Easy Ways to Reduce Sedentary Time for Weight Loss and Health

November 1, 2023

Health Coach Q & A

What distance walking each day would be a good goal to lose weight relatively rapidly?

To lose weight, the American Diabetes Association suggests using a combination of diet and exercise to achieve a calorie deficit of 500 to 750 calories per day. If you do this solely through exercise, that means you’d be aiming to burn off an additional 500-750 calories per day with exercise. For someone who weighs 160 pounds, that would mean running or briskly walking about 6-8 miles daily. 

It’s usually healthiest and most feasible to combine healthy dietary changes with physical activity to lose weight. That means you could reduce calorie intake from food, and increase calorie expenditure from exercise. 

For example, you could:

  • Cut out 20 ounces of soda (250 calories) and walk for 5 miles (400 calories)
  • Swap a slice of cheesecake for a piece of fruit (400 calories) and walk for 2 miles (100 calories)
  • Have salmon and broccoli instead of a burger and fries (500 calories) and walk for 2 miles (100 calories)

All of these numbers are estimates, but the concept is the same: they all help with weight loss through combining dietary changes and physical activity. 

Do you need to walk 35,000 steps to lose a pound?

Good question! 

You can lose weight by reducing calorie intake (through foods and beverages), and/or by increasing calorie expenditure (such as by increasing physical activity). You need to burn off 3,500 calories to lose a pound of body fat.

The calories burned per step vary depending on factors like how much you weigh and how fast you are walking. Someone about 200 pounds and walking briskly might burn about 3,500 calories if they can complete about 6-7 miles in their 35,000 steps.

When thinking about weight loss, it’s important to consider dietary changes along with activity. It also helps to remember that you may not know precisely the calories burned in exercise. It can help to keep in mind goals like at least 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity, as well as changes like eating more vegetables and drinking more water to lose weight.

What are your thoughts on fasting?

There’s a lot of interest in intermittent fasting. There’s not a lot of long-term research on it.

Intermittent fasting patterns can include:

  • Fasting for 16 hours a day, and keeping eating to within an 8-hour window
  • Fasting for 2 days a week with normal eating schedules the other 5 days
  • Fasting or keeping to around 500 calories on alternate days, with regular eating the other days

Intermittent fasting may help you lose weight if it helps you reduce overall calories. It can also help with certain metabolic processes, at least in the short term. It could potentially reduce inflammation, which plays a role in some chronic conditions.

However, side effects may include crankiness, nausea, headaches, trouble sleeping, and fatigue.

If you do choose to try intermittent fasting, remember that your periods of eating should include small or normal portions, as well as healthy foods, for effectiveness at weight loss and health.

Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before trying intermittent fasting. It can be harmful for some people.

OUR next live webinar

Empowering Ways to Beat Cravings to Lose Weight and Lower Blood Sugar

November 15, 2023 12:30 PM
Members of Lark's Diabetes Prevention Program can check your emails for registration information! Not a member? See if you're eligible for live webinar access and more.

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