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Healthy Weight Loss: Set Eating Goals You Can Meet

Crash diets or those that limit you to a few foods are tough to maintain over the long haul, and your lost weight is likely to come back. In the long run, it's better to start with a smaller goal, like losing 10 pounds. Set a doable date for reaching this goal -- studies show this can help you get there. Then focus on making healthy changes in your eating and activity habits.

Try these healthy weight loss goals on for size. Which goals fit your lifestyle?

  • I'll eat whole-grain cereal and skim milk instead of a muffin for breakfast 4 days a week.
  • I'll cut back on eating out or plan before I do by looking at the menu online and deciding ahead of time what to order.
  • I'll eat blueberries and non-fat yogurt instead of ice cream.
  • I'll use the "Plate Method" to help manage my portions. Non-starchy vegetables and fruits go on half the plate, starchy foods such as brown rice go on 1/4 of the plate, and lean proteins such as skinless poultry, fish, and lean meat go on the other 1/4th.
  • I'll write down everything I eat for 2 weeks.

Weight Loss and Fitness: Set Activity Goals You Can Meet

Be active every day. It will help you control blood sugar levels and boost your energy and overall mood. Moving your body every day will also help you take off extra weight. Look over these goals:

  • I will walk around the neighborhood after dinner for 30 minutes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
  • I will get off the bus two stops early and walk the rest of the way to work.
  • I will sign up for the Tuesday night low-impact aerobics class at the gym.
  • I will track my activity every day by writing it on my personal calendar.

To make your own list of goals, think about what will work for you. Be specific about when, where, and how you can reach each goal. It's fine to start slow and build up to 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week.

Mix up your routine -- plan different activities you can do during the week. Experts recommend a mix of aerobic activities and strength-training exercises. Aerobic exercise could include walking, climbing stairs, dancing, or swimming. Strength training uses weights or exercise bands to strengthen muscles. This should be part of your exercise routine at least 2-3 days a week. Ask your doctor before you start an exercise program to make sure it's safe for you.