Because metabolism tends to decrease with age, women in their 20s may find it less difficult than older women to effectively shed pounds. However, a reduced-calorie diet and regular exercise program are still essential for women in their 20s to effectively meet their weight-loss goals.
Lowering your current intake by 500 to 1,000 calories daily is an excellent place to start, suggests the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Doing so often helps you drop 1 to 2 pounds weekly. Weight-loss diets containing 1,200 to 1,600 calories a day are often appropriate for women in their 20s. However, if you're losing more than 2 pounds weekly, slightly boost your intake or seek supervision from a health care provider.
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Boosting protein intake helps you shed pounds because protein helps fill you up and increases energy expenditure, according to a review published in 2008 in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition." The Institute of Medicine reports it's safe to obtain up to 35 percent of your calorie needs from protein, which equates to 105 grams per day when eating 1,200 calories and 140 grams of protein when consuming 1,600 calories a day. Choose lean meats, seafood, unbreaded poultry, egg whites, soy products, seitan, low-fat dairy foods, nuts, seeds and legumes. Remember to reduce your intake of carbs and fats to make room for the additional protein without going over your daily calorie goals.
Limit Junk Food
Limiting -- or avoiding -- junk food helps you effectively lose weight. A good place to start is by cutting out soda, which often contains 150 calories per can, and other sugary drinks. Replace sugary drinks with water or unsweetened tea. Cut out potato chips, sweets, baked goods, fried foods and refined grains such as white rice and white bread.
Like protein, fiber also helps fill you up during weight loss. Furthermore, fiber calories aren't fully absorbed by your body, making it easier to cut calories for weight loss. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 suggest women aim to consume 25 grams of fiber daily. Choose fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, seeds and nuts. A 2009 review published in "Nutrition Reviews" reports that fiber supplementation enhances weight loss. However, never take dietary supplements without first consulting with your doctor.
One of the best ways to lose weight and reduce unwanted body fat is to exercise on a regular basis. Choose a combination of resistance training, such as weightlifting, and cardiovascular exercises. The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans suggest adults participate in 2.5 to five hours of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise weekly, and strength train -- working all major muscle groups -- at least two times each week.
- American Council on Exercise: Is It True That Metabolism Decreases With Age?
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Losing Weight
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: How Are Overweight and Obesity Treated?
- The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Protein, Weight Management and Satiety
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes: Macronutrients
- U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010
- Nutrition Reviews: Health Benefits of Dietary Fiber
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Summary