Answered by Darcy Lockman on Monday, June 1, 2009
Sorry, the conventional wisdom on weight loss—the "eat less, exercise more" school of thought—continues to be the best way to lose weight, according to Larry Durstine, professor of exercise science at the University of South Carolina.
Since you need to burn 3,500 more calories than you take in to lose a pound, Durstine suggests cutting out 100 calories a day—the equivalent of a can of regular soda. "Combine that with walking a mile and a half a day more than you usually exercise, and that's about a 300-calorie-a-day change in your caloric balance." That means you'll lose a pound in about a week and a half—nine to 10 pounds over a period of four months. And remember, picking up the pace of that walk will burn more calories: a 150-pound person walking a 30-minute mile pace burns 120 calories per mile; if she speeds up to a 20-minute mile, she'll burn 160 calories.
Some experts, like Barbara Hansen, Ph.D., director of the Obesity and Diabetes Research Center at the University of Maryland Medical School, put more, er, weight on the calorie-intake part of the equation: "Normal exercise—approximately forty-five minutes or an hour at a moderate pace, three or four times a week—will produce no weight loss without a calorie-restraint diet." So, you might have more success shedding that pound by giving up your daily fix of chocolate rather than trying to run it off.