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What Is Reasonable Weight Loss?

By Kevin Taylor

After reading newspaper and magazine ads on weight loss – and also commercials on TV and the Internet, you might begin to think that losing weight is effortless. These ads tell you that you can “lose a pound a day,” “lose up to 18 pounds in two weeks,” and other amazing claims. After awhile, we might even begin to believe the ads. But are these expectations too high? Can we really believe these amazing results are possible?

Two professional organizations, the National Institutes of Health and the American College of Sports Medicine, claim that no more than two pounds of weight loss a week is safe. It’s a guideline that medical experts use for helping individuals maintain a balance of losing fat while preserving lean body mass – and also for maintaining proper hydration. Granted that 2 pounds loss a week seems minor, compared to what the weight loss commercials offer the public!

How does one sort through fantasy and truth? Well, first consider the amount of energy required to lose 10 pounds of fat. There are about 3,500 calories of stored energy in one pound of fat, so 10 pounds of fat is 35,000 calories of energy. Most people burn only about 100 calories walking or running a mile. So if you want to lose 10 pounds in a week, you’d have to run or walk 350 miles a week – or 50 miles every day. Of course, this assumes that you don’t change your eating habits during that week.

Expending that much energy in a week is pretty crazy. Think how hungry you would be after walking or running 50 miles in a day. You’d want to increase your eating habits, for sure! It’s laughable to think you can lose 10 pounds a week just by exercising.

But maybe you could lose 10 pounds in a week by dieting. Can you avoid eating 35,000 calories in a week (5,000 a day)? Well, consider a typical middle-aged female (5’5″, 170 pounds) who vigorously exercises no more than 30 minutes daily (beyond her usual daily activities). She maintains this weight by eating around 1,900 calories a day. This is impossible, of course. She can’t eat less than nothing! But could she eat nothing, then run 31 miles a day to reach the goal of losing 5,000 calories for the day. This regimen would work, but of course it’s a laughable solution!

Losing 10 pounds of fat each week really isn’t practical (or possible!), so we need to consider the alternative “guideline” of no more than a 2-pound weight loss in a week. To do this, let’s go back to the numbers. For example, 2 pounds of fat is 7,000 calories or 70 miles of running or walking every week. Should we expect a dieter to run or walk every day and still consume his or her usual foods? Or eat 1,000 calories less than usual for 7 days – then not go on a food binge every day? Thinking about our typical woman again, cutting 1,000 calories from her daily diet amounts to consuming around half her intake. This is about 500 calories fewer than what she must have to just keep her basic existence intact.

By now it should be clear that even one annoying pound of fat holds a significant amount of energy. By cutting back food about 300 calories a day and by adding a 2 mile walk each day, a person could expect to lose one pound of body fat each week. If this new routine is kept up each day for a full year, it would represent a hefty 50 pound weight loss. On the other hand, it takes adding only 100 calories more each day (or moving 100 calories less) to add up to an extra 10 pounds in a year!

Regardless of the math involved, you must set effective and reasonable goals in order to be successful. Of course, just following an exercise and diet plan for just one day probably won’t change your weight much. It may take longer before your bathroom scale shows a noticeable loss. But don’t get discouraged, as over time you’ll see the difference.

Get more great advice about weight loss on Kevin Taylor’s site. You’ll find lots of ideas about choosing the best weight loss diets for your needs.

Article kindly provided by UberArticles.com

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Taylor, Kevin "What Is Reasonable Weight Loss?." What Is Reasonable Weight Loss?. 23 Jun. 2010. uberarticles.com. 11 Jun 2015 <http://uberarticles.com/health-and-fitness/exercise/what-is-reasonable-weight-loss/>.

APA Style Citation:
Taylor, K (2010, June 23). What Is Reasonable Weight Loss?. Retrieved June 11, 2015, from http://uberarticles.com/health-and-fitness/exercise/what-is-reasonable-weight-loss/

Chicago Style Citation:
Taylor, Kevin "What Is Reasonable Weight Loss?" uberarticles.com. http://uberarticles.com/health-and-fitness/exercise/what-is-reasonable-weight-loss/


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