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Losing weight is challenging no matter your fitness goals.
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No matter what approach you use, losing 100 pounds is a lofty fitness goal that can take a year or more. When you first begin your fitness routine, you might lose weight quickly, but as your body adjusts, a healthy weight-loss routine means you'll only lose a pound or two a week. While vigorous exercise can play an important role in physical fitness, you can lose weight without pushing yourself to your breaking point every day. Before embarking on this weight loss journey, enroll the aid of your medical practitioner to ensure that your plan is healthy.
Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your weight-loss goals. Losing large amounts of weight is challenging and certain medical conditions make it even harder. Your doctor may prescribe medications or lifestyle changes to make the process easier. Your doctor may also recommend an exercise stress test to determine whether exercise is safe for you.
Evaluate your diet. According to the Mayo Clinic and the American Council on Exercise, diet plays a slightly more important role in weight loss than exercise, so cutting calories from your diet is key. Extremely obese people may struggle to perform even simple exercises, so cutting calories can help you lose enough weight to exercise.
Determine your basal metabolic rate, which is the number of calories you need to maintain your current weight if you make no other lifestyle changes. Your doctor can help you with this. Then begin eliminating unhealthy, high-calorie foods. If you cut 500 calories a day from your diet, it will take about two years to lose 100 pounds. In general, you can expect to lose a pound for every 3,500 calories you eliminate from your diet.
Implement strategies that make dieting easier, particularly if you've historically relied on food for comfort. Cut out nutritionally empty foods, such as soda and alcohol, which can cause you to gain weight without eliminating hunger. Eating slowly helps you feel full faster. Rather than eating two or three large meals a day, try eating five smaller meals. Healthy snacks such as nuts and berries can help you feel full between meals. If you suffer from obesity-related health conditions, however, check in with your doctor before you add or eliminate any new foods.
Incorporate activity into your daily life. It's not just exercise, but any kind of movement, that helps you burn calories. This strategy is particularly helpful if you're too heavy to do intense exercise or embarrassed to go to the gym. Daily activity can also help you work up to more strenuous exercise. Try parking farther away from stores you visit, or walking or cycling to work or the train station. Take stretching breaks if you spend significant time sitting behind a desk. A pedometer can help you monitor how many steps you take each day, and 10,000 steps each day is an excellent fitness goal to strive toward. Try taking a break every hour to walk around your office, pick up around your house or play with your pet.
Get at least 150 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise each week to maintain your health. However, note that this isn't sufficient to lose weight. To shed pounds, you'll need 300 minutes of moderate cardio or 150 minutes of intense cardio a week. If you're not yet strong enough, start with exercise that maintains your health and gradually build to more intense physical activity. Walking is a great beginner routine, and as you gain strength, consider more vigorous workouts such as cycling or even running. Water aerobics and swimming are ideal for very obese people because your joints won't hurt and the water helps support your body weight. Incorporating a minute or two of more intense exercise into an otherwise moderate routine -- such as running in the middle of your walk -- can also help you burn a few more calories.
Do strength-training exercises at least two days a week. Although strength training burns fewer calories than aerobic exercise, it creates and maintains healthy muscles, which can make physical activity easier. Muscle also burns more calories than fat, so developing more muscle can help speed up your metabolism -- even when you're resting.