For the biggest body-shaping benefits, you can't beat strength training. But toboost your weekly calorie burn even more--and lose fat faster--add a littleaerobic exercise.Before you shake your head and say, "Not for me," consider that the ideas of whatconstitutes "aerobic" exercise have come a long way. Gone are the days of havingto squeeze into a pair of Lycra tights and sweat up a storm in an exercise class(unless you want to!). You can get all the aerobic benefits you need from everydayactivities like walking or even gardening.Once you start adding some cardiovascular exercise into your routine, you'll findthat a little goes a long way. If you do nothing more than take two brisk 10- to15-minute walks a day, you can drop one or two dress sizes over the course of ayear--even without dieting. Some researchers also believe that aerobic exercisespecifically targets the layer of fat in your abdominal area, which is good newsfor stubborn belly bulges.What's more, the benefits of aerobic exercise extend well beyond a shrinkingwaistline. Exercise burns calories, and study after study shows that the morecalories you burn, the less likely you are to get cardiovascular disease, stroke,diabetes, depression, Alzheimer's disease, and even certain You may be wonderingwhat your ideal body weight is. If you've surfed the Web to find out, you may
have come across suggestions that you need to lose a seemingly impossible numberof pounds to reach an ideal body weight. If you are very overweight, this figurecan reach 50 to 100 pounds. Even if you look at target body mass index ranges, itmay take a lot of weight loss to shift from the obese to normal category.
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Ideal body weights are often determined based on height. Doctors used to advisepatients to lose enough to reach their ideal weight. So a person who was 5-foot-eight-inches and 200 pounds might be advised to lose 50 pounds25 percent of their
body weight. Because such large losses were the goal, patients were often put onextremely strict, very low-calorie diets. Although massive amounts of weight couldbe lost for a short time, it often came back as soon as a person stopped theliquid diet or other extreme regimen that they were following.Aiming for dramatic weight loss is problematic. First, its a little self-
defeating. If its tough to dropand keep off10 pounds, how does your psyche wrap
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itself around a goal of losing 50 or 100 pounds? Second, it may not be realisticto lose large amounts of weight right now. It takes a full-fledged commitment tochanging your lifestyle long-term to lose the weight, then maintain that loss. Ifyou dont have the time or motivation for an all-out effort, you may make a feeble
attempt and then quitand feel less motivated than ever.
Today, thankfully, more conservative and healthier approaches are popular. Babysteps are the way to go. A small, short-term weight-loss goal is realistic andachievable: You will get the results you aim for. And once youve lost a little,
you can set a new, but still realistic and achievable goal. Over time, it ispossible to lose large amounts of weight.Rethink your expectationsWhen planning a weight loss program, the first step is to set a goal. But beforeyou can do that, you may need to readjust your expectations. Some people who wishto lose large amounts of weight find small losses a disappointment.