obesity will be most successful if you create a
long-term plan with your doctor. A reasonable goal might be to begin making
lifestyle changes by increasing physical activity and eating healthy foods. Your initial goal should be to improve your health, not to achieve an
a goal of losing 10% of your body weight in 6 months.1 Doctors often recommend that people make lifestyle changes for at least 6 months before trying
medicines or surgery.
Your doctor may also
counseling. If you use food to cope with depression,
loneliness, anxiety, or boredom, you need to learn new skills to deal with
Eating fewer calories
while increasing activity is the best way to lose weight. Focus on smaller portion sizes.
See ChooseMyPlate for the amount of food you should eat.
People often convince themselves that they don't
overeat. Keeping a food journal(What is a PDF document?) can help you find out how many calories you consume in a day. Then you can set a goal with your doctor or dietitian according to your needs.
Limiting your calories to very low levels might seem like the way to quick weight loss. But it can have serious negative effects on your body and your ability to keep the weight off.
Limiting calories and portion size—not limiting the types of
foods you eat—causes more weight loss over the long term. For example, cutting only carbohydrate
or fat will not cause any more weight loss than a healthful eating plan.
Eat healthier foods—don't diet
Rather than focusing
on a particular type of diet, try to eat healthier foods. Don't try to restrict
the foods you love. Eat less of them. Eat smaller portions.
Take a look at the dietary guidelines for good health.
dietitian can show you how to make healthy changes in
your eating habits and help you recognize your hunger signals. For more information, see the Weight-Loss Strategies and Programs section of this topic.
activity helps you burn more calories. Overall, experts recommend doing moderate or vigorous activity
to get and stay healthy.5
One of the best ways to increase your
activity is by walking.
Keep track of your steps with
a step counter or pedometer. If you have a desk job, you may be surprised to
see how little you move in a typical day. Start with a goal of
increasing your steps by 2,000 steps a day and work up to 10,000 to 12,000.
- Fitness: Using a Pedometer or Step Counter
To find out how many calories are burned during various
activities, use the
Interactive Tool: How Many Calories Did You Burn?
For more information on exercise and fitness, see the topic
Fitness: Getting and Staying Active.