Quick Ways to Lose Weight Naturally
by John Zaremba
Quick weight-loss fad diets are ineffective, and some of them are dangerous. What's worse is that they are unnecessary. People can lose weight quickly, naturally and safely, as long as they master the concepts of portion control, know which types of foods to avoid, and bolster their calorie burning with moderate exercise.
Your Daily Needs
Determine your daily calorie needs. Everybody needs a different number of calories to get through the day. Most people need somewhere around 2,000, but this varies depending on your gender, size, body composition and level of activity. For example, a 30-year-old man who weighs 165 pounds, is 6 feet tall and exercises regularly needs about 2,700 calories a day. A 55-year old woman who weighs 145 pounds, stands 5 feet 6 inches and exercises occasionally needs about 1,750. Several reputable health agencies have easy-to-use online calorie calculators.
Create a deficit. Now that you know how many calories you need, it's time to plan out your weight loss. Falling 500 calories short of your daily intake will cause you to lose about a pound of fat a week. Shorting yourself by 1,000 calories a day will cause you to lose two pounds in a week--and that's about the fastest you should lose weight.
What To Cut
Cut empty calories first--those from sugary treats such as regular sodas and candy bars. You may find that this alone will create your calorie deficit. Avoid all other types of junk food--especially certain granola bars and other junk food disguised as health food. Limit or eliminate alcohol, another source of empty calories. And beware of foods that say they have reduced fat or are fat-free: that may be true, but chances are they're packed with sugar to make up for the lost flavor.
What To Eat
A weight-loss diet is a great time to fill yourself up with good food. The best diet foods are lean meats such as chicken and turkey; whole-grain pasta, bread and cereal; fresh fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy. Everybody's dietary needs differ depending on their levels of activity and physical condition, but in general, go for lean protein, high fiber, little or no saturated fat, and moderate amounts of unsaturated fat.
Everything you do burns calories, so it stands to reason that the more you do, the more you'll burn. To promote even-paced weight loss, the Mayo Clinic recommends performing moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes most days of the week. As your condition improves, you may be able to increase your level of activity. Good examples of moderate activity include a brisk walk of 45 minutes to an hour--that alone will burn about 500 calories.
Weight training is also part of any good exercise plan at any age. Muscle burns calories--one pound burns about 50 a day, just by being there.
Check With Your Doctor
Before you start dieting or working out, check with your doctor to make sure you are well enough to diet and perform physical exercise. Chances are your doctor will be pleased to know you're trying to lose weight, but it is important to make sure you're doing so in a healthy way.