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Self-Care at Home
By decreasing daily calorie intake by 500 calories or expending an extra 500 calories during exercise each day, you will lose about 1 pound per week.
Decreasing your calorie intake by 10 calories a day will equal one pound of weight loss after one year.
Any good diet plan will include exercise. It helps to increase metabolism and is one less opportunity to eat during the day. You should exercise for at least 30 minutes, five times a week. Regular exercise also helps your heart and lungs and lowers triglyceride levels that can cause heart disease. It also increases the HDL ("good cholesterol") levels. Even simple measures such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator and short walks eventually add up to a lot of calories burned. Commercial fitness programs such as Boot Camp can help you start or improve upon a fitness program.
For those who don't have the time to make it to support groups, there are now many free or low cost apps available for the iPhone, iPad, or Android which help determine and track calories, nutrition, and calorie expenditure. Try LoseIt!, Weight Watchers Mobile, Restaurant Nutrition, 40:30:30, Diet Point, or Noom Weight Loss Coach.
For a more complete discussion of lifestyle changes that are helpful in losing weight, see Weight Loss and Control.
Of special interest to women who have gained weight after having a baby is the fact that breastfeeding helps you shed some extra pounds. Besides the positive effects for the baby, breastfeeding burns approximately 500 extra calories each day.
Gayle M. Galletta, MD, FACEP
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