Q: How much weight can I lose in one month?
A: Weight loss is a tricky subject. Because people want fast and easy ways to trim fat, fad diets are tempting despite their significant drawbacks. However, there’s a serious issue with this approach, as evidenced by the fact that over 150 million Americans are considered overweight or obese.
Marketing gimmicks and TV shows like Biggest Loser make it seem like you can lose 20 to 30 pounds in as little as four weeks. That is simply unrealistic. Programs that promise dramatic weight loss often employ extreme practices, which may be effective in the short term, but are not sustainable. Common methods include drastically cutting calories, eliminating entire food groups or performing punishing exercise.
It can be discouraging when you don’t see the pounds dropping as quickly as you’ve been led to believe, especially if you’re starving yourself or working hard in the gym. More often than not, people fail to reach their weight loss goals and eventually revert back to old habits. As many as two thirds of dieters gain back what they lost—and add even more weight—within four or five years. Yikes! All that hard work down the drain.
So how do you lose weight and keep it off? Like anything else, it’s best to do it in moderation and temper your expectations. Realistically, you should aim to lose one or two pounds per week for a total of eight pounds per month. You can do this simply by reducing your caloric intake by 250 to 500 calories per day and performing a daily workout that burns approximately 250 to 500 calories. As a general guideline, a 30-minute jog will burn approximately 500 calories.
This approach will not produce lightning fast results, but if you are consistent and patient, it will pay off in the long run.
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