The beginning of the year has most people searching for the latest and greatest weight loss method. Even if weight loss isn’t your particular goal getting healthy is mostly likely on your mind. We’ve hibernated through the winter and put on the extra holiday pounds. While the extra rest and comfort food were satisfying and much needed we now find ourselves in desperate need of some motivation and discipline towards our health and weight goals.
For most healthy adults losing weight should not be a hard fought battle. Most of us should be able to lose an encouraging amount, even several pounds, within just a month. And the beauty of it is a failing fad diet isn’t required! Fad diets only perpetuate the weight loss roller coaster by wreaking havoc on our metabolism and setting us up with unrealistic expectations that just can’t be met long term. So what’s the secret method of effective weight loss? When we tell you it won’t be a surprise. It’s what you’ve heard your whole life; healthy diet and exercise.
Don’t close the browser just yet! This method of losing weight loss doesn’t have to be difficult. Most healthy individuals should be able to lose 1-2 pounds per week resulting in an 8 pound weight loss a month by reducing their calorie intake by approximately 500 to 1000 calories a day. This may sound like a lot but for most this is cutting out dessert or sodas, or choosing a healthy lunch option over fatty fast food. Evaluate your daily food intake and see where excess calories are being consumed that aren’t necessary.
This calorie deficit is based on the fact that one pound of fat is roughly equal to 3,500 calories. Divide this number by 7 and that gives you the number of calories you should reduce your diet by each day to lose around one pound a week. When you include moderate exercise 3-5 times a week this will only give you an even great calorie deficit resulting in more weight loss and overall improved health. Losing 1 to 2 pounds per week doesn’t sound like very much, but multiply that over one year and you’ve lost 52 to 104 pounds! That’s impressive.
Still not convinced this is a goal worth setting? Maybe this will convince you. Just a 5 percent weight loss can substantially reduce a person’s risk factors for chronic disease according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That means someone weighing 200 pounds will be improving their health by losing just 10 pounds.
If it is this simple why do more people not follow this plan? Todays society is based on immediate satisfaction. We live in a culture of 24/7 where we can gain instant access to just about anything we want at any time of the day. We can order something online and it can be at our door in less than 24 hours. This has bled over into our health and fitness mindset. If we can’t drop significant weight in a week and achieve our goals in a month we determine that it isn’t worth our time. While rapid weight loss methods do exist they are not sustainable and only result in regaining the weight that was lost.
By determining to be disciplined and put in the effort significant and lasting weight loss can be achieved. Another motivating factor is health. Making your overall health the goal of weight loss rather than appearance you may be more willing to implement new health lifestyle habits. Find the motivation that is right for you and set your mind to tackle simple and achievable goals. It is a resolution you won’t regret.
Trista K. Best MPH, RD, LDN