Weight loss is not a hard task. There are simple principles that, if followed, will result in the weight loss that you desire. If you want to be 25 pounds lighter, having an idea of what 25 pounds looks like, knowing how long it should take to lose this much weight, and understanding what you will need to do to lose this much weight, may help you to get your mind set for the task.
First you will need a visual, something you can see that can help you grasp what 25 pounds looks like. Did you know that a regular size bag of potatoes is about 5 pounds? Now just imagine 5 bags of potatoes lying in a pile in front of you. That’s a lot of weight isn’t it? Now that you have a visual, let’s figure out how long it should take to lose this much weight.
A healthy rate of weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week. That comes out to 4.3-8.6 pounds per month. So, it should take 3-6 months to lose 25 pounds. Losing weight at a faster rate will most likely result in you putting the weight back on, and then some. It’s important to remember that you did not gain the weight overnight, so it will take some time to come off.
Now that you know what 25 pounds looks like, and how long it should take to lose it, let’s talk about how you can do it.
The first step is determining your daily calorie needs. I am going to use the Mifflin-St. Jeor equation. This equation allows you to calculate how many calories your body needs to maintain basic bodily functions such as breathing, your heartbeat, etc. You would use the following equation to determine your daily calorie needs based on your current weight, height, and age, then account for your physical activity level:
For females, the equation is as follows:
(10 x weight in kilograms) +(6.25 x height in centimeters) – ( 5 x age) – 161
For males, the equation is as follows:
(10 x weight in kilograms) +(6.25 x height in centimeters) – ( 5 x age) + 5
Note: To convert pounds to kilograms, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2.
To convert inches to centimeters, multiply your height in inches by.0254
You would then multiply your results of the above equation by your current activity level:
1.3 Sedentary (little or no physical activity)
1.5 Low Active (daily physical activity equivalent to walking approximately 2 miles/day at 15-20 minutes/mile or an equivalent amount of other moderate-intensity activities-such as golfing without a cart, raking leaves, vigorous housework or gardening, or taking a low-impact aerobics class-each day)
1.7 Active (daily physical activity equivalent to approximately 105 minutes of moderate-intensity activities or 70 minutes of vigorous-intensity activities such as bicycle riding, tennis, or jogging)
1.9 Very Active (daily physical activity equivalent to approximately 250 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activities or 160 minutes of vigorous-intensity activities)
The final number you come up with is the total calories that your body needs to maintain your current weight. So, if you continue to consume this amount of calories you will remain at your current weight, and if you exceed this amount, you will gain weight. Next we are going to use this number to determine what your calorie intake should be and/or how many calories you will need to burn in order to lose weight.
One pound is equal to 3,500 calories, and so to lose 1 pound in a week, you would need to create a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day. On the other hand, to lose 2 pounds per week, you would need to create a calorie deficit of 1,000 calories per day. This can be achieved in 1 of 3 ways. You can either reduce your calorie intake to create a calorie deficit, you can increase your physical activity through exercise to create a calorie deficit, or you can do a combination of both, which is considered most efficient.
Going back to your results from the above equation, if you want to lose 1 pound per week through calorie reduction alone, you can subtract 500 from that number to get your daily calorie limit. If you want to lose 2 pounds per week through calorie reduction alone, you can subtract 1,000 instead.
*Note: I would recommend calorie reduction combined with exercise if subtracting either amount results in a daily calorie limit below 1,200, as it is not recommended to consume less than 1,200 calories per day.
If you prefer to focus on physical activity alone, you can consume the full amount of calories from the above equation and burn either 500 calories per day to lose 1 pound per week, or burn 1,000 calories per day to lose 2 pounds per week
If you want to combine calorie reduction with increased physical activity to lose 1 pound per week, for example, you can reduce your calorie intake by 250 calories, and then burn 250 calories by exercising. On the other hand, if you want to lose 2 pound per week, for example, you can reduce your calorie intake by 500 calories, and burn 500 calories by exercising. When combining calorie reduction with exercise, there are a number of ways to do it, so you can definitely get creative with it to find the right combination for you.
So, you know what 25 pounds looks like, you know how long it should take to lose it, and you know how to do it. Now do it!