Being overweight or obese can lead to a range of health problems. Although many different “fad” diets are available, a balanced lifestyle and nutritious diet are the key to healthful living and better weight control.
1. 10 tips for successful weight loss
Medically reviewed by Gerhard Whitworth, R.N. — Written by Kathleen Davis,
FNP on January 15, 2019
Being overweight or obese can lead to a range of health
problems. Although many different “fad” diets are
available, a balanced lifestyle and nutritious diet are the
key to healthful living and better weight control.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 93.3
million adults in the United States had obesity in 2015–2016. This number
is equivalent to 39.8 percent of the population.
Carrying excess body weight can increase the risk of serious health
problems, including heart disease, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes.
Crash diets are not a sustainable solution, whatever perks their
proponents might claim them to have. To both lose weight safely and
sustain that weight loss over time, it is essential to make gradual,
permanent, and beneficial lifestyle changes.
In this article, we provide 10 tips for weight control.
10 tips Losing weight Overview
10 tips for successful weight loss
3. People can lose weight and maintain this loss by taking several
achievable steps. These include the following:
1. Eat varied, colorful, nutritionally dense foods
Eat a varied, nutritious diet.
Healthful meals and snacks should form the foundation of the human diet.
A simple way to create a meal plan is to make sure that each meal
consists of 50 percent fruit and vegetables, 25 percent whole grains, and
25 percent protein. Total fiber intake should be 25–30 grams (g) daily.
Eliminate trans fats from the diet, and minimize the intake of saturated
fats, which has a strong link with the incidence of coronary heart disease.
Instead, people can consume monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) or
polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), which are types of unsaturated fat.
The following foods are healthful and often rich in nutrients:
fresh fruits and vegetables
whole grains, such as brown rice and oatmeal
Foods to avoid eating include:
foods with added oils, butter, and sugar
fatty red or processed meats
In some cases, removing certain foods from the diet might cause a person
to become deficient in some necessary vitamins and minerals. A
nutritionist, dietitian, or another healthcare professional can advise a
person how to get enough nutrients while they are following a weight loss
2. Keep a food and weight diary
Self-monitoring is a critical factor in successfully losing weight. People can
use a paper diary, mobile app, or dedicated website to record every item
of food that they consume each day. They can also measure their
progress by recording their weight on a weekly basis.
Those who can track their success in small increments and identify
physical changes are much more likely to stick to a weight loss regimen.
People can also keep track of their body mass index (BMI) using a BMI
3. Engage in regular physical activity and exercise
5. Regular physical activity can help a person lose weight.
Regular exercise is vital for both physical and mental health. Increasing
the frequency of physical activity in a disciplined and purposeful way is
often crucial for successful weight loss.
One hour of moderate-intensity activity per day, such as brisk walking, is
ideal. If one hour per day is not possible, the Mayo Clinic suggests that a
person should aim for a minimum of 150 minutes every week.
People who are not usually physically active should slowly increase the
amount of exercise that they do and gradually increase its intensity. This
approach is the most sustainable way to ensure that regular exercise
becomes a part of their lifestyle.
In the same way that recording meals can psychologically help with
weight loss, people may also benefit from keeping track of their physical
activity. Many free mobile apps are available that track a person’s calorie
balance after they log their food intake and exercise.
If the thought of a full workout seems intimidating to someone who is new
to exercise, they can begin by doing the following activities to increase
their exercise levels:
taking the stairs
walking a dog
playing outdoor games
parking farther away from a building entrance
6. Individuals who have a low risk of coronary heart disease are unlikely to
require medical assessment ahead of starting an exercise regimen.
However, prior medical evaluation may be advisable for some people,
including those with diabetes. Anyone who is unsure about safe levels of
exercise should speak to a healthcare professional.
4. Eliminate liquid calories
It is possible to consume hundreds of calories a day by drinking sugar-
sweetened soda, tea, juice, or alcohol. These are known as “empty
calories” because they provide extra energy content without offering any
Unless a person is consuming a smoothie to replace a meal, they should
aim to stick to water or unsweetened tea and coffee. Adding a splash of
fresh lemon or orange to water can provide flavor.
Avoid mistaking dehydration for hunger. An individual can often satisfy
feelings of hunger between scheduled meal times with a drink of water.
5. Measure servings and control portions
Eating too much of any food, even low-calorie vegetables, can result in
Therefore, people should avoid estimating a serving size or eating food
directly from the packet. It is better to use measuring cups and serving
size guides. Guessing leads to overestimating and the likelihood of eating
a larger-than-necessary portion.
The following size comparisons can be useful for monitoring food intake
when dining out:
three-fourths of a cup is a golf ball
one-half of a cup is a tennis ball
1 cup is a baseball
1 ounce (oz) of nuts is a loose handful
1 teaspoon is 1 playing die
7. 1 tablespoon is a thumb tip
3 oz of meat is a deck of cards
1 slice is a DVD
These sizes are not exact, but they can help a person moderate their food
intake when the correct tools are not available.
6. Eat mindfully
Many people benefit from mindful eating, which involves being fully aware
of why, how, when, where, and what they eat.
Making more healthful food choices is a direct outcome of becoming
more in tune with the body.
People who practice mindful eating also try to eat more slowly and savor
their food, concentrating on the taste. Making a meal last for 20 minutes
allows the body to register all of the signals for satiety.
It is important to focus on being satisfied after a meal rather than full and
to bear in mind that many “all natural” or low-fat foods are not necessarily
a healthful choice.
People can also consider the following questions regarding their meal
Is it good “value” for the calorie cost?
Will it provide satiety?
Are the ingredients healthful?
If it has a label, how much fat and sodium does it contain?
7. Stimulus and cue control
Many social and environmental cues might encourage unnecessary
eating. For example, some people are more likely to overeat while
watching television. Others have trouble passing a bowl of candy to
someone else without taking a piece.
By being aware of what may trigger the desire to snack on empty calories,
8. people can think of ways to adjust their routine to limit these triggers.
8. Plan ahead
Stocking a kitchen with diet-friendly foods and creating structured meal
plans will result in more significant weight loss.
People looking to lose weight or keep it off should clear their kitchen of
processed or junk foods and ensure that they have the ingredients on
hand to make simple, healthful meals. Doing this can prevent quick,
unplanned, and careless eating.
Planning food choices before getting to social events or restaurants might
also make the process easier.
9. Seek social support
Having social support is a great way to stay motivated.
Embracing the support of loved ones is an integral part of a successful
weight loss journey.
Some people may wish to invite friends or family members to join them,
while others might prefer to use social media to share their progress.
Other avenues of support may include:
9. a positive social network
group or individual counseling
exercise clubs or partners
employee-assistance programs at work
10. Stay positive
Weight loss is a gradual process, and a person may feel discouraged if
the pounds do not drop off at quite the rate that they had anticipated.
Some days will be harder than others when sticking to a weight loss or
maintenance program. A successful weight-loss program requires the
individual to persevere and not give up when self-change seems too
Some people might need to reset their goals, potentially by adjusting the
total number of calories they are aiming to eat or changing their exercise
The important thing is to keep a positive outlook and be persistent in
working toward overcoming the barriers to successful weight loss.
Successful weight loss does not require people to follow a specific diet
plan, such as Slimming World or Atkins. Instead, they should focus on
eating fewer calories and moving more to achieve a negative energy
Weight loss is primarily dependent on reducing the total intake of
calories, not adjusting the proportions of carbohydrate, fat, and protein in
A reasonable weight loss goal to start seeing health benefits is a 5–10
percent reduction in body weight over a 6-month time frame.
Most people can achieve this goal by reducing their total calorie intake to
somewhere in the range of 1,000–1,600 calories per day.
10. A diet of fewer than 1,000 calories per day will not provide sufficient daily
After 6 months of dieting, the rate of weight loss usually declines, and
body weight tends to plateau because people use less energy at a lower
body weight. Following a weight maintenance program of healthful eating
habits and regular physical activity is the best way to avoid regaining lost
People who have a BMI equal to or higher than 30 with no obesity-related
health problems may benefit from taking prescription weight-loss
medications. These might also be suitable for people with a BMI equal to
or higher than 27 with obesity-related diseases.
However, a person should only use medications to support the above
lifestyle modifications. If attempts to lose weight are unsuccessful and a
person’s BMI reaches 40 or over, surgical therapy is an option.
Maintaining weight loss involves a commitment to a healthful lifestyle,
from which there is no “vacation.” Although people should feel free to
enjoy a special meal out, a birthday celebration, or a joyful holiday feast
without feeling guilty, they should try not to stray too far from the path of
healthful eating and frequent physical activity.
Those who do may find that they lose focus. Gaining back lost weight is
easier than losing it.
11. Achieving and maintaining weight loss is possible when people adopt
lifestyle changes in the long term.
Regardless of any specific methods that help a person lose weight,
individuals who are conscious of how and what they eat and engage in
daily physical activity or regular exercise will be successful both in losing
and keeping off excess weight.
Last medically reviewed on January 15, 2019
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