The first step in losing weight is just knowing how to lose weight. In the simplest terms, most people “know” how to lose weight. To take off weight, you should expend more calories than you take in. The best ways to do that are by eating less, but nutritious, food and exercising.
The problem is that while most of us think we know how to lose weight, we’re not sure about specifics. We don’t know, for example, how many calories we usually take in, or how many we need. We’ll talk more about that in the second part of this article series. At this point, simply knowing that we need to figure out our calorie “set point,” how many calories we need, is crucial.
Suppose you need to take in 2,000 calories (commonly considered a “normal” level) each day to maintain your weight. To lose weight you’d just drop down to 1,000 calories a day, creating a gap of 1,000 calories, right? Well, no. The thing is, a calorie gap, or deficiency, of 500 calories per day adds up to 3500 calories per week, which will burn off about one pound per week. This is the most healthy rate of weight loss.
Slashing your calories by a thousand or more per day can make you very ill, causes you to lose muscle, not just fat, and is not sustainable. This last point may be the most important thing you can learn about losing weight. You don’t want to just take off a few pounds quickly. What you really want is to lose weight in a way that will keep the weight off, and make you healthier. Crash diets and starvation diets won’t do that.
How do you create the calorie deficiency, that 500 calories you burn that you don’t take in? You can do it simply by eating fewer calories, or strictly by working out and burning off 500 extra calories. Or you can use a combination of diet changes and exercises to create this calorie “gap.”
As you change your diet, you need to understand that it takes more than just reducing your calories. If you were to reduce your calories, but the calories you did take in were all carbs or all fat or even all protein, you would not get as much benefit out of your diet as you can by balancing your diet. We’ll discuss exactly how to do this in the next article, also, but the important thing is that you be aware of the need for a balanced nutritional picture.
You may have already had much of this information about how to lose weight, but chances are you haven’t put it all together before with the information contained in the other articles on this site about the various online diets, such as Sonoma Diet, Dietwatch.com, and Diet.com. In addition, as you read the next article in this series, you may also want to refer to the articles on how to burn calories to help you make the choices and create the changes in your life that you seek.
Continue to: How to Lose Weight in Three Simple Steps, Part 2