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You don't get excited when you look in the mirror and see the pounds packing on, and it's easy to feel desperate to shed the weight. Healthy weight loss takes time, and starving yourself can lead to a host of health problems. You'll start burning calories the second you hit the gym, jump on the treadmill or struggle with a weight, but it can take a couple of weeks to notice a change. With an intense exercise and diet routine, you can expect to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week.
There is no single weight-loss plan or schedule that works for everyone, and the amount of weight you lose -- and the time it will take -- depends on how active you are, your diet and your overall health. To lose 1 pound of fat, you'll need to shed 3,500 calories, and doing so through a combination of diet and exercise can make weight loss go faster. Even cutting out just 100 calories a day will burn an extra 700 calories a week, which amounts to a pound of weight loss every five weeks even if you don't exercise at all.
Type of Exercise
Any time you move your body, you're burning calories and being generally active, whether it be parking farther away from buildings, chasing after kids or playing with your dog. While strength-training routines such as doing lunges or lifting weights will burn a few calories, the most effective method for shedding fat is aerobic exercise. Any exercise routine that gets your heart racing and forces you to breathe more quickly while working large groups of muscles counts as aerobic exercise. If you regularly swim, bike, run or jump rope, you'll lose more weight than if you spend your time on crunches and pullups.
Length of Exercise
The more time you spend exercising, the more weight you'll lose. The Mayo Clinic points out that many people need as much as 300 minutes of aerobic exercise a week -- or an hour five days per week -- to lose weight. When you spend more time exercising, your muscles get a stronger workout and you'll burn more calories. If you can't stomach an hour-long workout session, try breaking your routine into shorter workouts. You might, for example, jump rope for 10 minutes in the morning, take your dog for two 20-minute walks and then run for 10 minutes in the evening. On this schedule, you can expect to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week.
Intensity of Exercise
The more intense your exercise routine is, the more calories you'll burn. You can gauge the intensity of your exercise routine by how hard your heart is beating and how difficult it is to talk. If you can barely get a word out, you're doing intense exercise. Walking is relatively low-intensity exercise, burning about 120 calories every 30 minutes for a 125-pound person walking at 3.5 miles per hour. Running, by contrast, is more intense and burns more calories. A 125-pound person running at 5 miles per hour will burn about 240 calories in 30 minutes, according to Harvard Health Publications. If you do high-intensity exercise every day, you'll lose weight more quickly.