Not me, but the Mayo Clinic states that “To reap the most health benefits from exercise, your exercise intensity must generally be at a moderate or vigorous level. For weight loss, the more intense your exercise, or the longer you exercise, the more calories you burn.

However, balance is important. Overdoing it can increase your risk of soreness, injury, and burnout. If you're new to regular exercise and physical activity, you may need to start out at a light intensity and gradually build up to a moderate or vigorous intensity.

Once you've lost weight, exercise is even more important — it's what helps keep the weight off. In fact, studies show that people who maintain their weight loss over the long term get regular physical activity.

Remember a rule of thumb for a typical healthy weight loss goal is 1 to 2 pounds per week, so you need to be both flexible and realistic about achieving say a weight loss goal of a 20-pound loss in just two months.

Weight loss and healthy living require a lifestyle and mindset change that not only sets your weight goals but also determines the healthiest way to reach them, which includes a smart diet and exercise regimen. If walking is your preferred form of exercise, be prepared to move fast and get your heart rate up to help drop the pounds.

Diet—yes, that word we ALL hate to hear or be told about, but the sage old saying is as true now as when we first heard it over 100 years ago. “What goes into your body, better reflects the weight loss goals you’re setting for yourself”

If you add exercise to your lifestyle but don't change bad eating habits, you're unlikely to lose 20 pounds in two months, 3 months or really, ever! Lowering your calorie intake is imperative to losing weight. Walking doesn't burn as many calories as some other cardio activities, such as running, so you must monitor your diet carefully. You must burn 3,500 calories more than you take in to lose 1 pound.

If you reduce your daily caloric intake by 500 calories per day, you can lose up to a pound each week. Walking briskly for a half-hour burns about 150 calories, which leads to another 1/3 pound shaved off each week. Although that doesn't mean you'll reach your 20 pounds weight loss goal in a few months but, you may be able to cut more calories or walk farther with more intensity, such as a route with more hills, to raise the amount of weight loss each week. Remember, we all need goals to point us in the right direction and monitoring your walking distance, the calories you're burning by taking all those steps and possibly even monitoring your heart rate can provide you with the necessary incentives to keep track of your daily activity and as an offshoot, give you the reasons why NOT to eat things you know will counter the good you are doing by taking that brisk walk by eating the wrong foods.

Eating a diet that cuts back on the amount of starches, added sugars, and animal fat from meat and dairy foods is a good start on the path to eating healthy. For rapid weight loss, you can focus on eating more fruits, (but in moderation, since fruits have a higher amount of sugar, but its natural sugar which is better for you than processed sugar), veggies, egg whites, soy products, skinless poultry breasts, fish, shellfish, nonfat dairy foods, and 95% lean meat.

Here are some tips from Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, and author of The Flexitarian Diet:
First, take an inventory of what foods, snacks are already in your home. If you live by yourself, throw them out! If they are unopened packages, donate them to a local food bank. Get your home ready by eliminating any tempting foods, especially processed foods that can keep you from embracing a new healthy eating lifestyle!

Eat vegetables to help you feel full.
Drink plenty of water.
Stay busy -- you don't want to eat just because you're bored. Which surprisingly is a large case of adult and child obesity in this country!
Reduce the size of the plate you eat from. If you look in the cupboards of most American’s today, you’re going to find huge sized dinner plates. About 50 years ago, we were taught that bigger is better. So out comes a larger version of a typical dinner plate for a single person serving. In fact, since the 1900’s the size of that plate has grown from roughly 8 inches to now over 12inches and restaurant size plates can resemble a satellite dish instead of a plate to eat off of. And with those larger plates, the portion sizes have also grown substantially!
Eat only from a plate, while seated at a table. No grazing in front of the 'fridge.
Don't skip meals.
Keep a food journal -- writing down everything you eat -- can also help you stay on track.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that women consume at least 1,200 calories per day and men take in at least 1,800, so keep your calories at a safe level when adjusting your diet. Make your calories count when reducing them; don't eat 500 empty calories of potato chips. Instead, reach for nutrient-rich foods such as low-fat dairy foods, lean meat and fresh fruits and vegetables.

A good tool to have with you as you take those daily walks and really keep with you all day and even when you lay down to sleep is the Garmin Vivosmart Strapless Heart Rate & Activity Tracker  

In a later blog we will go into nutrient rich diets that with embracing walking can help you shed those 1-2 pounds each week, which if you look at the long term, goals can have you possible gaining ground on loosing those 20lbs. Maybe not in your 2 month optimistic goal, but with proper eating habits and maintaining your walking routine and increasing your speeds you can meet that goal and surpass it!

So keep walking, but make sure you also follow a healthy diet.


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