Get Moving Challenge

How to Lose Weight Safely

Evidence shows that slow and continuous weight loss through a balanced diet and regular exercise trumps any weight loss program or fad diet, especially when your goal is keep weight off long-term.

The Get Moving Challenge is designed to motivate you to lose weight slowly and continuously for better success. Below are basic guidelines for healthy weight loss. Don't forget to read weekly exercise and diet tips during the Get Moving Challenge.

Effective Weight Loss Guidelines

  • To lose one to two pounds per week, you need to reduce your calorie balance by 500 to 1000 calories per day. This may be done through a combination of eating less, choosing lower calorie alternatives for certain foods and burning more calories through exercise.
  • Physical activity increases the number of calories your body uses for energy and improves weight loss. Work your way up to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or an equivalent mix of the two each week. While performing physical activity, if your breathing and heart rate is noticeably faster but you can still carry on a conversation - it's probably moderately intense.
  • Even without calorie counting, tracking your food intake and exercise completed each day using a journal has been shown to be the most effective way to stay on track with your weight loss.
  • Avoid fad diets (a diet that requires removing an entire food group) and opt for one that includes all of the nutrients that your body needs through a balanced eating plan.
  • A balanced eating plan generally contains the following components: Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy or dairy alternatives; Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts; Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.
  • You can enjoy your favorite foods even if they are high in calories, fat or added sugars. The key is to eat them only once in a while and balance them with healthier foods and more physical activity. Consume them less often. If you normally eat these foods every day, cut back to once a week or once a month. You'll be cutting your calories because you're not having the food as often.

How Many Steps Does it Take to Produce a Healthy Heart?

According to research regarding activity levels, anything under 5,000 steps a day is considered to be a sedentary lifestyle. It isn't until you reach 10,000 steps a day that you're considered to be "active".[1][6] On average, 2,000 steps is equal to one mile, so 10,000 steps would be approximately 5 miles.

Increasing to this level isn't challenging. If you added two minutes of walking (roughly 150 steps) to each day over the previous week, you will increase your distance by a half-mile each week until you reach your goal.

Reaching 10,000 steps each day is a healthy feat, but no matter how far you go, try not to do it all in one fell swoop. People who move around throughout the day generally have better health outcomes than those who are active just to exercise and still sit the rest of their day.

Are you a runner? Use the reference guide below to approximate how many steps you take on your runs, based on your pace.

  • 6 min/mile: 1,482 steps each mile
  • 7 min/mile: 1,554 steps each mile
  • 8 min/mile: 1,600 steps each mile
  • 9 min/mile: 1,656 steps each mile
    *Normal walking is approximately 100 steps per minute and increases with higher intensity.