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Weight Loss: Facts and Figures

Updated on February 9, 2018
Ladymermaid profile image

Mother of two daughters and grandmother of seven, I strive to achieve an optimum level of health and happiness. Life is all about balance.


Design Your Fitness Plan

There are a few simple tips to follow that may help to make your weight loss plan just a wee bit easier to follow. Knowing these cues and tricks can help to increase the odds of your meeting your goal.

It's like going on a vacation. Some people race like crazy to get to where they are going and forget to enjoy the time spent getting there. They can't wait to get out of the car and this same feeling can apply to losing weight so don't place too much emphasis on the end goal. If the healthy living principles you practice become a part of your daily living then your weight should in the future be able to maintain itself.

The fact is that losing weight isn't always easy and especially if there are quite a few extra pounds that have managed to pack on over time. This is where a little preplanning before you choose the diet plan you will use can help. It will help set the tone and help insure that losing those extra pounds will be a little easier than it might otherwise be.

It is common knowledge that in order to lose weight you must burn more calories than you consume. You can do this in two ways, firstly by consuming less calories and secondly by increasing the amount of physical activity that you participate in. Most successful programs are accomplished with a combination of these two factors.

Including both an exercise program and a healthy diet plan helps to firm the muscle as you lose the weight. It also serves another purpose. The stronger your muscle is the more efficient your body is at burning calories so when you exercise you in effect help to speed up your body's metabolism. Muscle burns more calories than fat does.

Most of Us Know Our Goal Weight

How Many Pounds do You Think You Need to Lose?

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Know the facts

Make your weight loss program one that you are going to be able to follow through on. In other words know the facts and figures to insure that you set realistic goals to accomplish.

The best way to find your starting point for losing weight is to use a calorie calculator to determine how many calories you should be consuming each day. This will give you an accurate starting point to begin your diet plan. A heavier body logically requires more calories to perform basic functions than a smaller one will.

The recommended daily calorie intake for moderately active women is 2000 calories per day while the recommendation for men lies between 2500 and 2800 calories per day. It all depends on how physically active you are. The average healthy calorie intake figures during dieting are 1500 calories per day for women and between 2000 and 2200 per day for men. Again these figures all depend on how active your lifestyle is or how vigorous your exercise program will be.

Keep in mind that there are approximately 3500 calories in each pound of fat on your body. This means that you will have to burn 3500 calories for each pound of fat that you wish to lose. Reducing your calorie intake by 500 to 1000 calories per day will result in a one to two pound weight loss per week. This is a very realistic goal to set for yourself.

Muscle burns more calories than fat. According to WebMD even a resting body follows this rule. Ten pounds of muscle at rest will burn about 50 calories per day while ten pounds of fat would burn 20 calories in that same length of time. Times those figures by your body weight and it adds up. As you build more muscle your body will become more efficient at losing weight. It's kind of a nice thought to keep in mind as you progress.

Quality Protein is Important

Consume Quality Protein to Increase Your Energy and Build Muscle Strength
Consume Quality Protein to Increase Your Energy and Build Muscle Strength | Source

YoYo Dieting and the Diet Plateau Can be Frustrating

Generally around the third week of dieting your body begins to realize that you are losing weight. It mistakenly believes that you are starving and it takes a protectionist stance against allowing this to occur.

Your body slows down your metabolism to make weight loss more difficult. It also begins to make better use of the calories that you do ingest and causes your brain to send you messages to make you feel hungrier. This event is known as the diet plateau. You feel like you are starving. Your weight loss slows down or stops and you become frustrated with the dieting process.

This diet plateau period is the time when most dieters abandon their diet plans. For yo yo dieters this is bad news because studies indicate that the body remembers this past information and during future dieting attempts will kick into its protectionist state sooner. This is the reason why rapid weight loss programs or YoYo diet plans do not work in the long term. They may actually be making losing weight a more difficult process than it would otherwise be.

So how do you get around this diet plateau?

There actually is a way to trick your body into not noticing that it is losing weight. This new method of dieting is known as cycling calories or as calorie shifting. You create a period of dieting days intermingled with non-dieting days. You create your pattern and then change it on a regular basis to continuously confuse your body into believing that everything is okay.

You might eat regular for two days, diet for one, eat regular for two, and then diet again for one. Then flip to two days of dieting, three regular food days, one day of dieting, and two days of regular foods.

You can even alternate the food groups that you eat throughout the day to add to the overall confusion. You could consume protein for one meal and then carbs for the next one. Then flip this system on the next diet day so that your body falls into a false sense of some new form of confusing food intake that it now mistakes for normal.

The trick to this form of dieting is self control. You have to insure that you do not over eat on your non-diet days. You must not consume any more calories than you normally would have on these non-dieting days.

Do You YoYo Diet?

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Stay Away From Soda and Other Sugary Drinks

Those calories add up so be wise in the ones you choose to ingest. High quality food will be more satisfying to your body and provide you with greater energy than that sugar rush will.

  • Avoid the pop and drink your eight glasses of water instead. Flavor your water with natural berries and fruits.
  • If you are craving a burst of flavor drink hot or iced herbal tea. Tea generally contains zero calories and many contain essential nutrients and antioxidants as well.
  • Eat 5 small meals rather than 3 large ones. This will help to keep you feeling more satisfied and help to stimulate your metabolism.
  • Skip the weighty sauces and gravies and use low or no calorie flavorings instead. Mustard, vinegar, lemon, garlic, ginger and other seasonings and herbs can spice up your meal without adding extra calories.
  • Consume quality protein in eggs or lean meats.
  • Avoid fatty foods. Your body does not view these as an immediate foot source and instead stores the fat for future use leaving you feeling hungry shortly after consuming it.
  • Snack wisely.

A Physical Fitness Program Doesn't Have to be Work


Make Your Exercise Program a Fun One

Do not set unrealistic expectations for yourself. It is important to develop an exercise program that you will want to succeed at. There are hundreds of fun ways to get fit and you just have to use those that are the best for you. Walk, swim, bike, dance, participate in a yoga, hiking, or gym program. Join a bowling, baseball, basketball, badminton or tennis team, but just get out there and get burning more calories than you currently do.

Getting fit should not have to be a long and tedious affair. Your exercise program should be fun. It should be something that you begin to look forward to each day and this will happen as you get closer to achieving your goal. Spacing your activities out throughout your day in short bursts of energy will increase your body's fat burning mechanisms and help make the routines appear less time consuming. Do a quick jog or dance from room to room every couple of hours or hop on a treadmill for ten to fifteen minutes a few times a day. Do a quick 10 minute program of stretches, pushups, or pumping of weights scattered randomly throughout the day. Instead of sitting down in front of the television for long periods in the evening break it up. Get up and go for an evening walk.

If you lead a sedentary lifestyle and tend to hang around the house or office for lengthy periods of time just stand up more than you currently do. Today there are quite a few different desk designs so even those who generally sit at work can get up from their desk and move around a bit. There are more than a few ways to participate in a bit of exercise several times throughout the day. Be creative.

Keep the fun factor upper most in your mind. Getting fit should feel like play rather than a chore. So let yourself play a little more than you currently do.

If you increase the amount of calories that you burn while decreasing the amount of calories that you consume then you are virtually guaranteed to be successful in your weight loss program. You just have to do it. Most diet plans fail because the participant gets frustrated and quits. You don't have to.

Don't be too hard on yourself or hold out unreasonable expectations for yourself. You did not put those pounds on overnight so it is going to take a little time to successfully remove them. Keep in mind that weight loss is always the most successful when you get the facts accurate and diet responsibly. Take note of your little successes and if you fall off the wagon, get the heck back on it again, this is one ride that you don't want to miss out on. The practices you adapt now can wind up being a natural part of your lifestyle for life.

Stay Clear of Extreme Diets

Fad diets and extreme weight loss plans will generally come back to haunt you
Fad diets and extreme weight loss plans will generally come back to haunt you

Teens Have Unique Nutritional Needs

It is especially important for younger dieters to know the facts on dieting. There are many teens and preteens who now participate in drastic weight loss schemes. These can be a dangerous diet plan. Don't do it. Because a young body is still developing younger individuals have unique nutritional needs.

Teens can require a higher calorie intake diet than other individuals but of course this shouldn't be filled with junk food, sugary treats, or pop as it often unfortunately is. Simple logic applies here. High quality lean protein and eggs, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and a fun fitness program with plenty of play factor in the mix. Have fun with the activities you pursue and don't give up.

Youth activity levels can vary considerably making it difficult to prejudge an allotted daily calorie recommendation for youths. If you are under the age of eighteen and considering losing weight please consult with your local health practitioner before you do so. Have realistic expectations for yourself.

© 2010 Lorelei Cohen


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