Most health professionals, including experts at the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute, recommend 1 to 2 lbs. per week as a safe rate of weight loss. Other experts recommend a more moderate pace of 1/2 to 1 lb. per week. Under these guidelines, you could safely lose 3 and 1/2 to 14 lbs. in 50 days, depending on your specific approach.
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The weight-loss energy balance equation dictates that you burn 3,500 calories more than you consume in order to lose 1 lb. To lose weight over the course of 50 days, combine a diet and exercise program allowing you to go into negative-energy balance. For example, burning 250 calories daily through exercise combined with a 250-calorie reduction in intake can help you lose 1 lb. per week, or about 7 lbs. in 50 days. You can adjust diet and exercise to change the pace of weight loss.
If you have a weight-loss goal in mind, but don’t see the number on the scale change as much as you'd like, consider the variables that can affect weight. These factors include water fluctuation in your body and the specific conditions under which you weigh yourself. If you are engaging in a consistent strength-training regimen, consider that you may be gaining muscle, which weighs more than fat. Look for alternative ways of tracking your progress, such as measuring inches lost or assessing body composition.
When attempting to lose weight under a strict time frame, don't reduce calories to extremes. Critically low-calorie diets -- fewer than 1,200 calories per day -- can harm health. Inadequate calories can cause nutrient deficiencies, slowed metabolism and binges, which lead to weight gain. The safe weight-loss rate of 1/2 to 2 lbs. per week was established based on programs that incorporated moderate, consistent exercise and sensible diet changes that do not jeopardize nutrient adequacy.
Although a 50-day plan is a good jump start for weight loss, the most recommended approach for weight maintenance is adopting a lifelong plan. According to the National Weight Control Registry, which tracks statistics for individuals who have maintained long-term weight loss, more than 90 percent of people exercised one hour or more per day and modified their diets. Use the first 50 days of your weight loss-plan as a foundation upon which to build lifelong healthy habits.
- National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute: Maintain a Healthy Weight:
- National Weight Control Registry: Research Findings
- "Nutrition: Real People, Real Choices"; Susan Hewlings and Denis Medeiros; 2008