The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that an overwhelming 64 percent of U.S. women and 72 percent of U.S. men are either overweight or obese. If your body mass index, or BMI, is 25 or greater you fall into the overweight category. If your BMI is 30 or above, you’re considered obese based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards.
Obese individuals can reduce the chronic disease risk by losing weight. To determine your BMI, multiply 703 by your body weight in pounds and divide that number by the square of your height in inches.
Reduced-Calorie Diets as a Weight Loss Strategy
In general, eating fewer calories than you burn off each day is the only way to lose weight in a timely manner. The American Dietetic Association recommends overweight and obese individuals lose about 1 to 2 pounds per week for the first six months. You can accomplish this rate of weight loss by reducing your daily intake by 500 to 1,000 calories each day or combining calorie reduction with increased physical activity.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that reduced-calorie diets containing between 1,000 and 1,600 calories per day are usually effective for weight loss in adult men and women. Following a very low-calorie diet, or VLDL, containing less than 800 calories per day can lead to a more rapid rate of weight loss. Notably, it’s important to consult a physician before beginning a diet.
Foods That Promote Weight Loss
Healthy low-calorie foods that help fill you up are good choices for rapid weight loss. These types of foods may include grilled chicken or fish, very lean ground turkey or beef, fruits, vegetables, legumes such as kidney or pinto beans, low-fat meatless soy products, egg whites, whole grains and low-fat or fat-free dairy products.
Reducing your daily carbohydrate intake can help to reduce your overall calorie intake, thereby promoting weight loss.
The American Dietetic Association reports that low-carbohydrate diets are associated with increased weight and body fat loss compared with other reduced-calorie diets during the first six months of your weight loss program. High-carbohydrate foods to limit for fast weight loss include white bread, potatoes, white rice, white flour pasta, crackers, desserts and added sugars.
Sleep Habits and Weight Loss
Getting plenty of rest may help accelerate weight loss if you’re younger than 40 years old. According to a study published in the journal Sleep, people younger than 40 years old who slept 5 hours or less per night had higher BMIs compared with people younger than 40 years old who slept between 6 and 7 hours per night.
However, study participants who slept 8 hours or more at night also had higher BMIs compared with participants who slept 6 to 7 hours per night.
Weight Loss Surgery
Weight loss surgery, or bariatric surgery such as gastric bypass surgery, is often an option for very obese individuals with a high risk for developing obesity-related health problems. Weight loss surgery can result in fast weight loss for very obese patients, and is followed by a medically supervised weight loss program. However, weight loss surgery poses certain health risks such as complications from the surgery or anesthesia, and malnutrition from low energy intake or nutrient malabsorption.