10 tips for successful weight loss

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Being overweight or obese can lead to a range of health problems. Although many different “fad” diets are available, a balanced lifestyle and nutritious diet are the key to healthful living and better weight control.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 93.3 million adults in the United States had obesity in 2015–2016. This number is equivalent to 39.8 percent of the population.

Carrying excess body weight can increase the risk of serious health problems, including heart diseasehypertension, and type 2 diabetes.

Crash diets are not a sustainable solution, whatever perks their proponents might claim them to have. To both lose weight safely and sustain that weight loss over time, it is essential to make gradual, permanent, and beneficial lifestyle changes.

1. Eat varied, colorful, nutritionally dense foods

Healthful meals and snacks should form the foundation of the human diet. A simple way to create a meal plan is to make sure that each meal consists of 50 percent fruit and vegetables, 25 percent whole grains, and 25 percent protein. Total fiber intake should be 25–30 grams (g) daily.

Eliminate trans fats from the diet, and minimize the intake of saturated fats, which has a strong link with the incidence of coronary heart disease.

Instead, people can consume monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) or polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), which are types of unsaturated fat.

The following foods are healthful and often rich in nutrients:

  • fresh fruits and vegetables
  • fish
  • legumes
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • whole grains, such as brown rice and oatmeal

Foods to avoid eating include:

  • foods with added oils, butter, and sugar
  • fatty red or processed meats
  • baked goods
  • bagels
  • white bread
  • processed foods

In some cases, removing certain foods from the diet might cause a person to become deficient in some necessary vitamins and minerals. A nutritionist, dietitian, or another healthcare professional can advise a person how to get enough nutrients while they are following a weight loss program.

2. Keep a food and weight diary

Self-monitoring is a critical factor in successfully losing weight. People can use a paper diary, mobile app, or dedicated website to record every item of food that they consume each day. They can also measure their progress by recording their weight on a weekly basis.

Those who can track their success in small increments and identify physical changes are much more likely to stick to a weight loss regimen.

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