How to Lose Weight for Beginners

by Alexis Aiger

About Alexis Aiger

Alexis Aiger has been writing professionally since 2010 on parenting, relationship and mental health topics. She has a master's degree in mental health counseling from Walden University and a bachelor's degree in psychology from Portland State University. She has worked as a counselor and case manager for several years.

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Whether you have struggled with your weight your entire life or only recently, losing pounds and inches can prove difficult if you're clueless about how to safely go about it. Fad diets and quick fixes that promise unrealistic results often fail and can be discouraging. If you're motivated, and have a healthy dose of perseverance and a little patience, you'll soon discover that losing weight is not rocket scientry.

Step 1

Make a commitment to yourself to lose weight. Before you begin your weight-loss regimen, make sure you truly want to and are ready to lose weight. Attempting to lose weight due to external pressure will not yield the same permanent results as losing weight for your own self-esteem and pleasure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you also need to make sure the timing is right. You cannot fully dedicate yourself if you must attend to other major life issues, such as an upcoming marriage or financial problems.

Step 2

Set realistic goals. Focus not only on your ending goal of losing a certain amount of weight, but also on process goals that pertain to habits you will change to reach your outcome goal. An example of an outcome goal would be to lose 40 lbs., while an example of a process goal would be to exercise regularly. The process goals change your habits, which will keep the weight off for good. You may also find it beneficial to set smaller goals along your weight-loss journey. Aim for a weekly weight loss of 1 to 2 lbs. and celebrate those successes along the way to your end goal.

Step 3

Consume fewer calories. Ultimately the amount of weight you lose depends on the caloric deficiency you create. Your body requires a certain amount of calories to live and function at your activity level. If you consume the same amount of calories, you will maintain your current weight. If you consume more, you will gain weight. You want to eat less than what your body needs to live and maintain your activity level to lose weight. According to HelpGuide.org, you need to eat 500 calories less than your typical diet to lose one pound of fat per week.

Step 4

Choose healthier foods. HelpGuide.org recommends eating more fruits and vegetable as snacks and as side dishes, eating complex carbohydrates such as whole wheat bread, eating lean protein like beans or nuts, drinking more water and taking a daily multivitamin. All of these healthy choices help you feel fuller longer and give you more energy, while ensuring adequate nutrition and assisting with your weight loss. HelpGuide.org further advises eliminating soda from your diet. Soft drinks contain a high amount of sugar and empty calories that quickly add up to a large amount of your daily recommended calories.

Step 5

Perform 30 to 60 minute of moderate cardiovascular exercise on five days of the week and schedule strength training on two days, as recommended by the CDC. Start slowly and gradually increase your exercise duration and intensity. Cardio can include walking briskly, bicycling, or swimming at a pace during which you can still talk, while strength training should include exercises that target all major muscle groups.

Warning

  • Consult a doctor before beginning a weight-loss regimen, particularly if you've been inactive or have an injury or health condition.

Photo Credits:

  • BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.