Losing Weight

Updated:Apr 9,2014

Happy Woman Holding Up ScaleReduce calories in and increase calories out.

Losing weight means changing the balance of calories in to calories out. If we eat more calories than we need, we gain weight. If we eat fewer calories than we use, we lose weight.

So start with good information: you need to know how many calories you should eat each day for your individual level of activity, and then you'll need to find ways to stay within your limits. Find out your personal daily calorie intake and fat needs. To lose weight, you must use up more calories than you take in. One pound equals 3,500 calories.  To successfully and healthfully lose weight—and keep it off—most people need to subtract about 500 calories per day from their diet to lose about 1 pound per week.

Educate yourself

Increase calories burned

Regular physical activity has so many proven benefits, such as to help control weight and blood pressure and decrease the risk for heart diseases and stroke. All healthy adults (ages 18 to 64) should get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity (e.g., brisk walking) every week or 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity (e.g., jogging, running) every week.   Additionally, you need on 2 or more days a week muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest shoulders, and arms). Besides helping you lose weight, it also helps reduce your abdominal fat and preserve muscle during weight loss.

The amount of physical activity any individual person needs for weight loss can vary, but you will need to get both regular physical activity and a healthy eating plan to lose weight and keep it off.   A good plan may include 30 to 60  minutes of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity, like brisk walking, done nearly every day. Find something you can do and find ways to enjoy it. Take a brisk walk  or a jog with a friend or your dog. Enjoy a video that gets you moving.

Physical Activity and Calories

The chart below shows the approximate calories spent per hour by a 100-, 150- and 200- pound person doing a particular activity.

Activity 100 lb 150 lb 200 lb 
Bicycling, 6 mph160240312
Bicycling, 12 mph270410534
Jogging, 7 mph6109201,230
Jumping rope5007501,000
Running 5.5 mph440660962
Running, 10 mph8501,2801,664
Swimming, 25 yds/min185275358
Swimming, 50 yds/min325500650
Tennis, singles265400535
Walking, 2 mph160240312
Walking, 3 mph210320416
Walking, 4.5 mph295440572

You might even keep a food diary at first to help you learn how much you are eating and whether you're eating out of habit instead of real hunger. When you are aware of your roadblocks you can plan alternative choices.
Remember to focus on your goal: feeling your best and living a healthy life. In the long run, you'll be so glad you invested in your health.

This content was last reviewed on 01/10/2013.

Weight Management

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