If you're looking to slim down, controlling the amount of weight that you plan to lose in a week is a smart idea. Two pounds is the maximum recommended amount of weight to lose in a week, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. By aiming to limit your weight loss to 2 lbs. each week, you will more effectively lose excess body fat, rather than water weight, and you have a greater chance of keeping it off in the long run.
One pound of body weight is equal to 3,500 calories; therefore, to guarantee a 2-lb. loss each week you will need to net a deficit of 1,000 calories every day. Combining diet with exercise to reduce your calories is generally more effective than trying to eliminate that many calories just from your diet. Aim to eat 500 fewer calories per day while also burning an additional 500 through exercise.
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Eliminating 500 calories from your daily meal plan can sound daunting, but making a few simple swaps can go a long way. Consume foods that you can eat in large quantities without racking up the calories, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, lean protein and whole grains. The American Dietetic Association recommends basing eating habits around fruits and vegetables, and with a little creativity you can prepare low-calorie meals and snacks that are decadent rather than restrictive. For example, add apples, nuts and cinnamon to leftover brown rice for a sweet treat. Pair vegetables like carrots, bell peppers and celery with low-fat dips and salad dressings instead of eating potato chips. And make homemade creamy smoothies with low-fat milk, fresh strawberries and bananas rather than consuming ice cream.
Burning 500 calories through exercise every day will also help to guarantee a 2-lb. weight loss each week. High-impact aerobics can burn up to 600 calories per hour, according to Harvard Health Publications, depending on your height and weight. Likewise, an hour of tennis can give you a deficit of 600 calories, and running at a pace of 5 mph, or a 12-minute mile, can possibly burn close to 700 calories in 60 minutes.
Making positive changes to your lifestyle can also help you lose 2 lbs. per week. Aspects such as getting enough sleep at night, drinking eight to 10 glasses of water throughout the day to stay hydrated, finding healthy ways to relieve work or family stress and avoiding an over-consumption of alcoholic beverages can elevate your energy levels and mental outlook, which will be beneficial in staying on track to achieve your body and fitness goals.