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Exercising for Fast Weight Loss

It's time to move more! Losing weight requires close to an hour a day of moderate exercise, one study shows.

Plan to do cardio and strength training.

"Cardio burns the most calories, so it is ideal for fast weight loss, but afterward you need to include a few hours a week of strength training," Dansinger says. To burn the most fat, try to break a sweat after your warm-up and keep sweating for the entire hour, Dansinger says.

If you're not exercising now, and you have a chronic condition or a lot of weight to lose, it's wise to check in with your health care provider first. They'll be rooting for you! And they'll make sure that you're ready to work out.

Pace yourself. Don't do too much, too soon -- work your way up to help prevent injury.  

One way to step up the intensity is to do interval training -- brief bursts of high-intensity, followed by a more mellow pace, and repeating that pattern throughout your workout.

"Interval training allows people to work harder without having to spend the entire time at the higher level, and over time, the more you do it, the easier it becomes to burn more calories," Blatner says.

Fad Diets and Crash Diets

I know how tempting diet crazes can sound, especially if you have a lot of weight to lose. You hear about stars who did it and look incredible.

But remember,  if a diet plan sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Also, please skip any programs that promote detoxification pills, laxatives, fasting, or potions, and any that promise weight loss faster than 2-3 pounds per week.

The truth is that cutting calories below 1,050-1,200 per day is counterproductive, because you need strong muscles to be able to exercise effectively.

"When you eat too few calories, you lose fat but also precious muscle, which is the worst thing you could do because it slows your metabolism and makes it more difficult to increase exercise intensity or duration," Dansinger says.

Fad diets also set you up for failure by depriving you of what you want. You can't eat like that for long, and it's too likely that you'll rebel and end up back where you started. You deserve better than that!

So by all means, attack your weight loss goal. Put it on the fast track. But please, do it right so you set yourself up for lasting success.

Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, is WebMD's director of nutrition. Her opinions and conclusions are her own.

 

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