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You lose weight by following the basic principle of using more calories in a day than you ingest. To shed pounds effectively, create daily and weekly calorie goals. Hitting those goals will, in the long run, create consistent weight loss. Your current weight and how much weight you want to lose will determine your personal calorie goal.
How Burning Calories Works
To slim down, you can either cut calories out of your diet, burn calories through physical activity or, ideally, both. When you create a caloric deficit, your body begins to lose fatty tissue. The average pound of fat is equal to about 3,500 calories. If you are maintaining your current weight and want to lose a pound a week, you need to burn 500 more calories daily than you currently burn or take in 500 fewer calories or some combination of the two.
Set Your Goal
Weight loss is not quickly accomplished. Healthy weight loss is 1 to 2 pounds weekly. So, if your goal is to lose 20 pounds, it can take you 10 to 20 weeks before you hit your goal. Determine your basal metabolic rate, also called your BMR, by using an online BMR calculator. Your BMR is the average number of calories you burn in a day at rest based on your age, height, weight and normal activity level. Your BMR will provide a good starting place for you to understand how many calories your body needs daily.
Create a Daily Plan
Begin with a goal of burning 250 calories daily through activity and exercise and build up to 500 daily. For example, someone weighing 160 pounds who runs for 30 minutes at 5 mph will burn 300 calories. Jumping rope for 30 minutes will burn around 430 calories for someone weighing 160 pounds. The more weight you lose, the fewer calories you will burn doing the same exercise.
Maintaining Your Goal
Keep a food and exercise journal where you detail everything you put in your mouth in a day and what physical activities you do in a day. Next to each item, write down the calorie intake or deficit. At the end of the day, add up both columns to determine if you've reached your goal.