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How to Lose 1 Pound a Week

To lose one pound a week, you have to reduce your calories by 500 a day. You can do that by eating 500 calories less, exercising 500 calories more or a combination of the two. For the best results, I suggest doing both. Need help getting started? Here's what a typical day might look like.

Eat Breakfast Get up and eat something. Set your alarm clock to go off 15 minutes earlier than usual. You're going to use that time to wake up and prepare breakfast. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. A bowl of cereal with fat-free milk, oatmeal or some scrambled egg whites and toast are all good choices. You have to eat breakfast, so your body has energy to face the rest of the day.

Make Lunch Now make your lunch. Bringing your food with you saves money and time. You don't have to drive to the local fast food place for something that's probably bad for you. When you pack your own lunch, you can eat healthy food that you enjoy. Better yet, you get to start eating right away. If you don't have time to make your lunch, take along a frozen meal. Try Healthy Choice, Lean Cuisine or Smart Ones. Remember to bring a low-calorie drink as well.

Exercise Schedule time to exercise every day. If you're a morning person, do it when you first get up. Exercise will help wake you up and jump-start your calorie burning for the day.

Not a morning person? If you have an hour for lunch, take the first 30 minutes to walk. 15 minutes out and 15 minutes back. Then get your bag lunch and spend the next half hour enjoying it. Evening exercise is good too, just don't do it too close to bedtime. Exercising less than an hour before you turn in for the night can make it harder to fall asleep.

Light Dinner When you get home, prepare something light to eat.

Have a piece of fruit or a small sandwich such as peanut butter and sugar-free jelly on whole-grain bread. Sugar-free, fat-free pudding, Jell-O or a little low-fat microwave popcorn are good choices too.


A healthy snack will help you avoid eating junk food before dinner. While you're at it, put together some snacks for the next couple of days. Pack some you can bring in to work with you. "Grazing" or eating small meals throughout the day helps to offset cravings and keeps your metabolism revved up.

Measuring Cup If you sit down in front of the television, make sure to measure out any foods before you eat them. When you grab a bag of pretzels, you're more likely to overeat than if you take a measured portion, put it in a bowl and put the bag away.

Balance Your Meal For dinner, try filling your plate by balancing the meal. Look at your plate like a pie chart. Fill half of it with fruits and vegetables. Skip the fatty dips and toppings. Only put very low-fat or fat-free dressings on top. Divide the other side of the plate evenly between grains (like whole-grain breads or brown rice) and protein (like eggs, meat or soy). You'll get a more balanced dinner and your meal should have fewer calories than the typical American fare.

Sleep Decide in advance what time you're going to bed. Now stick to that time. Do the things you absolutely have to do first. Finish that report for school, the household chores or the bills you have to pay. Then do the things that will make the next morning easier. Layout the clothes you're going to wear, arrange your schedule for the following day and put everything you need by the front door, so it's easy to grab on your way out.

When the designated time comes, go to bed. Make sure to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. Get up in the morning refreshed and one more day closer to your ultimate goal.

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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.