Sorry, There is No "Magic Pill" for Weight Loss
But if it's on social media, it must work, right?!?!
Searcy, Ark. –
Chances are you have seen the ads (or “testimonials” on social media) for pills, shakes and supplements that claim to take pounds off with no exercise. If those things actually worked, then everyone would be thin. There is an old saying that goes something like this, “If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is!” We all want to be fit and fabulous with little or no effort, but who wants to spend hours on the treadmill or at the track? Unfortunately, there is no “magic pill” for weight loss.
Only two things have been proven to help you have successful weight loss, limiting calories and exercising. You must burn more calories than you take in. Calories are a measure of the amount of energy provided by the food you eat — the more calories you eat, the more energy you are giving your body. If you give your body more energy (calories) than it can use, then it stores the excess as fat.
A pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories. If you want to lose one pound in a week, you must cut your calories by 3,500 calories a week, or 500 calories a day. To lose two pounds in a week, you would have to create a calorie deficit of 7,000 calories a week, or 1,000 calories a day, and so on. Experts recommend that you lose no more than 2 pounds per week, which is a challenge for most people.
There are only two ways to create a calorie deficit: eat less or exercise more. If you want to meet your weight-loss goals, begin by comparing how many calories you take in with how many calories you burn. Keep a food diary of what you are eating and drinking throughout the day – this has been shown by research to be very effective! And yes, you even have to count those nibbles, because they have calories too. Add the amount of exercise you get for the day. The best way to do that is get a pedometer to track the number of steps you take in a day. On average, 2,000 steps equals a mile.
Walking is one of the easiest forms of exercise. It uses up oxygen, which causes your body to burn stored fat. It also strengthens muscles, which tones and shapes your body. The increased muscle mass boosts your metabolism, which means you burn more calories, even after you stop walking. Let’s say you burn 100 calories by walking a mile. While that doesn’t seem like a lot, most people average just less than 3 miles throughout their day. If you add a brisk evening walk after dinner you could easily burn an additional 400 calories that day. If you walk 4 miles, 4 times a week, that is 1,600 calories! That’s nearly half a pound of fat gone and all you had to do was walk! Add more steps to your day while making sure you do not increase your caloric intake and you can’t help but trim down.
Although it's not a “magic pill”, it is a very simple avenue towards weight loss. Find a way to consume fewer and burn more calories, then the weight will come off! Just keep going – don’t give up! The weight won’t fall off as quickly as a “magic pill” claims, but you’re more likely to keep it off in the long run.
For more information on balancing food and physical activity, contact White County Cooperative Extension Service at 501-268-5394, or Katie directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. The University of Arkansas System, Division of Agriculture is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. For ways to make small changes, check out my blog – Small Steps to Healthy Habits - https://www.uaex.edu/counties/white/small-steps-to-healthy-habits/.
By Katie Cullum
County Extension Agent - FCS
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Katie Cullum
County Extension Agent - FCS
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
2400 Old Searcy Landing Road Searcy AR 72143
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