Before you begin any weight loss program, it is important that you draw up a specific plan to help you stay on track. As a prelude to making your weight loss plan, you will need to do a little homework.
First, you will need to set a weight loss goal. In other words, what specific weight do you want to get to and when is your target date for reaching your goal? To arrive at this number, find out what your ideal lean body weight should be for someone your age and sex and multiply that number by 1.15 for men and 1.2 for women. This will give you your ideal body weight which includes your lean body mass plus an acceptable body fat percentage.
Second, a determination of your resting metabolic rate would be very helpful. Your resting metabolic rate is the number of calories you burn at rest. This information will assist in determining your optimal calorie intake and give you an idea of how slow or fast your metabolism is. Your calorie-needs are the amount of calories you need to maintain your weight. To lose weight, you must burn fewer calories than you take in. For example, 1 pound of body weight is roughly equal to 3500 calories. So if you wish to lose 1 pound of weight per week, you must reduce your calorie-needs by 3500 calories a week or 500 calories a day. To lose about 2 pounds a week, reduce your daily calorie-needs intake by 1000 calories.
Once you know how many calories to aim for, you can create an eating plan to help you lose weight. Write down a plan for your meals and a shopping list and stick to it. Without a written list you are vulnerable to impulse purchases, which torpedo weight loss. Plan to shop after you've eaten and not when you're hungry.
Exercise is essential for weight loss, diet-motivation and future weight maintenance. Make a realistic exercise plan for yourself and ideally find an exercise buddy to join you. The weight loss fitness program you choose to do - vigorous activities such as running or moderate-intensity activities such as walking or household work - will increase the number of calories your body uses. The key to successful weight control and improved overall health is making physical activity a part of your daily life. An excellent exercise regimen is outlined in the Metamorphic Weight Loss system.
For the greatest overall health benefits, experts recommend that you do 20 to 30 minutes of vigorous physical activity three or more times a week and some type of muscle strengthening activity, such as weight resistance, and stretching at least twice a week. When including physical activity in your weight-loss program, you should choose a variety of activities that can be done regularly and are enjoyable for you. Also, if you have not been physically active, you should see your doctor before you start, especially if you are older than 40 years of age, very overweight, or have medical problems.
Instead of weighing yourself once a week, a better way to track your progress is to measure your waist and thigh circumference. A more important concept than "weight loss" is body composition. Body composition is the ratio of lean body weight versus weight from body fat. Ideally, you want to see a reduction in your overall body fat while you increase lean muscle mass. A recent ABC News report indicated that maintaining 5 pounds of lean muscle will burn over 96,000 calories. That amounts to about 26 lbs of weight loss.