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Keys to Success

Intentional weight loss occurs when the energy (calorie) expenditure (output) is greater than the energy (calorie) intake. The goal of the dietary portion of the program is to decrease calorie intake whereas this exercise portion is designed to increase the calorie loss. Just as maintaining proper nutrition is critical when there is restricted food intake, it is equally necessary to develop a pattern of physical fitness. The improved health benefits of moderate exercise are well-documented in the scientific literature.

Exercise has been shown to improve cardiovascular and pulmonary health, as well as improve muscle tone and flexibility of joints. Exercise also tends to improve mental health in reducing depression and other stress-related mood disorders. Many women describe increased energy and a generally improved sense of well-being. Weight-bearing exercise also improves bone density and helps to prevent osteoporosis. Exercise is a very individual effort and requires self-motivation. If you can find 20 minutes per day, this would help. A list of exercise activities is included. In order to decrease body fat, energy intake must be less than energy output. It is estimated that a pound of body fat provides 3,500 calories. Therefore, to lose a pound of fat, one must decrease energy intake by this amount or increase energy output by this amount. For most people, a loss of 5-15% of body weight, most of which is fat, will significantly reduce the risk for many diseases.

Approaches to Weight Loss Management
Although the arithmetic is simple (calories in versus calories out), achieving a reduction in body weight is not that easy. There are regulatory mechanisms in your body designed to keep weight stable. There are environmental and emotional motivators to increase food intake and reduce the inclination to exercise. Nonetheless, reductions in calorie intake, increases in activity and changes in behavior can promote weight loss and long-term weight management.

Decreasing Energy Intake
For safe and effective weight loss, the diet must be low in energy but provide for the body’s nutrient needs.  With energy intakes of less than 1,200 calories per day, it is difficult to meet the requirements for micronutrients, so that multivitamin and mineral supplements are recommended. Medical supervision is recommended if intake is 800 calories per day or less.

Increasing Physical Activity
Physical activity is an important component of any well-designed weight management program. Exercise promotes fat loss and weight maintenance. It increases energy expenditure, so if intake remains the same, energy stored as fat is used for fuel. Also, exercise promotes muscle development and increasing muscle mass helps to maintain a higher BMI which speeds up weight loss. Weight loss is also better maintained when physical activity is included in the weight-management program. In addition, physical activity improves overall fitness and relieves boredom and stress.

Modifying Behavior
In order to keep weight at a new lower level, food consumption and exercise patterns must be changed for life. Changing