If you want to walk a mile to lose weight, don't expect to lose a single pound for at least a month and a half -- though that estimate may or may not be accurate for you. Saying how many pounds you can expect to lose doing a certain activity for a certain amount of time might seem to be cut-and-dried, but there are a number of reasons why it's difficult to estimate how much weight you will lose across the board. First of all, everyone's body is different, and everyone puts in varying amounts of effort. With that in mind, take a look at the things that can affect the amount of weight you may lose, and how you may be able to ramp up your efforts.
Your Current Weight
Losing weight involves burning calories, but the number of calories you burn during any given activity is going to depend, at least in part, on your current body weight. If a 125-pound person walks for 30 minutes at a leisurely pace, for example, she'll burn about 120 calories in 30 minutes. A 155-pound person will burn 149 calories during that same walk, and a 185-pound person will burn roughly 178 calories, according to Harvard Medical School.
The Speed You Walk
Intensity is also a big factor in determining how many calories you'll burn during any given activity. According to that same Harvard Medical School calorie chart, the 155-pound person will burn 149 calories per 30 minutes walking at a 3.5-mph pace -- or roughly a 17-minute mile. If she speeds up, she'll burn more calories. Walking 1 mile at 4 mph -- which should take her 15 minutes -- she will burn 83.5 calories.
Tallying Calories From Walking
Let's use that example of the 155-pound person to estimate how long it would take to lose 1 pound. To lose 1 pound, you have to burn 3,500 calories more than you're consuming. If the 155-pound person walks 1 mile every day at 4 mph -- and eats neither more nor less than she normally eats -- she'll lose 1 pound after 42 days. That might sound like a lot of effort for not a lot of payoff -- but you have some options for losing weight faster.
Increase Your Efforts
The first way to increase your efforts is pretty simple: walk for a longer period of time. Walking for an additional 15 to 17 minutes will help you double your calorie burn. You may not be ready to walk faster than a 4- to 4.5-mph pace, but over time you'll get in better shape, which will allow you to increase your intensity by walking faster -- which will help you burn even more calories.
Also consider adding strength training into your routine two or three days a week, doing situps, pullups, push-ups, lunges and squats to start. Muscle burns calories more efficiently than fat, so getting stronger will also help you lose weight faster.
Watch Your Diet
Another way to slim down faster: cut calories. Try starting small and cutting out 200 calories a day. Things like sodas, snack bars, bagels and fast-food breakfast sandwiches all contain about 200 calories and could easily be cut from your diet.