After the initial weight loss associated with beginning a healthier lifestyle, a rate of 1 to 2 pounds per week is safe for most people. The exact time required to lose weight to reach a goal depends on several factors, including the number of pounds the person wants to lose. Maintaining this weight-loss rate leads to a 50- to 100-pound weight loss within a year.
Cutting too many calories in an attempt to reach a goal too quickly often has negative effects on the health. It also slows the metabolism, resulting in a slower weight-loss rate. Maintaining a healthy rate of weight loss helps to prevent dieters from feeling deprived.
Losing weight involves both lowering calorie intake and increasing exercise. Losing a pound of fat requires creating a 3,500-calorie deficit per week, or 500 calories per day. Increasing exercise and making healthier food choices makes this goal achievable for most people.
Effective weight loss depends on the number of calories a person currently consumes and his current exercise program. Individuals who already have a low calorie intake often find it difficult to reduce their food intake further while remaining healthy. Increasing calories burned through exercise is often a better choice. However, those already involved in a regular exercise program often find it difficult to burn more calories and benefit from a calorie-reduction diet.