The answer depends very much on personal circumstances.
A pound of fat represents around 3500 calories, so to lose 2 pounds per week, you need to be running an average calorie deficit of 1000 calories per day, 7 days per week. If you are eating 1200 (which is the minimum most nutritionists recommend for women), then you need to be burning 2200 per day.
Your overal burn is made up of 3 components:
* your metabolism or what you burn each day just keeping your natural body functions ticking over, known as your BMR. Google 'BMR calculator' to get a better fix on this number for you.
* what you burn through daily non-exercise activities. Generally reckoned to be around 20% in addition to your BMR for a sedentary lifestyle.
* what you burn through exercise.
So you need to do as much exercise as to bring your overall burn up to 2200.
Of course, all this is the math. There are many reasons why things won't quite work out this way in practice:
* Your weight loss naturally slows down as you approach your goal weight. Somebody with a lot of weight to lose may well lose 2 lbs per week. Someone with 15 lbs to lose just won't lose at that rate regardless of the deficit they run
* Most experts recommend a rest day from exercise once per week, so you need to exercise a little more each day to get an AVERAGE total burn of 2200
* The scale can naturally fluctuate by several pounds per day, for reasons that have nothing to do with fat loss. Some weeks you will lose 3 lbs, some weeks 1 lb, etc.
* Going from nothing to suddenly burning several hundred calories per day is hard. Both in terms of establishing a habit of regular exercise, and the fitness to handle that much exercise. Building up exercise levels and fitness is something best done gradually.
* Sticking religiously to 1200 calories and exact exercise levels is hard. Temptations, dinners with family and friends, frantically busy days, illness and injury can temporarily derail even the best intentions.
* BMR, exercise calories, etc are all just estimates - it is likely that your numbers will be a little bit off (either plus or minus) from this.
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
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