Questions About Weight Loss on Quora
Since I joined Quora, I’ve been bombarded by fitness questions. Many of the people querying sound desperate to lose weight. Some ask how they can lose 20 pounds in one week! Questions like this make it evident many people have no idea how fat loss works and the time and effort that is necessary to achieve this objective.
If you want to lose weight and get fitter, the first step is to educate yourself. Do you know how much of a caloric deficit you have to achieve in order to lose one single pound? The answer is 3500 just in case you’re still scratching your head. The easiest way to achieve this “deficit” is by eating less food AND upping your activity level. Let’s use an example that will make this clear.
Let’s say you are able to maintain your weight eating 2100 calories per day and doing no exercise – only daily living activities. To lose weight, some options are to A) reduce your caloric intake by 500 calories daily to lose a pound in 7 days B) burn 500 extra calories daily to lose a pound in 7 days C) burn 500 extra calories daily and reduce caloric intake by 500 calories to lose 2 pounds per week. C is about as aggressive as you will want to go. Make sure to never reduce daily caloric intake to anything under 1200. It’s important for you to eat enough to get nourishment for your body and mind. If you try to lose weight faster, you are likely to experience low-energy, uncomfortable hunger and/or food cravings. None of these will support long-term weight loss.
The best way to lose weight is to do it slowly. As you lose weight, you begin to establish new lifestyle habits. Instead of following a starvation diet program that leaves you weighing less and then going back to your old bad eating habits, reduce your caloric intake by replacing nutrition-poor calories (chips, sodas, candy, cookies, pies) with nutrition-rich calories (your favorite vegetables and fruits). If this sounds painful, it may be for a while. Many of the junk food we eat manipulates our taste buds so that real food doesn’t taste good anymore. But the more you eat the good stuff and start feeling better, the more you will want to eat the foods that support health, a positive mood and high energy! I know this to be true because this is the path I followed years ago when I lost 30 pounds after graduating from college. During my college years, I became accustomed to ordering late night pizzas, eating M & Ms while studying for exams and soothing my fluctuating moods with food. One day I decided I didn’t want food controlling my life anymore. It took time to break those bad habits, but it was worth it. You can read more about my story in my book, Fitter Than Ever at 40 and Beyond. If I can do it, you can, too!