How to Lose Weight
Losing Weight on Your OwnOne of the most important things that you can do to lose weight is increase physical activity. Physical activity, quite simply, increases the number of calories that you burn on a daily basis. Every extra step you take increases the number of calories that you burn. This means you don't have to run marathons to increase your physical activity. You can begin by making small steps in what you do every day.
Another important thing is to decrease the amount of calories you consume. To balance food intake with calories burned, people should select a variety of healthy foods and be aware of portion sizes.
It's also important to set a realistic goal weight (see BMI Calculator to determine your ideal range).
(Click Obesity Prevention to learn more about increasing physical activity, improving portion control, and eating a healthy diet.)
Clinical and Nonclinical ProgramsExperts agree that the best way to lose weight is to follow a sensible eating plan and engage in regular physical activity. However, many people find it easier to do this by following a program. Of course, there are thousands of programs to choose from, so how can you decide which one is best for you?
There are two different types of weight loss programs: clinical and nonclinical. Understanding what a good program can offer and what to watch out for may help you choose one that will work for you. Safe and effective programs should include these components:
- Healthy eating plans that reduce calories but do not rule out specific foods or food groups
- Regular physical activity and/or exercise instruction
- Tips on healthy behavioral changes that also consider your cultural needs
- Slow and steady weight loss of about ¾ to 2 pounds per week and not more than 3 pounds per week (weight loss may be faster at the start of a program)
- Medical care if you are planning to lose weight by following a special formula diet, such as a low-calorie diet
- A plan to keep the weight off after you have lost it.
When looking at different companies, ask about the following:
- Possible health risks from weight loss
- All costs involved
- Controlling weight over the long term
- Proof of success, not just praise by other people
- A clear, truthful statement of how you're going to lose weight, including how much and how fast
- Ways to eat healthy and exercise more.