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A number of health risks are associated with being overweight or obese, including an increased likelihood of developing coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, gallstones and even certain types of cancer. If you're trying to lose a significant amount of weight, a common goal is to lose 10 percent of your current body weight. Whether you want to lose more than that or not, losing at least 10 percent of your body weight can reduce cholesterol, increase mental focus, reduce your risk of developing diabetes and provide you with increased energy and drive.
Calculate how many pounds you need to lose by dividing your current weight by 10. For example, if you weigh 210 pounds, then divide that number by 10 for a weight loss goal of 21 pounds.
Divide the amount of weight you wish to lose into smaller goals to make it easier to see your progress and to avoid the health risks associated with rapid weight loss. As an example, instead of focusing on losing 21 pounds, focus instead on losing 3 pounds every two weeks. Though that may not seem like a significant amount of weight loss, you will reach your 10 percent goal within 14 weeks.
Reduce your calorie intake so that your body is burning more calories than it takes in. Consult your doctor or a dietitian to determine a healthy calorie intake that will assist you in meeting your weight loss goals. Divide your calories among three meals with sensible portion sizes per day, making sure that you take in at least 1,200 calories per day to prevent muscle deterioration. Keep a food diary that records the things you eat during the day so that you can identify problems with your eating habits as they occur.
Increase your activity level, either by adding an exercise routine to your daily activities or by expanding the exercises that you currently do. Add activities that you find enjoyable or that fit easily into your current lifestyle such as taking a brisk walk, cycling or jogging. Physical activity burns calories and boosts your metabolism so that your body will naturally burn more calories even when you are at rest.
Establish a support community for yourself, including friends, family members, weight loss groups and professionals such as your doctor or dietitian. This provides you with people who will encourage your weight loss and who may have similar weight loss goals themselves, which will let you exercise or discuss dietary advice together.
Check your progress on a regular basis. Evaluate how well you're keeping your commitments to increasing your activity level, reducing your caloric intake and losing weight at a healthy rate. Make adjustments to your daily schedule as needed if you find that you're having problems exercising or performing other planned tasks at certain times. You may find that your planned activities work better and are easier to perform regularly when scheduled at a different time of the day.
- Bake or broil foods instead of frying them to avoid adding fat and calories to your meals. Cook as many parts of your meals from scratch as possible so that you have more control over the specific ingredients.
- Limit meat portions to a piece the size of your palm, with a thickness equal to or less than that of your little finger. Servings of grains should be limited to approximately 1/2 cup per meal. Fruits and vegetables don't need to be restricted as severely as meats and grains because they typically contain less fat and carbohydrates.