How Fast Can You Lose Weight?

Excess weight takes longer than one week to accumulate, so it takes longer than one week to lose, no matter how much needs losing or what size, sex, or age the dieter. Think of weight loss as a numbers game – for an average person, one pound equals about 3500 calories.

 To lose one pound a week, eat 3500 calories less per week or 500 calories less per day. Losing two pounds a week requires 1000 calories less per day if activity levels stay the same. Those who count calories know subtracting 500 calories from a daily diet can change that diet substantially.

Those who do not normally count calories may find the practice awkward, tedious, or embarrassing. To consider another approach, try cutting portions in half and avoiding sweets and high-fat foods. A balanced diet, with five food groups, helps to keep blood sugar level and provide adequate nutrients and fiber. The groups include protein (meat, fish, eggs, nuts, legumes), starch/grain (bread, cereals, potatoes, rice, corn), dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt), fruits and non-starchy vegetables.

Fruits and vegetables each count as a separate category to encourage eating more of them. To lose weight faster, limit the number and portion size on protein, dairy, and starch/grains. For between meals munching, try low-calorie, high-volume vegetables, such as celery, lettuce, mushrooms, cauliflower, and broccoli. Eating celery requires expending more calories to chew it than gained by eating it.

Expending more calories by moving around also speeds weight loss. Exercise increases metabolism – the equivalent of setting one’s idle higher, therefore burning more fuel or calories. Vigorous exercise will also burn a few more calories directly, but usually with only a disappointingly small difference. Ex: Experienced, efficient runners burn only around 100 calories per mile and walkers burn far less. Aerobic activity can also help to squelch a big appetite, especially on hot days.

For those unaccustomed to vigorous or aerobic activity, starting new exercises should happen gradually and with supervision to avoid injuries. To make a long-term life-style change, choose enjoyable, practical, and doable exercises. Walking, line dancing, and water aerobics all make gentle and fun starter activities. More vigorous, strenuous sports can follow in time.

If, in time, expending more calories than you take in doesn’t result in weight loss, see a doctor for possible metabolism problems, such as deficient thyroid or pituitary hormones. Avoid skipping meals — that creates erratic levels in blood sugar, and can cause mood swings, dizziness, or fatigue. Also, getting extremely hungry often results in overeating at the next meal. Keeping the stomach full of non-calorie fluids helps ease hunger between meals. A little hot apple cider or juice 45 minutes before meals can spoil your appetite to help you eat less during meals and speed weight loss.

Weight loss does take time, so requires patience and determination. Change your life-style to take in fewer calories than you expend, and then stay with it – that extra weight will gradually disappear.