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Obesity and Weight Management

Weight

05/09/2007

Question:

How can a young of 20 years lose weight on arriving at 64kg for a height of 1 metre 53 centimetres?

Answer:

To lose weight properly you need to do it slowly, using a combination of fewer calories and more physical activity. To keep it off you will need to make this a permanent lifestyle change.

If you go to ChooseMyPlate.gov and put in your age, gender, and current physical activity level, you will see that a 20 year old female with less than 30 minutes of physical activity per day beyond normal daily life will maintain her weight on about 2000 calories per day. A 20 year old male with less than 30 minutes of physical activity per day beyond normal daily life will maintain his weight on about 2400 calories per day.

To lose weight slowly, reduce your calories by 500 calories per day to create a deficit of 3500 calories per week. This is the amount of calories you shouldn't eat to lose 1 pound (.5 kg). At the same time you need to increase your physical activity, and include some strength activities that will firm up and build muscle, replacing the fat you now have. With a higher muscle mass instead of fat mass your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) goes up. BMR is a measure of the base number of calories you need for your body to function properly.

Your goal suggests that you are much heavier than 64 kg right now. This goal will give you a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 27.3, which is still overweight because it is higher than 25 (a healthy BMI for an adult is between 18 and 25), but is a good goal if your current BMI is over 30. Your current height at age 20 suggests that you are female. So my recommendations will be based on you being a 20 year old female.

Keep your calories at 1500 per day. Break them down into amounts from the following food groups:

Dairy - 3 cups, nonfat or very low fat

Grains - the equivalent of 5 ounces (half should be whole grain)

Vegetables - 2 cups (include a variety of vegetable subgroups)

Fruits - 1.5 cups

Meat and Beans - 5 ounces lean

Oils and discretionary calories (These are calories and foods that flavor your foods listed in the food groups) - 4 teaspoons of oils and trans fat free margarines, plus 135 calories that you can use for sugars, other fats or more food from one of the food groups.

You will probably lose some water weight when you first control your calories at 1500, (16 ounces of water weighs 1 pound or a little less than .5 kg, but has no calories), so you may actually see a greater weight loss on the scales the first few weeks than 1 pound or .5 kg.

Don't be tempted to eat far fewer calories than 1500, or you will encourage your body to go into starvation mode, which lowers your BMR.

Eat breakfast; then space the rest of your calories into 3-5 more meals or snacks so that your body will never think it is starving and switch to a lower BMR. Your only period longer than 4-5 hours of not eating should be while you are sleeping.

By eating the recommended amounts of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, you will be getting foods that provide higher levels of satiety, longer. You will be satisfied with fewer calories and won't feel as hungry as fast.

Increase your physical activity. Purchase a pedometer and see how many steps per day you take now. Add 2000-2500 more to it as an initial goal. Work up to 10,000 steps per day. This should put you in the physical activity range or 60-90 minutes of activity beyond your normal routine. If you do not have a level waistline (it drops a little in front) a pedometer may not register all your steps correctly. Wear it on your waist on your back hip instead of in front.

Your weight loss will eventually stop, which is when this meal plan should become your permanent lifestyle plan rather than just a weight loss plan.

Good luck.

For more information:

Go to the Obesity and Weight Management health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Sharron   Coplin, MS, RD, LD Sharron Coplin, MS, RD, LD
Former Lecturer
Food & Nutrition
College of Education and Human Ecology
The Ohio State University