Weight Loss Basics
1. Decrease Your Caloric Intake. To lose weight, you must create a negative caloric balance, or caloric deficit. In other words, the amount of energy that you consume from your food and drinks must be less than the amount of energy that you use to exercise and live your everyday life. Although you can attain a caloric deficit by increasing your amount of exercise, most attain it by altering what they eat. Generally, women need 1,400 to 2,000 calories per day, and men need 1,600 to 2,000 calories per day. People with very active lifestyles need more.
Despite the many diets promoted today, most reputable health organizations, including the American Dietetic Association (ADA) and American Heart Association, continue to recommend a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet (55% carbohydrate, 20% protein and 25% fat). The ADA also recommends losing no more than 1 to 2 pounds per week to ensure that any weight lost is not lean body mass but fat mass. According to most nutrition experts, to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week, you should consume 500 calories fewer than normal every day, which amount to 3,500 calories fewer than normal every week.
2. Monitor Your Portion/Serving Sizes. Confused about what an adequate portion of food is? You’re not alone; in light of the “super-sizes” available in many fast-food restaurants, it’s hard to tell. Many are surprised that, for example, the serving size of meat recommended for one meal for an adult is only 3 ounces, about the size of a deck of cards. Check out the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Guide Pyramid at www.nal.usda.gov:8001/py/pmap.htm for other facts and recommended serving sizes.
3. Keep a Food Journal. Keeping a record of the foods that you eat can help make you aware of your calorie consumption so you can reduce it; many find it helpful to record the amount of calories that they consume in the first few weeks of a weight loss program. A registered dietitian can then review your journal not only to help find the factors that trigger your desire for certain foods but also to help ensure that you plan the proper portion sizes to lose weight.
on Body Composition. How do you know whether or not you are losing weight?
A typical bathroom scale won’t work by itself; a scale indicates only
the number of pounds, which does not clarify what those pounds are: fat
or muscle. Furthermore, a scale often shows mere shifts in water retention,
which are temporary and do not reflect changes in one’s amount of body
fat. The only way to get an accurate picture is to measure your body composition
to determine your percentage of body fat. You may want your body composition
measured every 6 weeks; that should be enough time for you to see changes.
Ask your personal trainer or another reputable fitness professional whether
or not she is trained to measure you with skin calipers, a method considered
easy and accurate when performed correctly.
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