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What causes obesity? continued...

If your family members are obese, you may have inherited a tendency to gain weight. And your family also helps form your eating and lifestyle habits, which can lead to obesity.

Also, our busy lives make it harder to plan and cook healthy meals. For many of us, it's easier to reach for prepared foods, go out to eat, or go to the drive-through. But these foods are often high in saturated fat and calories. Portions are often too large. Work schedules, long commutes, and other commitments also cut into the time we have for physical activity.

You've tried diets, but you always gain the weight back. What can you do?

Focus on health, not diets. Diets are hard to stay on and usually don't work in the long run. It is very hard to stay with a diet that includes lots of big changes in your eating habits.

Instead of a diet, focus on lifestyle changes that will improve your health and achieve the right balance of energy and calories. To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you take in. You can do it by eating healthy foods in reasonable amounts and becoming more active. And you need to do it every day.

Little steps mean a lot. Losing just 10% of your body weight can make a difference in your health.1

Make a plan for change. Work with your doctor to create a plan that will work for you. Ask family members and friends for help in keeping with your plan. Ask your doctor to recommend a dietitian to help you with meal planning.

When you stray from your plan, don't get upset. Figure out what got you off track and how you can fix it.

How can you stay on your plan for change?

It's hard to change habits. You have to be ready. Make sure this is the right time for you. Are you ready to make a plan and stay on it? Do you have the support of your family and friends? Do you know what your first steps will be? Becoming healthier and staying that way is a lifelong effort.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

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