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Step 4: How to lose weight the healthy way
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You've heard it all before -- to lose weight you must burn more calories than you consume. But anyone who has ever tried to lose weight knows it's not that easy! In fact, about two-thirds of people who lose weight will regain it within a year.

For many people, efforts to lose weight mean intensive dieting, obsessive calorie counting, self-deprivation, and hunger. This type of dieting usually leads to failure because you suffer through dieting, and the effort is unsustainable. For the most part, people who lose weight and manage to keep it off do so by adopting healthy habits that stay with them for the rest of their lives. Weight loss is not an isolated, one-time activity, but part of a lifetime of better health.

Take it slow and steady

Start with realistic, achievable goals. Don't expect to become "thin" overnight. Experts agree that slow, steady weight loss is healthier than a quick fix or remaining overweight. You should try to lose no more than a couple of pounds per week.

While this can be frustrating, slow and steady weight loss is the only way to avoid "yo-yo dieting," where you lose a great deal of weight, only to regain it within a few months or years. There are no miracles in weight loss; go for steady progress toward a healthier life.

You want to maintain that healthy weight once you have reached your goal. If you change habits and lifestyle behaviors slowly, they'll be more likely to stick.

Healthy weight loss:

  • Occurs slowly
  • Promotes long-term healthy habits
  • Fits into your lifestyle
  • Includes physical activity
  • Reduces calories but maintains a balance of nutrients

Now let's get into the details of how to balance calories, nutrition, and exercise. . . click "next" below.

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Review Date: 6/28/2011
Reviewed By: Jeffrey Heit, MD, Internist with special emphasis on preventive health, fitness and nutrition, Philadelphia VA Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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