If you have a special occasion coming up, such as a high school reunion or a family gathering, you may be tempted to try to lose weight in a hurry to fit into a smaller clothing size. The amount of time that it will take you depends on your current size, as well as how dedicated you are to losing weight and toning up. Do not start any weight loss program without talking to your doctor first.
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What is A Clothing Size?
Losing 10 to 15 lbs. will make it likely that you can start buying clothing in the next size down. Losing this amount of weight may reduce your hip size by 1 to 2 inches. This depends on your personal body shape, where you tend to carry your extra weight and your current size. If you wear a large size, you may need to lose more weight to lose a pant size than you would if you wore a small size.
How Long is Sensible?
The safest and most effective rate of weight loss is between 1 and 2 lbs. per week. If you lose more than this each week, you might not be eating enough, putting you at risk of nutritional deficiencies. Also, rapid weight loss may raise your risk of developing gallstones, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. It may take you up to 15 weeks, or nearly four months, to lose one clothing size if you lose 1 lb. per week, or as little as 5 weeks if you lose 2 lbs. per week.
Losing weight is a matter of mathematics: one lb. equals 3,500 calories. If you want to lose one lb. per week, you need to burn off 3,500 more calories than you consume. You can do this by cutting your calorie consumption by about 500 calories each day, by exercising to burn off 500 additional calories per day, or by doing a combination of these things. If you consume 500 fewer calories and also burn off 500 additional calories each day, you should lose closer to 2 lbs. weekly.
Practical Lifestyle Changes
The easiest way to cut and burn off calories is to make small lifestyle changes. Replacing full-fat dairy products with low-fat products, for example, will save you calories without having a large effect on the taste of your food. One cup of whole milk contains 150 calories, while a cup of fat-free milk contains only 90. Make the effort to eat more fruits and vegetables, which fill you up without adding a large number of calories, and also make you less likely to binge on high-calorie snacks because of hunger. For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 baby carrots and one tbsp. of hummus provides you with just 75 calories, while a small bowl of pretzels contains over double that, at 162 calories. Eat lean sources of protein, such as white meat poultry, fish and legumes, instead of fat-filled red meat. Fit a daily walk or other exercise into your day; three 10-minute exercise sessions are just as effective as one 30-minute session each day.
- HelpGuide.org: Healthy Weight Loss & Dieting Tips: How to Lose Weight and Keep it Off
- "Good Housekeeping": Drop a Dress Size in 6 Weeks
- FamilyDoctor.org: What it Takes to Lose Weight
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse; Gallstones; July 2007
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Rethink Your Drink; Feb. 15, 2011
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Eat More, Weigh Less; Feb. 15, 2011