The word is in: it takes a caloric deficit of 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound of fat. Although this might sound like a lot and make you roll your eyes, achieving this is not rocket scientry. Weight-loss approaches that incorporate both exercise and diet are most successful for long-term, healthy weight maintenance, states the National Weight Control Registry. So what are you waiting for, make those changes and change your life.
How Much and How Fast
A safe weight-loss rate is 1 to 2 pounds per week, according to the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute (NHBLI). This means creating a daily deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories. They recommend initially losing 10 percent of body weight and continuing to lose weight once you have maintained this loss for at least six months. This moderate pace of weight loss has been shown to help with long-term maintenance.
Modify Your Diet
Taking time to enjoy your meals, reducing portion sizes and trimming fat off of poultry and meat can reduce your caloric intake. The NHBLI recommends increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables as these are naturally lower in calories and high in fiber, which helps with satiation. Eliminate hidden calorie sources such as sugar-filled beverages as 100 extra calories per day can add up to a ten-pound weight gain in one year.
Increase Physical Activity
Exercising expends energy and contributes to your calorie deficit. Cardiovascular activities such as running, swimming and walking are effective ways to burn calories, while resistance training strengthens muscle and changes body composition over time. Compared to fat, muscle burns more calories to sustain itself, which benefits weight loss.
Enjoy Weight-Loss Benefits
If you are overweight, losing as little as 10 percent of body weight can have tremendous health benefits. Excess weight can increase the risks for cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, type 2 Diabetes and certain types of cancer.
Know the Risks
Successful weight loss comes as a result of creating negative energy balance by taking in fewer calories than you expend. However, there are risks involved with extremely low-calorie diets including nutrient deficiencies, slowed metabolism and a tendency to binge, which in turn causes weight gain. Women should consume no fewer than 1,200 calories, and men no fewer than 1,500 calories, per day.
- National Weight Control Registry: Research Findings
- National Heart, Blood and Lung Association: Aim for a Healthy Weight
- Understanding Fitness: How Exercise Fuels Health and Fights Disease; Julie K. Silver and Christopher Morin
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Ways to Shave Your Calories
- Nutrition: Real People, Real Choices; Susan Hewlings and Denis Medeiros
- Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.