Losing weight and gaining muscle at the same time improves your health and your looks. The best way to do this is to combine a healthy diet with regular exercise, which may take longer than a fad diet. Making permanent lifestyle choices might help you lose 40 extra pounds and build lean muscle mass. It also can protect you from many diseases and health problems.
Healthy Weight Loss
To lose weight you must burn more calories than you consume. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend losing 1 to 2 pounds per week. This requires a weekly deficit of 3,500 to 7,000 calories, or 500 to 1,000 calories per day. At this rate, you can safely lose 40 pounds in five to 10 months. Combining low-calorie foods with exercise is the best way to get rid of more calories than you take in, while building muscle mass at the same time.
The amount of calories you need to lose 40 pounds depends on what you were eating before attempting to drop the weight. For example, if you had been eating 2,500 calories per day, you'll have to cut back to 1,500 to 2,000 calories daily to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week. Fill your plate with foods from each group, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein. These items are low in calories, helping you control what you eat, but are also high in nutrients that satisfy hunger and protect your health. Planning your meals and snacks ahead of time is a good way to ensure you are prepared with healthy options when hunger strikes.
Exercise burns calories, making it a vital part of a weight loss routine. Many types of exercise build muscle mass at the same time. These types of exercise are your best choices for losing 40 pounds and gaining muscle. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 60 to 90 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each day for effective weight loss. "Fitness" magazine recommends jumping rope, spinning, running, biking, swimming and weightlifting for a large calorie burn. These exercises also work and tone your muscles, giving you more strength and mass.
Muscle weighs more than fat, so you may experience an increase in your weight as you begin building muscle. It may take several weeks before you burn off enough fat to see a drop, but you'll likely see a loss of inches on your body, according to Dennis Brooks, author of "Lose Weight With Appetite Control and Exercise." If you reach a plateau, switch up your routine, which helps jump start the process again and prevents boredom.
- Fitness: The 10 Best Calorie-Burning Exercises
- MayoClinic.com: Weight Loss: 6 Strategies for Success
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Losing Weight
- Lose Weight With Appetite Control and Exercise; Dennis Brooks
Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.