How to Lose 50 Pounds in Six Months

How to Lose 50 Pounds in Six Months

Achieving your weight-loss goal takes motivation, commitment and planning. Fad diets that promise quick results do not work long-term, if at all. The keys to successful weight loss are healthy eating and physical activity you can maintain. To lose 50 pounds in six months, you need to lose just over 8 pounds per month, or about 2 pounds per week. Because 1 to 2 pounds per week is considered a healthy rate of weight loss, losing 2 pounds per week is a realistic goal.

Assess your current eating patterns and level of physical activity. Make a list of anything that derailed your past efforts and plan a strategy to overcome them. Find healthier alternatives to unhealthy foods you crave. For example, if candy bars are your weakness, try eating a square or two of plain dark chocolate instead. If you dislike going to the gym or following a set exercise routine, find other ways to increase your daily physical activity. For example, ride your bicycle to work, always take the stairs instead of the elevator, and park in the farthest spot away in the parking lot.

Calculate your daily calorie goal. Use a resource such as the American Council on Exercise Daily Caloric Needs Estimate Calculator, which takes into consideration your weight, height, age, sex and physical activity level. While counting every calorie is not necessary or even realistic, you should have an idea of how many calories you can consume each day and still meet your weight-loss goal.

Eat five to six small meals per day. According to Dan Benardot, professor of nutrition, kinesiology and health at Georgia State University, consuming smaller meals more often keeps your metabolism going at a higher level. Eat fresh, unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, fish, seafood, poultry, lean meats, eggs, nuts and seeds, along with healthy fats like olive oil. Avoid refined, processed foods that are high in sugar or that contain high-fructose corn syrup or trans fats.

Get 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity each day. According to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, this amount of moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity is recommended to sustain weight loss. Perform both aerobic exercise, such as bicycling or swimming, and muscle strengthening activities, such as push-ups, sit-ups and lunges.