Making the decision to lose weight is the most important step.
Losing weight is challenging, no matter how many pounds you need to lose. For many people, the temptation to turn to fad diets and untested supplements is very strong. However, quick-fixes are sometimes dangerous and usually fail. The only smart, safe way to lose 50 pounds is to do so gradually, following a balanced, low-calorie diet and exercise routine. You may benefit from working with a nutritionist or a support group, as well.
Start With A Checkup
Before beginning any weight-loss plan, see your health care practitioner for a routine health check. If you are 50 pounds or more overweight, you may have health challenges other than your weight that your doctor will want to address. Obesity is a risk factor for high blood pressure, Type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease, so your weight-loss goal is an important one. Your health care practitioner can advise you how to meet it safely without endangering your health.
Despite the claims of various weight-loss books and diet plans, according to a 2013 report from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, cutting calories is the only sure way to achieve your weight-loss goals. The report compares 77 studies and a variety of weight-loss regimens, including various low-fat, low-carbohydrate, high-protein and vegan diets, and concludes that they are comparably effective for weight loss as long as calorie restrictions are maintained. It recommends a total daily caloric intake of 1200 to 1500 calories per day for women and 1500 to 1800 calories per day for men.
Exercise More Often
Limiting your intake is only one aspect of weight loss; you will lose weight more quickly if you increase your activity as well. If you have been inactive, start with about 200 to 250 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity, such as brisk walking, swimming or cycling. You may break this up into sessions of as little as 10 minutes at a time, if that is easiest for you. Then, add short bouts of high-intensity activity at regular intervals throughout the day, such as climbing stairs, cycling uphill or jogging across the street. According to a study published in the "American Journal of Health Promotion" in September, 2013, short bouts of even one or two minutes of this type of activity add up to significant weight loss over time.
The formula for losing weight is a straightforward equation; you lose one pound by burning 3500 calories more than you consume. However, many factors influence the rate at which you burn calories, including your age, height, weight and gender. For example, a 35-year-old woman weighing 132 pounds burns about 15 percent fewer calories during most activities than a 55-year-old man who weighs 200 pounds. Studies suggest that a weight loss of 10 to 25 pounds in six months is reasonable, but everyone is different. Stick to your diet and exercise regularly, increasing the amount and intensity of your workout as you lose weight and become more fit, and the pounds should come off.
- American College of Sports Medicine Complete Guide to Fitness and Health; Barbara Bushman, PhD., Editor