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Weight Loss and Control (cont.)

How to Lose Weight

For most people who are overweight or obese, the safest and most effective way to lose weight is to eat less and exercise more. If you eat less and exercise more, you will lose weight. It's as simple as that. There are no magic pills. Diets that sound too good to be true are just that.

Effective weight loss plans include several parts. You will find tips for achieving these goals in the next sections.

  • Eating less: Unless you eat fewer calories than your body uses, you will not lose weight.
  • Physical activity: Any good diet plan will include physical activity. Physical activity burns calories and is one less opportunity to eat during the day. You should exercise for at least 30 minutes, five times a week. Regular exercise also has many other health benefits.
  • Change in habits and attitudes: Most people have enough willpower to lose weight for a few weeks. To lose enough weight to improve your health and keep it off, you will need to change the way you think about food and exercise. As you eat, try to understand some of the hidden reasons you eat. You can learn to spot situations in which you overeat and head off the overeating. You can learn to enjoy eating less and being active.
  • Support: Many people find that enlisting friends, family, and coworkers for support is helpful in losing weight. Others prefer groups such as Weight Watchers or Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS) to keep them motivated. The important thing is to seek the support you need to achieve your goals.

Drastic changes in eating habits, such as not eating at all (fasting), are usually unsuccessful. Eating too few calories causes your metabolism to slow down, meaning the body burns fewer calories.

Don't believe claims about losing weight while you sleep or watch TV, or plans that claim to cause weight loss without dieting or exercise. Such gimmicks just don't work. They may even be unsafe or unhealthy.

Of special interest to women who have gained weight during pregnancy is that breastfeeding helps you shed some extra pounds. It is good for your baby too.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/22/2014
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