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Weight Loss & Diet Plans

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Obesity - Topic Overview

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.

Most people have more success when they make small changes, one step at a time. For example, you might eat an extra piece of fruit, walk 10 minutes more, or add more vegetables to your meals.

Studies show that people who keep track of what they eat are better at losing weight. Keep a notebook where you can write down everything you eat and drink each day. You may be surprised to see how much you are eating. Use a calorie counter to add up your calories. (You can find calorie counters online and at bookstores.)

As you keep track of calories, look at whether you skip meals, when you eat, how often you eat out, and how many fruits and vegetables you eat. Keep track of when you eat beyond feeling full and if you eat for reasons other than being hungry. This will help you see patterns that you may want to change.

You may want to write down the amount of physical activity you've had each day and compare the calories you burned to those you took in. Use the Interactive Tool: How Many Calories Did You Burn? calculator.gif to see how many calories you burn through daily activities.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 19, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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