Many who embark on a weight loss program end up in failure. Some overly zealous dieters, in an ambitious effort to lose weight quickly, go for very restrictive diets which they cannot keep and which will only leave them still miserably overweight. Some go for extreme exercises which leave them bruised and battered. There are also some who fall prey to weight loss pills, slimming teas and herbal concoctions which are not screened for safety and efficacy.
What really is the safe and sane, sensible and scientific approach to weight loss?
Determine your baseline weight and your target weight.
The first step in doing a scientific weight loss program is to know your current weight and your ideal weight. The ideal weight for you is somewhere within the normal weight range for your particular height as indicated in standard height and weight charts. It is not enough to just aim to fit into your skinny jeans. You must have a specific target weight to aim for.
Understand the equation on weight loss.
Once you know how much weight you need to shed, the second step is to grasp the weight loss equation. Weight loss is a simple equation involving intake and expenditure of calories. When you take in more calories than you spend, you gain weight. Conversely, when you take in less calories than you spend, you lose weight. Intake of calories occurs with eating while expenditure of calories is a result of physical activity. If you understand this equation well enough, you will realize that no amount of exercise can make you lose weight if you eat as much calories as you spend during exercise.
Know the normal and safe rate of weight loss.
It is hazardous to health to lose weight very quickly. The safe rate of weight loss is 1 to 2 pounds per week. It is foolish to go for crash diets which promise weight losses of up to 10 pounds per week.
Set a date for achieving your ideal weight.
Because you now know that you cannot safely lose more than 2 pounds per week, you can then set a target date for achieving your ideal weight. For instance, if you are 52 pounds overweight and are aiming for a pound per week of weight loss, you can achieve your ideal weight in 52 weeks or 1 year. Try your best to lose weight on schedule but realize, too, that oftentimes you may have to deal with delays or plateaus. Nonetheless, it is good to have both a target weight and a target date to work on.
Know your maintenance calorie needs.
To lose weight, you simply have to take in less calories than your body needs to maintain your current weight. Your maintenance calorie needs is a rather complex equation but you can find many weight loss sites online which offer free calculators for this formula. You simply have to key in your age, gender, weight and level of physical activity and you will be given the exact figure. So if your maintenance calorie needs is 2000 calories per day, then by eating less than these calories per day-1800, 1500 or 1200 calories per day-- you will logically lose weight. Add some exercise and you will lose more. Here's an important fact: It is not safe to shave off more than 15% of your maintenance calorie needs. For a 2000-calorie maintenance need, go for no more than a 300-calorie reduction or a 1700-calorie diet.
Educate yourself on the basics of good nutrition and calorie counting.
Good nutrition means prioritizing fresh fruits and vegetables first, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy next and healthy oils and fats last. Divide the calorie limit into 3 main meals and 3 snacks to up your metabolism and manage hunger. The MyPlate program recommends that you fill half of your plate with produce, and a quarter each for whole grains and proteins, of course with the assumption that you are eating well within your computed calorie limits.
How do you count calories?
The best tool to help you is a Food Exchange List which tells you the serving sizes and calorie contents of each food group. At the start, it may be very meticulous for you but it's the only way you could keep track of how many calories you're taking.
Weight loss is safe, hunger-free and successful if you keep these scientific facts in mind.