This is one of the most common questions people ask who want to lose weight. The following is the answer I gave to someone who asked in an online forum.
To lose weight and keep it off, you need to do more than just cut calories from your diet. You do not need to even starve yourself of calories, but I’ll get to that in a minute. First you should take a good hard look at your lifestyle, the foods you eat, and your physical activity level to see where you are now. Make a goal, picture yourself at your goal weight and set a realistic time frame.
To answer this question, I’m going to make assumptions that you are similar to the average American, since I do not have any other or specific information about your current diet or activity level. You need to know your resting metabolic rate, which is approximately 10 x your weight in pounds.
An exercise program will not only help you burn calories, but will help you maintain your new healthy food intake regimen. Working out, especially weight training is very beneficial, because every pound of muscle you gain, you will burn and extra 50 calories at rest, raising your resting metabolic rate. Exercise is important, walking burns 100 calories and hour, and intense card workout can burn 400 calories. The problem is your snickers bar or bag of chips can add that back in minutes.
Find a gym, personal trainer, or boot camp to help get you started on a sustainable program. Next, find and online food tracker or food diary along with health band and keep it for 3-7 days. You will quickly find out how many calories you are actually eating.
Cut out any sodas (even diet), candy, any thing coated in sugar, cookies, potato chips, and do not eat any fast food. Eat whole wheat, or whole grain breads instead of white bread. Drink water, lots of it, add lemon if you need to. Eat lots of fruits, vegetables especially green leafy veggies and good sources of protein lik
steak, chicken, tofu, beans, and brown rice.
The trick to losing weight is first identifying what you are eating that is not serving you and second, eating healthy, filling (fibrous) and nutritious foods. If you eat whole, healthy and nutritious foods, you will find it hard to reach your caloric intake needs and at the same time your body will begin to change for the better and you will lose weight.
You do not need to drastically cut calories to lose weight, but should take a hard look at the actually calories you are eating. Good luck and if you have any other questions a consultation with a local fitness professional or physical therapist would be in your best interest.