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calories burned

I am trying to lose weight sensibly. I have reduced my calorie intake and am trying to exercise daily. I am a 53 year old female who is 5'7" and weighs 150 pounds. I am trying to stick to a 1500 calorie diet. However, I don't know how many calories I should try to burn each day. Is there a certain range that I should aim for?

Hi Patricia,

I don't actually recommend calorie counting as a weight loss strategy - it's been shown that over the long term it's not very effective at promoting and maintaining weight loss (some of my suggestions for promoting weight loss are listed further below).

Don't focus on how many calories you need to "burn" either; just make sure to get some physical activity every day. Ideally, you should do some intense cardiovascular (aerobic) activity 4-5 times per week for at least 30 minutes, and some strength training 2 times per week for about 30 minutes. Strength training is a *very* effective way to help promote loss of body fat, so I highly recommend adding it to your exercise plan! You can do a simple yet effective program at home with dumbbells and a stability ball. If you're not sure how to get started, I recommend _Sculpt Your Body with Bands and Balls_ by Denise Austin and _Weight Training for Dummies_ by Suzanne Schlosberg and Liz Neporent (both should be available at your local library).

Some other tips for promoting weight loss:

1. Think 揾ealthy food? not calories!

Counting calories is not an effective long term strategy for promoting weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight. Instead, focus on choosing foods that are low on processing and high in nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibre most of the time.

2. Get Enough Calcium!

Scientific research has demonstrated that dietary calcium plays a role in weight control. Calcium helps to regular fat storage and promotes fat loss in the abdominal area.

Eating about 1000 mg of calcium per day (from food, not supplements), equates to the burning of about 100 more calories of body fat per day (or about 10 pounds of fat per year!)

Choose 8 servings from the following list to meet your daily goal:

?cup calcium fortified orange juice
?cup fortified tomato juice
1 cup cooked or 2 cups raw greens (e.g. kale, collard greens, broccoli)
?cup cow's milk, soy milk, or yogurt
?oz cheese
?cup calcium-set tofu
?cup almonds
2 tbsp almond butter or sesame tahini
?cup soy nuts
1 oz calcium-fortified breakfast cereal

Although 8 servings sounds like a lot, many of the serving sizes are quite small. For example, if you include ?cup of fortified orange juice as well as ?cup milk on cereal at breakfast, 1.5 oz of cheese on your sandwich at lunch, 1 cup of milk with supper, and ?cup of yogurt plus ?cup of almonds for a snack, you've gotten in 8 servings!

3. Eat breakfast

About 40 percent of adults skip breakfast at least 4 times per week. Don't be one of them! Research has demonstrated that breakfast skippers weigh more than breakfast eaters. People who eat breakfast actually consume fewer calories by the end of the day than breakfast skippers. If you are pressed for time in the morning, or don't feel up to eating right after you get up, pack a portable breakfast (e.g. muffin or cereal bar, fruit cup or fresh fruit, yogurt) and nibble throughout the morning.

4. Eat the RIGHT kind of carbs

Yes, carbs have been elevated to dietary demon status lately - but they shouldn't be.  Your body needs carbohydrates to function properly. The key is to choose the right types of carbs. Steer clear of overprocessed foods like white bread, and increase your intake of healthy whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. One key benefit of healthy carbs is that they contain fibre, which helps you to feel full, so you don't overeat.

Good choices include:

Breads and baked goods made with whole grain flours, such as whole wheat, oats, or rye
Whole grain breakfast cereals, like Raisin Bran, Corn Bran, or Cheerios
Brown rice, couscous, barley, kamut, or millet
Fresh, frozen or canned fruits or vegetables
Legumes such as lentils, split peas, chickpeas, black beans, or baked beans
5. Beware of "Snackwell's Syndrome"

Due to the focus on low fat diets, many people have forgotten that calories count too! Just because a food is low in fat does not mean it is low in calories (often fat is replaced with more sugar). So even when consuming lower-fat versions of foods, continue to monitor your portion sizes!

6. Include adequate amounts of protein and fat

While it is not necessary (or even healthful) to consume a high-protein diet to promote weight loss, including adequate protein in your diet is important. Consuming protein foods at each meal will help you to feel satisfied for longer. Small amounts of fat can have the same effect ?just choose healthy fats like olive or canola oil, or the fat naturally present in foods such as nuts or avocadoes.

7. Avoid 搎uick fixes?br>
Although potions and pills may promise miracles, they will not deliver lasting results. You did not gain weight overnight, and you can't take it off overnight either! Studies show that people who lose weight quickly are likely to gain it all back. Permanent weight loss takes place much more slowly. Be patient and you will achieve your goal.

8. Set realistic goals

A safe rate of weight loss is 0.5 to 2 lbs per week. So, once you have determined your target weight, set a realistic time frame to get to your goal weight.

9. Get moving!

Regular physical activity is absolutely essential to promoting and maintaining weight loss. Much research has shown that individuals who commit to regular exercise are the ones most likely to maintain weight loss.

If the thought of physical activity intimidates you or makes you cringe, a great way to start is by purchasing a pedometer and using it daily.
A study of women aged 19-71 who walked 10,000 steps per day for 8 weeks, found that nearly half of the women reported losing weight during the 8 week period.

A pedometer increases your awareness of your daily activity level. You can purchase a basic one for about ten dollars. Start out by keeping track of how many steps you are currently taking per day, then aim to add 1000-2000 steps per day until you hit 10,000. This is the equivalent of about 8 km (5 miles). Squeeze in more steps by taking 5 to 10 minute walking breaks several times throughout the day, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and walking to destinations less than 1 km away.

10. Practice 揺xtreme self care?br>
Taking good care of yourself is crucial to both your weight loss success and your overall ability to live a satisfying life. Make sure to get enough sleep, and treat yourself to what your body and spirit needs ?a long, hot bath, a massage, or an evening curled up with a good book and a hot cup of tea. You are worth it!

You will also find articles, recipes and tips at my website, getfitwithkaren.com, along with a no-cost fitness newsletter you can subscribe to if you wish.

Hope that helps!

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