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Losing 50 Pounds Safely
Question: How fast can I lose 50 pounds safely?
Answer from: Kathleen Zelman, R.D., nutrition expert
Over time, small changes in diet and lifestyle add up to major weight loss.
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Meet Kathleen Zelman, Nutrition Expert
Answering your questions about diet and nutrition
Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD is a nutrition expert with more than 30 years of experience helping people eat better. For years, Kathleen has spread the word about good nutrition as a radio host, national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and as an award-winning nutrition journalist. She has been recognized by the Academy and the American Society for Nutrition for her work in translating scientific recommendations into user-friendly advice that motivates people to lead healthier lifestyles.
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UHC TV For Health and Happiness Ask the Expert Kathleen Zelman, Nutrition Expert (Kathleen Zelman in office) (Kathleen Zelman) Here's a great question. I need to lose at least 50 pounds. What's a reasonable amount of time for me to do this? How can I get to my goal weight safely? First of all, let's talk about your goal weight. When you have 50 pounds to lose, it's a good idea to break that into smaller increments. Maybe start with, I want to lose 10 pounds. Once you achieve that 10-pound weight loss, then ask for another 10 pounds of yourself. This way, you can celebrate your success and feel more encouraged than when you're only losing a few pounds and have such lofty expectations of those 50 pounds. The best way to do it is to try to think about lifestyle changes that you can incorporate. Examples: not putting butter on your vegetables. Using low-fat milk instead of half and half in your coffee. Grilling or broiling instead of frying your entree. What can you do in your life that can start shaving calories? Can you use light mayonnaise, light sour cream? Can you start eating yogurt for breakfast instead of donuts or muffins? Small changes really can add up. If you let those small changes become part of your lifestyle, it will continue to perpetuate the weight loss. By slashing 100 calories a day, you'll lose 10 pounds in a year. I know that doesn't sound like a lot, but still, that's just the effort of not drinking a sugary beverage. One little change like that can add up. Experts say you should only expect to lose about 1 to 2 pounds a week. The reason why it seems like such a minimal amount is because you want to use up fat stores. If you start to lose weight more quickly, you go beyond the fat storage, or what we call adipose tissue in your body, and you start tapping away at muscle tissue, at other things you're not really trying to lose. We don't want to touch that very precious muscle or the protein tissue. To do it right, you need to take about 5 to 6 months to lose those 50 pounds, but I say break it up, make it into smaller increments, so you can celebrate that you're doing the right thing and you're making the lifestyle changes you should be proud of. You will achieve that goal, but don't try to do it too quickly. Do it in small increments. Celebrate that you're working your way down. UnitedHealthcare