Gradual Weight Loss is More Effective Than Trying to Rush it, According to the CDC

Losing weight is ranked as one of the top New Year’s resolutions year after year. Though it’s quite common for individuals to want to lose extra weight as quickly as possible, evidence shows that people who lose weight gradually and steadily, about 1 to 2 pounds per week, are more successful at keeping the weight off.

The CDC Healthy Weight Division has a few tips to consider if you intend to tackle weight loss and healthy eating in the New Year. First, keep in mind that in order to lose weight, you must burn more calories than you take in. Since one pound equals about 3,500 calories, you need to reduce your caloric intake by 500-1000 calories per day in order to lose about 1 to 2 pounds per week.

The CDC also advises people to set realistic goals and understand that even modest weight loss is likely to produce health benefits. Losing 5 to 10 percent of your total body weight can result in noticeable improvements to blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugars and decrease risk factors for chronic diseases related to obesity.

In order to improve eating habits the CDC encourages people to reflect, replace and reinforce. Reflect on all specific eating habits, both good and bad and establish common triggers for unhealthy eating. Once you know where the problems lie, replace all your unhealthy habits with healthier ones and then continue to reinforce the new, healthier habits.

Some examples of healthier habits to reinforce include eating more slowly, planning meals ahead of time to ensure a healthy, well-balance meal will be ready and eating only when you’re truly hungry. Many times people eat when they’re tired, anxious or feeling intense emotions besides hunger. If you find yourself experiencing this habit attempt to find a non-food related activity to replace this behavior.

Consistency is key; establish healthy eating patterns and physical activity plans early on and to stick to them, regardless of routine changes. Monitoring your meals, work-outs, accomplishments and potential improvements can also be a good way to stay on track with weight-loss resolutions.

For more information visit The Center for Disease Control Healthy Weight page.