Weight loss for beginners

Most people gain weight gradually, but once a person decides to lose weight, each day on a diet might seem like a long time.

Losing weight can be an unappealing project, and some give up before ever really starting on a program. Simplifying the science behind weight loss helps demystify the process. There are no quick fixes or miracle foods that burn off fat. The good news is that everyone can lose weight if they stick to a few basic principles and have a little patience.

What is healthy weight?
BMI stands for body mass index, and it uses a comparison between height and weight to determine a healthy weight range. Generally, a BMI between 18.5 and 25 falls within the healthy range. A high BMI index might label extremely athletic people with large muscles and very little body fat as overweight or obese when their weight and height put them over the normal BMI range. But this is a rare exception and occurs only for individuals with very high muscle mass. By and large your BMI will tell you if your weight is within the ideal range or not.

What does losing weight mean?
In order to lose weight, a person must ingest fewer calories than she burns. A calorie is a measure of energy provided by food. Calculating the number of calories you need versus how many you eat is a first step to losing weight. Online calculators make it easy for dieters to calculate caloric needs. 3,500 calories equals 1 lb. of weight, so in order to lose 1 lb. per week a dieter must subtract 500 calories from the number of calories needed to maintain a particular weight.

Importance of gradual weight loss
Gradual weight loss is best for long lasting results. The metabolism must be kept at normal levels to keep burning off fat. Metabolism is the process a body uses to convert food or fat stores into fuel. The higher a person's metabolic needs, the more calories burned off and pounds dropped. When a dieter cuts back radically on calories, the body interprets the sudden drop in available food as a potential threat. Sensing possible famine, it responds by lowering the metabolic rate. When the metabolic rate drops, the dieter actually needs fewer calories per day than before he started on a diet. Extreme reduction in calories ingested also has adverse effects of energy and personal health.

Menu and diet
Healthy balanced diets work best for sustained weight loss. In general, eating a diet high in whole grains, such as brown rice, and rich in fresh vegetables and fruits is healthy. Supplementing the foods with some lean protein rounds out a sensible weight-loss diet. Portion control also plays a role in weight loss.

Role of exercise
Exercise keeps a you healthy and happier while losing weight. In addition, burning extra calories helps burn fat. Exercise alone does not always lead to weight loss, because exercise increases appetite and builds heavier muscles. Some people that exercise strenuously while dieting actually gain weight in the first weeks of the diet due to increase in muscle mass. Exercise is the best way to assure lasting weight-loss results. Boosted cardiovascular health, along with improved body image and self-esteem plays a role in maintaining healthy lifestyles that keep the excess pounds from returning.

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