What is healthy weight loss?
December 17, 2018
What is healthy weight loss?
It’s natural for anyone trying to lose weight to want to lose it very quickly. But evidence shows that people who lose weight gradually and steadily (about 1 to 2 pounds per week) are more successful at keeping weight off. Healthy weight loss isn’t just about a “diet” or “program”. It’s about an ongoing lifestyle that includes long-term changes in daily eating and exercise habits.
To lose weight, you must use up more calories than you take in. Since one pound equals 3,500 calories, you need to reduce your caloric intake by 500—1000 calories per day to lose about 1 to 2 pounds per week.1
Once you’ve achieved a healthy weight, by relying on healthful eating and physical activity most days of the week (about 60—90 minutes, moderate intensity), you are more likely to be successful at keeping the weight off over the long term.
Losing weight is not easy, and it takes commitment
Even modest weight loss can mean big benefits
The good news is that no matter what your weight loss goal is, even a modest weight loss, such as 5 to 10 percent of your total body weight, is likely to produce many health benefits, such as improvements in blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugars.
For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, a 5 percent weight loss equals 10 pounds, bringing your weight down to 190 pounds. While this weight may still be in the “overweight” or “obese” range, this modest weight loss can decrease your risk factors for chronic diseases related to obesity.
So even if the overall goal seems large, see it as a journey rather than just a final destination. You’ll learn new eating and physical activity habits that will help you live a healthier lifestyle. These habits may help you maintain your weight loss over time.
How to stay motivated
To be successful at losing weight, you need to figure out what will give you an ongoing, burning desire to succeed. You need to tap your inner motivation. By understanding what motivates you, you'll be better able to follow through with your eating and fitness plan.
Consider the benefits of losing weight and staying fit listed below. Rank your top three reasons, with 1 as your most important. Rank more than three if you want, and add your own reasons if they're not on the list. Post the list where you'll see it often.
- Look better
- Feel better
- Feel comfortable in my clothes
- Improve my physical stamina
- Improve my self-image and self-confidence
- Improve my outlook on life
- Increase my energy
- Be a role model for my family
- Manage high blood pressure
- Improve my cholesterol
- Prevent or manage diabetes
- Reduce joint pain
- Prevent or reduce lower-back pain
- Improve my sleep
- Improve my quality of life
- Increase my life expectancy
Sometimes temptation to indulge in certain foods or skipping a workout will be greater than your desire to lose weight. During these difficult moments, reflect on the top reasons why you are making healthy lifestyle changes. It won't always be easy, but keep in mind the important fact that you will never regret making good decisions!