Losing Weight: How Much and How Fast?

Everything you need to know about losing weight and keeping it off

(RxWiki News) When trying to lose weight, how much should you lose and how fast should you do it?

It's natural to want to lose weight fast, but evidence shows that losing weight slowly (about one to two pounds per week) is the trick to keeping the weight off. How much weight you should lose in total is going to depend on your unique situation. That's why it's important to speak with your health care provider before starting a weight-loss plan.

Here's the good news: Even the smallest amount of weight loss can improve blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Losing weight and keeping it off means a lifestyle that includes healthy eating and exercise habits.

In terms of exercise, start small and work your way up to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week. Taking the moderate-intensity approach translates to two hours and 30 minutes of exercise every week (about 22 minutes each day or 50 minutes three times per week).

Also, you can break up your 50 minutes to roughly 15 minutes in the morning, midday and afternoon.

Here are some examples of exercise types:

  • Moderate-intensity exercise: This means an increase in heart rate but you can still carry on a conversation while exercising. Examples include brisk walking and light yard work.
  • Vigorous-intensity exercise: This means an increase in heart rate but you will probably not be able to carry a conversation while exercising. Examples include jogging/running and swimming laps.

As for healthy eating, one trick is to think about all the new foods you can eat instead of all the foods you can’t have.

To build a healthy diet, focus on the following:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Lean meats and poultry
  • Fish
  • Products low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol and salt
  • Foods with no added sugars

You may not like some of these foods, and that's OK. Focus on the things you do like.

For example, if your friend lost weight eating grilled chicken salads, you may naturally think this will work for you. But if you know you don't like salads, then instead of eating nothing but grilled chicken salads, pick something you know you will like and practice that habit.

Always check with your health care provider before making any major changes to your diet or exercise routine.