Losing weight can dramatically reduce your risk of joint problems, heart attack, diabetes and premature death. However, excessive and rapid weight loss can harm your immune system, damage your heart and decrease energy. It can also make you look gaunt and unhealthy. To lose weight without looking gaunt, you must calculate a healthy weight and then lose weight slowly rather than engaging in crash dieting.
If you notice that you are shedding weight very quickly or if you feel weak, consult your doctor.
Calculate your body mass index (BMI). A healthy body mass index is between 18.5 and 24.9, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. A BMI below 18.5 poses health risks and can cause you to look gaunt. To calculate BMI, multiply your height in inches by itself. Then divide your weight in pounds by this number. Then multiply the result by 703. For example, if you are 5 feet tall and weigh 100 pounds, your calculations would look like this: (100/(60_60))_703, resulting in a healthy BMI of 19.5. Plug your ideal weight into this formula to ensure that it is a healthy weight.
Reduce your caloric intake slowly. To lose 1 pound of fat, you must eliminate 3,500 calories from your diet . For most people, this means eliminating 500 calries per day, resulting in loss of a pound or two a week. Rapidly dropping weight is unhealthy and can wreak havoc on both your health and appearance. Ensure you are getting healthy nutrition while losing weight. Rather than subsisting on diet drinks or energy bars, eat healthy, balanced meals containing fruits, vegetables and lean proteins such as fish and nuts.
Get 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per week. Cardiovascular exercise is moderate-intensity exercise that elevates your heart rate and is sustained over several minutes. It includes activities such as running, walking, jogging and jumping rope. Strength training is also important. It works individual muscles and muscle groups and includes activities such as weight lifting. The Mayo Clinic recommends a minimum of two 20-minute sessions of strength training per week. Strength training can help build your muscles and prevent you from looking gaunt or sickly.
Brenna Davis is a professional writer who covers parenting, pets, health and legal topics. Her articles have appeared in a variety of newspapers and magazines as well as on websites. She is a court-appointed special advocate and is certified in crisis counseling and child and infant nutrition. She holds degrees in developmental psychology and philosophy from Georgia State University.