When looking for the most effective way to lose weight, many women focus on just one component of weight loss: either exercise or calorie restriction. But no matter what method you use, it's a fact that losing weight can be hard. It's dependent on many variables, including your lifestyle and activity level. The amount of exercise you do and the amount of calories you eat will determine how much weight you will lose.
To lose weight you need to burn more calories than you consume daily. One pound of body fat equals approximately 3,500 calories. According to the Mayo Clinic, you would need to eliminate 500 calories a day to lose one pound. This can be accomplished through walking or decreasing your daily caloric intake, but by combining them, you may see quicker results.
Benefits of Walking
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According to the University of New Mexico, exercise such as walking can be just as effective for weight loss as a calorie-restrictive diet. Based on information from the Mayo Clinic, a woman weighing 160 pounds will burn approximately 300 calories from walking one hour at a pace of 3.5 mph. Walking on a treadmill can help set your pace and track the calories you burn.
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Eating a low-calorie diet may be one of the most common methods used for losing weight. According to Donald Hensrud, M.D. from the Mayo Clinic, "cutting calories through dietary changes seems to promote weight loss more effectively than does exercise and physical activity." However, Dr. Hensrud also notes that eating a calorie-restrictive diet of only 400 to 800 calories daily often results in gaining back the weight you lost within six months of stopping the diet.
Combination of Walking and Diet
According to the University of New Mexico, "...exercise and diet modification is the best method for weight loss." Include at least 30 minutes of walking or other exercise daily as recommended by the Mayo Clinic, and eat a diet lower in calories to achieve a quicker weight loss and help keep the weight off. Always check with your doctor before beginning a walking regime or changing your diet.
Amy Hannaford teaches childbirth education classes and a healthy pregnancy series in Southern Oregon. Hannaford holds an Associate of Arts degree, a certificate in medical assisting, and has been a childbirth educator and birth doula for 20 years. She has been writing articles for Demand Media since 2008.