What is a good weight loss program?

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Answered by: Katherine, An Expert in the Diet Plans Category
The most important thing to remember when starting a weight loss program is that each person's body is different. Your own goals and abilities will be much different from those of others. The two worst things you can do to your body while trying to lose weight are: starving yourself and participating in diet plans that are unbalanced (such as plans that require you to eat minimal carbs and high amounts of protein). The truth is your body needs carbohydrates, protein, iron, vitamins, fiber and yes, even fat in order to function properly!

So, here is how you begin your own personalized weight loss program. Start by creating a goal for yourself. It is essential for your goal to be realistic. You should not expect yourself to lose more than 3 pounds a week. Doing so may be very unhealthy. Besides, if you set a goal that is too high and you are unable to achieve it, you will only let yourself down and it will be more difficult in the future to motivate yourself to lose weight since you may be expecting failure.

So, for example, let's say you would like to lose 10lbs in one month. Search for a BMI(basal metabolic rate) calculator online, type in your weight, age and height and it will calculate the number of calories you would burn on a daily basis if you were to stay in bed all day. Let us say your basal metabolic rate is 1,800 calories. That means if you stayed in bed all day and ate exactly 1,800 calories, you would neither lose nor gain any weight.

The weight loss part comes when you expend more calories than you consume. Each pound of fat is equivalent to 3,500 calories. So, following with the example of before, 10lbs would be equivalent to 35,000 calories. Do the same calculation with your goal to determine the amount of calories you need to lose.

The next step is to get your calendar (or draw one) and plan the number of calories you need to lose on a daily basis in order to achieve your goal. In order for my individual to lose 35,000 calories in one month, she must have a net loss of 1,250 calories each day. The best way to reach that net loss on a daily basis is to both decrease the amount of consumed calories and increase the amount of activity. For this person, I would recommend consuming 1,200 calories and exercising to burn 650 calories.

If you are not sure how many calories you burn doing certain activities, the Internet is an excellent resource. You will be able to find some very helpful calculators that take your weight, height, and age into consideration. Any activity from washing the car to sweeping the deck can serve as a way to expend calories.

Remember, it is important to consume not much less than 1,000 calories on a daily basis in order to avoid putting your body into "starvation mode" which slows down your metabolism. Make sure the things you consume are balanced. Your body needs fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy, lean meat, fish (certain types of fish like salmon are an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acid; great for the brain and metabolism), and nuts (also an excellent source of good fats and protein to keep your hunger down).

On each calendar day write down your basal metabolic rate. Track the number of calories you consume. The calories you consume will be subtracted from your BMR. Any exercise you do will be added to it. The total resulting at the end of the day will be your net calorie loss.

The most difficult part of any weight loss program is keeping yourself motivated. It is all too easy to gorge on sweets and blow the whole thing in one go. It is also very easy to lose interest in working out. Keep yourself motivated by a reward system. Make sure your reward stays far enough away from the realm of food that it will not ruin your plan. Reward yourself with a pedicure, a haircut or a new pair of running shoes!

Keep your calendar posted somewhere as a reminder of your goal. Make copies to put on your fridge, on your desk at work and on the back of your bedroom door. Cut out pictures from magazines or the internet of what you want your body to look like. Have a friend join you in her own personalized weight loss program. Most importantly, encourage yourself and no matter what, stick to the bigger picture. Is the temporary joy from that donut worth keeping you back from a permanently more happy, confident and healthy you? Not a chance.

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