Losing weight safely

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At 1,400 pounds, Jon Brower Minnoch was one of the heaviest recorded human beings to ever live.

At one point in his life, Minnoch—who passed away in 1983 just a few days short of his 42nd birthday—was able to shed 924 pounds, bringing his weight down to 476 pounds. He lost an equivalent of around six normal sized human beings. Not surprisingly, 924 pounds stands as the world record for the most weight dropped by a single individual.

Typically, some of us may want to shed a few pounds for a plethora of reasons. From simply wanting to look better to being a medical necessity, safe weight loss is something we can will ourselves to do. Whether it be 5 or a hundred pounds,  a diet and exercise program is the sensible way to go about it. This now brings us to the point of what must be the ideal and safe rate of weight loss for those who are considered overweight and opt to pursue a weight-loss program.

The US’s Center for Disease Control (CDC) says individuals who lose weight at a slow and steady rate are more likely to succeed in keeping the excess weight off in the longterm. Ideally, the CDC suggests that 1 to 2 pounds per week would be the ideal rate of weight loss.

Needless to say, this should not be achieved by diet alone but must be done in conjunction with an exercise program.

Sure, starvation diets, which will consist of taking dangerously low amounts of food, will make your drop weight in the short term. However, we stand the danger of losing muscle mass along with fat. Eating next to nothing for a few days can and will make us lose weight and, at the same time, deprive our bodies of much needed calories to perform its daily functions.  It can also throw our metabolism into disarray. Thus, once we start to eat normally and/or binge, we are likely to gain back lost weight.

To lose weight, we must burn more calories than we consume. One pound is equal to around 3,500 calories. So to lose 1 to 2lbs. per week through diet alone, we will need to reduce caloric intake by 500-1000 calories a day. As advised earlier, combining diet with exercise is the most sensible approach to weight loss.

Remember to avoid the temptation of drastically cutting food intake. Our bodies burn calories from food in order to function. Cutting the source of calories in a whimsical, nonscientific manner may lead to sluggishness and lethargy in the short term. In extreme cases, we may endanger our long-term health and well-being. When it comes to weight loss, nice and slow is the way to go. Eat smart, exercise right and keep our eyes on the prize.

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