High Blood Pressure

Frequently Asked Questions

19. If I need to lose weight, what's a good approach?

If you need to lose weight, it’s important to do so slowly. Lose no more than 1/2 pound to 2 pounds a week. Begin with a goal of losing 10 percent of your current weight. This is the healthiest way to lose weight and offers the best chance of long-term success.

There’s no magic formula for weight loss. You have to eat fewer calories than you use up in daily activities. Just how many calories you burn daily depends on factors such as your body size and how physically active you are.

One pound equals 3,500 calories. So, to lose 1 pound a week, you need to eat 500 calories a day less or burn 500 calories a day more than you usually do. It’s best to work out some combination of both eating less and being more physically active.

And remember to be aware of serving sizes. It’s not only what you eat that adds calories, but also how much. As you lose weight, be sure to follow a healthy eating plan that includes a variety of foods.

For tips on healthy eating, see Eating Well as You Get Older.

For information on the health benefits of exercise and physical activity for older adults, see Benefits of Exercise. Or visit Go4Life®, the exercise and physical activity campaign from the National Instiute on Aging.