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Posted Jan 07 2009 2:47pm

Johns Hopkins Health Alert

Losing Weight the Smart Way

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Are you overweight or obese? In this Health Alert Johns Hopkins offers practical advice to help you lose weight easily and safely.

The best way to lose weight and to keep it off is to make changes in both your diet and level of physical activity. To lose about one pound per week — a gradual and safe rate of weight loss — you must cut out about 500 calories per day.

You could just eat 500 fewer calories, but combining exercise with diet results in greater losses of body weight and fat than dieting alone. By adding a half hour or more of moderate exercise each day (enough to burn 250 calories), you can reduce your calorie restriction to a more manageable 250 calories daily.

Cutting calories. Instead of embarking on a fad diet to lose weight, simply make sensible food choices: Replace dietary fat with complex carbohydrates (for example, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains), which automatically lowers your calorie intake but allows you to eat a satisfying volume of food.

In addition, eat lean instead of fatty cuts of meat, choose reduced-fat or reduced-calorie products when possible, opt for non-calorie beverages such as water, diet soda, or seltzer, and fill up on less energy-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, salads, and soups. Also, learn to read nutrition labels and stick to the portion sizes on the label.

Adding exercise. When planning an exercise routine, choose activities that are convenient and enjoyable. The following are some popular exercises and the calories burned after 30 minutes of activity:

  • Swimming: 301 calories
  • Walking (brisk): 149 calories
  • Tennis (singles): 275 calories
  • Yoga: 180 calories
  • Golf: 120 calories
  • Dancing: 185 calories

Gradually build up to 60-90 minutes of exercise daily. Don’t be discouraged, though; you don’t need to get all your exercise at one time. Breaking it up over the course of the day is just as effective.

Are You Overweight or Obese? The easiest way to find out is to calculate your body mass index (BMI), a measure of your weight in relation to your height.

  1. Multiply your weight in pounds by 703.
  2. Multiply your height in inches by itself.
  3. Divide the result in step 1 by the result in step 2.

If your BMI is between 25 and 29.9, you are overweight. You’re considered obese if your BMI is 30 or more.

Posted in Nutrition and Weight Control on December 24, 2008
Medical Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute for the advice of a physician. Click here for additional information: Johns Hopkins Health Alerts Disclaimer
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