Weight loss is all about burning more calories than you eat, but what’s the best way to do that? Knowing the basics of how to lose weight, how to exercise for weight loss and how to motivate yourself are essential for creating a program that works for you. If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you know it can be a difficult process. But, there are ways to make it easier. Understanding exactly what you need to do to lose weight is your first step
Despite what you may think, losing weight isn’t a mysterious process. In fact, weight loss doesn’t even have to involve strange diets, special exercises or even the ‘magic’ of pills or fitness gadgets. Want the secret to weight loss? Make small changes each and every day and you’ll slowly (but surely) lose those extra pounds.
Rules of Weight Loss. To lose one pound, you must burn approximately 3500 calories over and above what you already burn doing daily activities.
1. Calculate your BMR (basal metabolic rate). Your BMR is what your body needs to maintain normal functions like breathing, digestion, etc.
2. Calculate your activity level. Use a calorie calculator to figure out how many calories you burn while sitting, standing, exercising, lifting weights, etc. throughout the day.
3. Keep track of how many calories you eat. Use a food journal to add up what you eat and drink during the day. If you’re eating less calories than you’re burning, you’ll lose weight.
Setting weight loss goals is probably one of the more difficult things to do when you embark on an exercise and/or diet program. How much do you need to lose? That question is hard to answer and often based on your particular goals. If you’re losing weight for your health, your goal might be more modest, say 5-10% of your current weight. But what if you have something more specific in mind like a certain clothing-size you want to fit into? How do you set a reasonable goal for yourself?
The key to setting weight loss goals is to follow the standard of goal setting. It needs to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and tangible. Your first step is determining if you really need to lose weight.
Do You Need to Lose Weight? If you talk to most people, you’ll probably find that everyone feels like they need to lose weight, even people who appear to be at a healthy weight. Often our weight loss goals are based on what we think we should look like rather than what’s reasonable for our bodies right now.
In general, a candidate for weight loss may have the following characteristics:
* A BMI of more than 25
* A Waist-Hip ratio of higher than .8 for women and higher than 1.0 men
* An Abdominal Girth measurement of more than 35 inches in women and 40 inches in men
Of course, those aren’t the only clues that tell us we need to lose weight. There are those annoying indications like tight clothes, getting out of breath doing simple activities, or stepping on a scale for the first time in awhile. But, before you set goals based on what you think you should weigh, make sure you really need to lose weight.
Set Your Goals
If you’ve determined you do need to lose weight, your next step is to set a reasonable weight loss goal for yourself. You can base your goals on any number of factors, but a great place to start would be the general recommendations set out by the American College of Sports Medicine which are 5-10% of body weight or one to two pounds per week.