starving and may take the nutrients it needs for survival, such as protein, from muscle tissue. This leads to muscle wasting and undesirable changes in body composition. According to the Weight-Control Information Network of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, losing more than 3 pounds per week increases your risk of developing gallstones. WIN also warns that prolonged diets of 800 calories a day may cause heart problems.
The best way to burn calories is to exercise and eat a healthy, low-calorie, low-fat diet. Exercising three to four times a week is recommended, along with a diet that is primarily plant-based with low-fat dairy products and lean meats. To lose weight, remember the simple rule that you need to burn more calories than you consume. According to the University of Minnesota, lowering caloric intake beyond 1,800 to 2,000 a day for men and below 1,200 to 1,500 per day for women is unsafe.
Consult with a doctor before beginning any weight-loss plan. If you are obese, a doctor may recommend a lower-calorie diet that allows you to lose weight faster than 1 to 2 pounds. a week. For most people, losing 1 to 2 pounds a week will allow your body time to adjust to the loss of weight, and give you time to establish healthy exercise and dietary habits.