Keep weight off

Được đăng bởi Minh Hoàng Vũ on Thứ Tư, 29 tháng 5, 2013

If you've achieved your target weight, well done! But don't undo all the good work by reverting to old habits.
Adults are advised to do 150 minutes of physical activity every week. Read more about activity guidelines for adults andolder adults
The effects of quick-fix dietsoften don't last, as many people fall back into old eating and activity habits after the weight is lost. If you find your weight is going back up again, it's time to take action.

How to keep weight off

The key to reaching your ideal weight and then keeping weight off is to make long-term changes to your diet and lifestyle that you can stick to for life.
The following tips are likely to help keep weight off:
  • Stick to lower-calorie eating. A lower-fat, higher-protein diet has been shown to help maintain weight loss for some people. This could be because protein-rich meals make you feel fuller more quickly, making you less likely to snack between meals.
  • Plan ahead. Maintain your healthier eating habits regardless of changes in your routine, such as eating out, weekends or holidays. By planning ahead, you're less likely to slip up.
  • Eat breakfast. Research shows that breakfast can help people control their weight. Having breakfast can help you avoid getting too hungry and snacking later on.
  • Stay activeBuild up your physical activity levels. So if you’ve already been walking regularly, think about walking for longer, or start running.
  • Watch your weight. Weigh yourself regularly so you can keep a close eye on any changes to your weight.
  • Get support. If you have talked to a health professional about your weight in the past, make sure you go back regularly to get support from them.
  • Keep it interesting. Variety is the spice of life, so if you feel yourself slipping back into old ways, mix things up a bit. Buy a new healthy cookbook, sign up for a healthy cooking course or try a new activity.
  • Set yourself goals. These can help to motivate you into keeping up your healthy diet and exercise regime. For example, is there a special occasion coming up that you want to feel your best for?

What should I eat now?

As a guide, the average man needs about 2,500 calories and the average woman needs 2,000 calories a day to maintain their weight. If you’ve been eating a lower calorie diet and you've now reached a healthy weight, you may want to increase your calorie intake. But do it by small amounts to avoid putting on weight again and remember to keep active.

More weight to lose?

“When we look at people who lose weight successfully, the lessons are clear,” says Dr Andrew Brewster, a GP with a special interest in obesity and weight management. “A combination of diet changes and changes to their level of physical activity is the best method. The key is making small changes that you can keep for life, rather than drastic changes that you only stick to for a few weeks.
“You don’t need to achieve a healthy weight overnight. Losing even a few kilos can make a huge difference to the health of someone who is overweight.”
You can check the weight range that is healthy for you by using our Healthy weight calculator. Set a realistic target. Give yourself enough time to work towards your goal – the safe rate of weight loss is between 1lb and 2lb (0.5kg and 1kg) a week.
Download the new NHS 12-week weight loss guide.

Healthy food swaps

To start, you might decide to swap just one high-calorie snack a day with something healthier. For example, you could have a smoothie or a piece of fruit instead of a morning pastry. Or you could choose a drink that's lower in fat, sugar or alcohol and therefore contains fewer calories. For example, you could swap a sugary, fizzy drink for sparkling water with a slice of lemon. You can learn more about small, healthy changes to your diet by reading Healthy food swaps. On the whole, eating less while maintaining a balanced diet and being more active will keep weight off.
You can also find lots of information on eating a healthy, balanced diet in Food and diet.


When it comes to physical activity, find ways to fit more movement into your day. It’s recommended that adults between 19 and 64 get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity – such as fast walking or cycling – every week. If you are new to activity then you should try to build up to this amount gradually. For more information, see Physical activity guidelines for adults.
Being physically active is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. People who do regular activity have a lower risk of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers and stroke.
For many, brisk walking is a great way to fit activity into daily life. Learn more in the 10,000 steps challenge.
There's more information and advice on getting active in Fitness.

Stick to the changes

Once you’ve identified the lifestyle changes you want to make, give yourself time to make them part of your life.
At some point, the weight loss that results from these changes will stop and your weight will stabilise. But it’s important to remember that if you want to maintain your new, healthier weight, you need to stick to the changes.
“This is where many people slip up,” says Dr Brewster. “They feel as though the changes they’ve made 'aren’t working any more', and so they go back to old habits. In fact, the changes are working, as they are keeping you at your new weight. If you let go of them, you’ll put weight back on.
“Really get those changes set into your lifestyle. Once you’ve done that and your weight has stayed the same for a while, if you’re still not a healthy weight you can think about another set of small changes.
“That’s the step-by-step method that will give you the best chance of achieving a healthy weight long term.”
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Should you lose weight fast?

Được đăng bởi Minh Hoàng Vũ on Thứ Sáu, 17 tháng 5, 2013

When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s tempting to want results as fast as possible. But remember, very rapid weight loss is unlikely to help you to maintain a healthy weight long-term. And it comes with health risks.

You can monitor your weight loss progress using ourHealthy weight calculator.

If you’re trying to lose weight, you’re probably keen to see, and feel, a difference quickly.
It can be tempting to put your trust in one of the countless schemes that promise rapid, easy weight loss.
Unfortunately, even if these fad diets do help you to lose weight, you’re unlikely to maintain a healthy weight in the months and years afterwards.
If you’re visualising a future in which you’ve shed your excess weight, the best choice is to make healthy changes to your diet and levels of physical activity that lead to a safe, steady rate of weight loss, and that last a lifetime.
Weight loss tends to plateau after a while and you may need to make further changes. If after six to nine months you haven’t achieved a healthy weight, talk to your GP for advice on the next steps.

Safe rates of weight loss

If you’re trying to lose weight, the safe weekly rate of weight loss is between 0.5kg and 1kg. That’s between around 1lb and 2lb a week.
Lose weight faster than this, and you are at risk of health problems that include malnutrition and gallstones, as well as feeling tired and unwell.
Fad diets (that involve simply changing your diet for a few weeks) associated with very rapid weight loss are also unlikely to lead you to a healthy weight in the long-term.

Take action

You can learn more about the diet and physical activity changes that can lead you to a healthy weight future in Lose Weight.
Remember: the goal is not overnight success. The secret is sticking to the changes you’ve made, and you can find useful tips from real-life slimmers in Weight loss motivation.
You can monitor your progress using our Healthy weight calculator. This interactive tool calculates your body mass index (BMI), which is a measure of whether you are a healthy weight for your height.
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'Is weight loss surgery right for me?'

Được đăng bởi Minh Hoàng Vũ on Thứ Năm, 25 tháng 4, 2013

If you’re very obese and you’ve already tried improving your diet and exercise levels without success, then weight loss surgery could be the right option for you. But it’s not a short cut to losing weight easily as it will mean changing the way you eat forever.

If you are overweight, the best way to lose weight is by making long-lasting changes to your diet and level of physical activity. You can learn how by reading more articles in Lose weight.
But in cases where lifestyle changes, accompanied by weight loss medicines when appropriate, are not enough, then weight loss surgery, also called bariatric surgery, may be an option.
When considering weight loss surgery, it’s important to bear the following in mind:
  • Weight loss surgery should be seen as a last resort.
  • Not everyone is eligible to have it done on the NHS.
  • After surgery, you will never be able to eat the same way again, or you will become very ill if you do.
  • After surgery, you will need to follow a carefully controlled diet and take regular exercise.
You’ll need to show that you’ve changed your diet and lifestyle before the operation, and you'll have to stick to long-term changes afterwards. But surgery can help very overweight people to lose significant excess weight.
If you’re interested in weight loss surgery, talk to your GP to learn more.

What is weight loss surgery?

There are two main kinds of weight loss surgery.
  • Gastric banding. Here, a band is fitted around the top of the stomach. This causes a feeling of fullness after eating a very small amount of food, and means that food must be eaten very slowly.
  • Gastric bypass. Here, a much smaller stomach is made. This causes a feeling of fullness after eating a small amount of food, and means that the body absorbs fewer calories.
Both procedures are designed to be permanent. Learn more about these and less common weight loss operations.

Who can have weight loss surgery? 

Your GP can assess you to see if weight loss surgery is right for you.
To be considered for weight loss surgery on the NHS, you should have a body mass index (BMI) of:
  • 40 or more
  • (or) a BMI of between 35 and 40 along with a weight-related health condition, such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure
You can find out your BMI by using our Healthy weight calculator.
You should also:
  • be able to commit to long-term follow-up appointments after the operation
  • have tried to lose weight by changing your diet and exercise levels for at least six months
  • be healthy enough to have an operation under general anaesthetic  
Even if you pay for private surgery, it's still likely that your surgeon will only agree to the operation if similar criteria are met, because of the risks associated with such major surgery. 

What does the operation involve?

Before the operationIf your GP thinks that weight loss surgery is right for you, you’ll be referred to a specialist weight loss team.
A consultant will assess you to decide if weight loss surgery is the right step to take. The consultant should explain more to you about the different types of surgery. They should also discuss the weight loss that can result, and the changes to your lifestyle that you will need to make afterwards.
They will also discuss the risks and possible side effects of surgery. Weight loss surgery is carried out under general anaesthetic. Serious complications with general anaesthetics are rare, but can be more likely when you are overweight.
If you and the specialist team decide to go ahead with surgery, you should be offered ongoing psychological support and help with changing your diet and lifestyle before the operation.
Many people who undergo weight loss surgery must go on a special, very low calorie diet before having the surgery. This is meant to lose the excess fat stored in the liver, so that surgeons are able to carry out the operation. It's important for you to meet a dietitian who can help you with this diet, and it is essential that you stick to it.
Having the operationThe type of weight loss surgery you have will depend on your circumstances, including how overweight you are and any other health problems you have.
Most people who have a gastric band operation stay overnight in hospital, but this varies between treatment centres.
With a gastric bypass, the stay in hospital is typically between one and three nights.
After the operationYour specialist team should schedule several follow-up appointments running across a year or more, and it is important that you attend all of them.
This ongoing specialist team support is vital to the long-term success of the surgery, because it will help you to change former eating habits, and to adapt to a new lifestyle.
Remember, after your operation you will never again be able to eat as you did before. This means changing your eating patterns. A dietitian in your specialist team will be able to help you with this.
They will give advice on a healthy diet and supplements that will provide you with the nutrients and energy you need.
If you were fitted with a gastric band, it may be necessary to adjust it. This is done by injecting fluid into a small port that sits underneath the surface of your skin, and if necessary it will be done at follow-up appointments.
Following weight loss surgery, you will feel full after very small portions of food. You’ll need to eat small portions of food at mealtimes. It will take much longer to eat, and you’ll have to chew food very thoroughly. If you try to eat too much you may experience discomfort, or may vomit.

How long after surgery would I start losing weight?

Your weight loss will also be monitored at the follow-up appointments. If you have been fitted with a gastric band, you should aim for a steady rate of weight loss at around 1lb or 2lb (about 0.5kg or 1kg) a week, that continues for a year to 18 months.
If you have had a stomach bypass it is common to lose weight faster than this at first. But over time, the weight loss resulting from gastric bypass and gastric band procedures is the same.
If you were very overweight, you may not achieve a healthy BMI even once your weight loss has stopped. But moving closer to a healthy BMI will decrease your risk of serious health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.
Once you have recovered from surgery, exercising regularly will help you to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
You can find more information and advice in recommendations after weight loss surgery
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How can I speed up my metabolism?

Được đăng bởi Minh Hoàng Vũ on Thứ Hai, 8 tháng 4, 2013

It’s not unusual to hear people blame their weight gain on a slow metabolism.

They’ve cut down on calories and take regular exercise yet they’re still not losing weight. The only other possible diagnosis, they expertly conclude, is a slow metabolism.
What is a slow metabolism? How does it affect your weight and can you do anything to speed it up?
Professor James Timmons, a metabolism expert from Loughborough University, gives your metabolism a closer examination.

What is metabolism?

Metabolism describes all the chemical processes that go on continuously inside the body to keep you alive and your organs functioning normally, such as breathing, repairing cells and digesting food.
These chemical processes require energy. The minimum amount of energy your body requires to carry out these chemical processes is called the basal metabolic rate (BMR).
Your BMR accounts for anything between 50% and 80% of your body’s daily energy requirements depending on how active you are. A ‘slow metabolism’ is more accurately described as a low BMR.
There are many BMR calculators available online. Look out for BMR calculators using the Harris-Benedict equation, which is the most widely used method for estimating your BMR.

Do some people have a faster metabolism than others?

Body size, age, gender and genes all play a role in determining your metabolic rate.
Muscle cells require more energy to maintain than fat cells, so people with a higher muscle to fat ratio tend to have a higher BMR.
As we get older, we tend to gain fat and lose muscle. This explains why the BMR tends to decrease with age.
In general, men tend to have a faster metabolism as they have more muscle mass, heavier bones and less body fat than women, which is why their daily calorie allowance is higher.

Calorie allowances

An average man needs around 2,500kcal a day. For an average woman, that figure is around 2,000kcal a day. These values can vary depending on age and levels of physical activity, as well as other factors.

Your metabolism may be partly determined by your genes, although this is not yet fully understood. Genes definitely play a role in muscle size and your ability to grow muscles, both of which affect your metabolism.

Am I fat because of a slow metabolism?

People who struggle to lose weight often blame a slow metabolism. However, studies show that some overweight people may actually have a higher metabolism than their leaner counterparts. This is because they have larger bodies with bigger muscles and internal organs.
Research has also shown that people tend to eat more than they think they do. When asked to write down everything they've consumed in a day, many people tend to report eating far less than they actually do.
More often than not, the reason you’re putting on weight is not because of a slow metabolism, it’s because you’re eating too much. It may be hard to accept, but staying on top of the number of calories you eat is key to losing weight and keeping it off.

Can losing weight too fast slow my metabolism?

Crash diets and other calorie-restricted diets can reduce your BMR. With some diets, your body is forced to break down muscle to use for energy. The lower your muscle mass, the slower your metabolism. With less muscle and a slower metabolism, it then becomes a lot easier to put body fat back on after coming off the diet.

What can I do to speed up my metabolism?

It is claimed that certain foods and drinks can boost your metabolism, including green tea, black coffee, spices and energy drinks. The evidence behind these claims is flimsy, the effect on your metabolism is marginal at best and each person will respond differently to each product. Based on the best available research, below are the most effective ways to speed up your metabolism:
Build muscle
The body requires more energy to maintain muscle tissue than fat stores, so people with a higher muscle to fat ratio have a faster metabolic rate. Examples of muscle-strengthening activities include lifting weights and high intensity bouts of exercise. Heavy gardening may also do the job.
Be active
Being constantly on the move and reducing time spent sitting down will help you burn more calories. Movement itself requires energy but it also stimulates hormones and protein breakdown, both of which increase your metabolic rate. The more you move, the more calories you burn.
Exercise vigorously
Short, sharp bursts of exercise, such as high intensity training (HIT), spinning on a bicycle or sprinting uphill, will elevate your metabolism. Vigorous intensity exercise gives the metabolism a jolt and helps maintain muscle size in a way that longer, moderate intensity exercise doesn't. If you're new to exercise or getting back into it, you're advised to get the all-clear from a health professional before engaging in vigorous exercise.
Eat protein
Food containing protein promotes muscle growth and requires more energy to digest than other food. Make sure you’re eating enough protein to achieve a balanced diet. Healthy sources of protein include lean meat, skinless white meat, poultry, fish, tofu, nuts, beans, eggs and lower-fat dairy products. Food high in protein also helps make you feel full for longer.
Turn down the heatingNew research suggests turning down the heating or wearing fewer clothes can help burn calories. Colder temperatures are thought to activate your body’s brown fat deposits to burn calories to keep you warm. It was previously thought only babies had brown fat but several recent studies have found brown fat in adults, prompting research into how brown fat can help weight management.

Can certain medical conditions cause a slow metabolism?

Some diseases and conditions can slow a person’s metabolism, such as Cushing’s syndrome and hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid), but these are rare, and more often than not, people’s weight is a matter of eating too many calories and a lack of muscle building exercise. However, if you feel that you may have a problem that’s not responding to lifestyle changes, seek medical advice.
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Easy Ways to Lose Weight: 50+ Ideas Part 2

Được đăng bởi Minh Hoàng Vũ

11. Clean your closet of the “fat” clothes. Once you’ve reached your target weight, throw out or give away every piece of clothing that doesn’t fit. The idea of having to buy a whole new wardrobe if you gain the weight back will serve as a strong incentive to maintain your new figure.
12. Downsize your dinner plates. Studies find that the less food put in front of you, the less food you’ll eat. Conversely, the more food in front of you, the more you’ll eat — regardless of how hungry you are. So instead of using regular dinner plates that range these days from 10-14 inches (making them look forlornly empty if they’re not heaped with food), serve your main course on salad plates (about 7-9 inches wide). The same goes for liquids. Instead of 16-ounce glasses and oversized coffee mugs, return to the old days of 8-ounce glasses and 6-ounce coffee cups.
13. Serve your dinner restaurant style (food on the plates) rather than family style (food served in bowls and on platters on the table). When your plate is empty, you’re finished; there’s no reaching for seconds.
14. Hang a mirror opposite your seat at the table. One study found that eating in front of mirrors slashed the amount people ate by nearly one-third. Seems having to look yourself in the eye reflects back some of your own inner standards and goals, and reminds you of why you’re trying to lose weight in the first place.
15. Put out a vegetable platter. A body of research out of Pennsylvania State University finds that eating water-rich foods such as zucchini, tomatoes, and cucumbers during meals reduces your overall calorie consumption. Other water-rich foods include soups and salads. You won’t get the same benefits by just drinking your water, though. Because the body processes hunger and thirst through different mechanisms, it simply doesn’t register a sense of fullness with water (or soda, tea, coffee, or juice).
16. Use vegetables to bulk up meals. You can eat twice as much pasta salad loaded with veggies like broccoli, carrots, and tomatoes for the same calories as a pasta salad sporting just mayonnaise. Same goes for stir-fries. And add vegetables to make a fluffier, more satisfying omelet without having to up the number of eggs.
17. Eat one less cookie a day. Or consume one less can of regular soda, or one less glass of orange juice, or three fewer bites of a fast-food hamburger. Doing any of these saves you about 100 calories a day, according to weight-loss researcher James O. Hill, Ph.D., of the University of Colorado. And that alone is enough to prevent you from gaining the 1.8 to 2 pounds most people pack on each year.
18. Avoid white foods. There is some scientific legitimacy to today’s lower-carb diets: Large amounts of simple carbohydrates from white flour and added sugar can wreak havoc on your blood sugar and lead to weight gain. But you shouldn’t toss out the baby with the bathwater. While avoiding sugar, white rice, and white flour, you should eat plenty of whole grain breads and brown rice. One Harvard study of 74,000 women found that those who ate more than two daily servings of whole grains were 49 percent less likely to be overweight than those who ate the white stuff.
19. Switch to ordinary coffee. Fancy coffee drinks from trendy coffee joints often pack several hundred calories, thanks to whole milk, whipped cream, sugar, and sugary syrups. A cup of regular coffee with skim milk has just a small fraction of those calories. And when brewed with good beans, it tastes just as great.
20. Use nonfat powdered milk in coffee. You get the nutritional benefits of skim milk, which is high in calcium and low in calories. And, because the water has been removed, powdered milk doesn’t dilute the coffee the way skim milk does.
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Easy Ways to Lose Weight: 50+ Ideas part1

Được đăng bởi Minh Hoàng Vũ

You know the drill when it comes to losing weight -- take in fewer calories, burn more calories. But you also know that most diets and quick weight-loss plans have about as much substance as a politician's campaign pledges. Here are more than 50 easy ways for you to finally lose the weight

If you’re trying to drop a few pounds, don’t start off by trying to overhaul all your eating and exercise habits. You’re better off finding several simple things you can do on a daily basis—along with following the cardinal rules of eating more vegetables and less fat and getting more physical activity. Together, they should send the scale numbers in the right direction: down.
1. Indulge in fat releasing foods. They should help keep you from feeling deprived and binging on higher-calorie foods. For instance:
  • Honey. Just 64 fat releasing calories in one tablespoon. Drizzle on fresh fruit.
  • Eggs. Just 70 calories in one hard-boiled egg, loaded with fat releasing protein. Sprinkle with chives for an even more elegant treat.
  • Part-skim ricotta cheese. Just 39 calories in one ounce of this food, packed with fat releasing calcium. Dollop over a bowl of fresh fruit for dessert.
  • Dark chocolate. About 168 calories in a one-ounce square, but it’s packed with fat releasing fiber.
  • Shrimp. Just 60 calories in 12 large.
  • MORE: 13 fat releasing foods »
2. Treat high-calorie foods as jewels in the crown. Make a spoonful of ice cream the jewel and a bowl of fruit the crown. Cut down on the chips by pairing each bite with lots of chunky, filling fresh salsa, suggests Jeff Novick, director of nutrition at the Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa in Florida. Balance a little cheese with a lot of salad.
3. After breakfast, make water your primary drink. At breakfast, go ahead and drink orange juice. But throughout the rest of the day, focus on water instead of juice or soda. The average American consumes an extra 245 calories a day from soft drinks. That’s nearly 90,000 calories a year — or 25 pounds! And research shows that despite the calories, sugary drinks don’t trigger a sense of fullness the way that food does.
4. Carry a palm-size notebook everywhere you go for one week. Write down every single morsel that enters your lips—even water. Studies have found that people who maintain food diaries wind up eating about 15 percent less food than those who don’t.
5. Buy a pedometer, clip it to your belt, and aim for an extra 1,000 steps a day. On average, sedentary people take only 2,000 to 3,000 steps a day. Adding 2,000 steps will help you maintain your current weight and stop gaining weight; adding more than that will help you lose weight.
6. Add 10 percent to the amount of daily calories you think you’re eating, then adjust your eating habits accordingly. If you think you’re consuming 1,700 calories a day and don’t understand why you’re not losing weight, add another 170 calories to your guesstimate. Chances are, the new number is more accurate.
7. Eat five or six small meals or snacks a day instead of three large meals. A 1999 South African study found that when men ate parts of their morning meal at intervals over five hours, they consumed almost 30 percent fewer calories at lunch than when they ate a single breakfast. Other studies show that even if you eat the same number of calories distributed this way, your body releases less insulin, which keeps blood sugar steady and helps control hunger.
8. Walk for 45 minutes a day. The reason we’re suggesting 45 minutes instead of the typical 30 is that a Duke University study found that while 30 minutes of daily walking is enough to prevent weight gain in most relatively sedentary people, exercise beyond 30 minutes results in weight and fat loss. Burning an additional 300 calories a day with three miles of brisk walking (45 minutes should do it) could help you lose 30 pounds in a year without even changing how much you’re eating.
9. Find an online weight-loss buddy. A University of Vermont study found that online weight-loss buddies help you keep the weight off. The researchers followed volunteers for 18 months. Those assigned to an Internet-based weight maintenance program sustained their weight loss better than those who met face-to-face in a support group.
10. Bring the color blue into your life more often. There’s a good reason you won’t see many fast-food restaurants decorated in blue: Believe it or not, the color blue functions as an appetite suppressant. So serve up dinner on blue plates, dress in blue while you eat, and cover your table with a blue tablecloth. Conversely, avoid red, yellow, and orange in your dining areas. Studies find they encourage eating.

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How to Lose Weight - The Basics of Weight Loss

Được đăng bởi Minh Hoàng Vũ

At it's most basic, losing weight is about burning more calories than you eat. That seems simple enough, but if were really that simple, none of us would have a weight problem. Too often we take drastic measures to see results -- diets, pills or those weird fitness gadgets on infomercials that promise instant success. Maybe you lose weight but what happens when you go off that diet or stop that crazy workout program? You gain it all back and more. The real secret to weight loss is to make small, lasting changes. The key is to forget about instant results and settle in for the long run.

To lose one pound of fat, you must burn approximately 3500 calories over and above what you already burn doing daily activities. That sounds like a lot of calories and you certainly wouldn't want to try to burn 3500 calories in one day. However, by taking it step-by-step, you can determine just what you need to do each day to burn or cut out those extra calories. Below is a step by step process for getting started.
  1. Calculate your BMR (basal metabolic rate). YourBMR is the amount of calories your body needs to maintain basic bodily functions like breathing and digestion. This is the minimum number of calories you need to eat each day. Keep in mind that no calculator will be 100% accurate, so you may need to adjust these numbers as you learn more about your own metabolism.
  2. Calculate your activity level. For a week or so, keep an activity journal and use a calorie calculatorto figure out how many calories you burn while sitting, standing, exercising, lifting weights, etc. throughout the day. Another, easier option is to wear a heart rate monitor that calculates calories burned. After a week, add your totals for each day and average them out to get a general idea of how many calories you burn each day.
  3. Keep track of how many calories you eat. For at least a week, enter and track your calories online (e.g., with Calorie Count) or use a food journal to write down what you eat and drink each day. Be as accurate as possible, measuring when you need to or looking up nutritional information for restaurants, if you eat out. After a week, add your totals for each day and average them out to get a general idea of how many calories you eat each day.
  4. Add it up. Take your BMR number and add your activity calories. Then subtract your food calories from that total. If you're eating more than your BMR + your activity calories, you're at risk for gaining weight.
Mary's BMR is 1400 calories and she burns 900 calories with regular exercise, walking around and doing household chores. To maintain her weight, she should be eating 2300 calories (1400 + 900= 2300). However, after keeping a food journal, Mary finds that she's eating 2550 calories every day. By eating 250 more calories than her body needs, Mary will gain about a pound every 2-3 weeks.
This example shows how easy it is to gain weight without even knowing it. However, it's also easy to lose weight, even if the process itself can be slow. You can start by making small changes in your diet and activity levels and immediately start burning more calories than you're eating. If you can find a way to burn an extra 200 to 500 calories most days of the week with both exercise and diet, you're on the right track. Try these ideas:

Instead of...Do this...
An afternoon CokeDrink a glass of water. (calories saved: 97)
An Egg McMuffinEat a small whole wheat bagel +1 Tbsp of peanut butter (calories saved: 185)
Using your break eat sweetsWalk up and down a flight of stairs for 10 minutes (calories burned: 100)
Hitting the snooze buttonGet up 10 minutes early and go for a brisk walk (calories burned: 100)
Watching TV after workDo 10 minutes of yoga (calories burned: 50)

Total Calories Saved: 532 (based on a 140-pound person)
Exercise is an important weight loss tool, but how much you need varies from person to person. The guidelines recommend at least 250 minutes per week, which comes out to about 50 minutes, 5 days a week. If you're a beginner, start small, for example with 3 days of cardio for 15-30 minutes, gradually adding time each week to give your body time to adapt. Learn more about getting in shape and getting started with exercise.
Donnelly, J.; Blair, S.; Jakicic, J.; et al. Appropriate Physical Activity Intervention Strategies for Weight Loss and Prevention of Weight Regain for Adults. Med & Sci in Sports & Ex: Feb, 2009. Vol 41, Issue 2.
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