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Weight loss tips

Here are some practical ideas you can incorporate into your life to help you achieve your weight loss goals.

Count calories

Contrary to what you might see advertised on television, calories do count. With rare exceptions, losing and gaining weight depend on your net calorie balance. If you consume more calories than you expend, you will gain weight. Conversely, if you burn more calories than you eat, you will lose weight. So, the old notion of eating less and exercising more holds true. The tough part is figuring out how to do it. As a starter, try cutting out all beverages with calories in them (soda, juice, sugar in your coffee or tea) and replace them with plain water, 0-calorie flavored water or diet drinks. Cut down on your portion sizes. Try to minimize eating out. And get out and be as active as possible to increase your metabolism and burn calories. As a caveat, you will learn through our nutrition education, it might be more beneficial to eat some calories (high fiber, whole-foods) than others (refined foods that serve to make you hungry or increase blood sugar).

Keep a journal

Patients who keep accurate and detailed journals lose weight more often and more rapidly. Maintaining a journal adds accountability, keeps you organized and allows you and your healthcare practitioner to adjust your program based on your results. This journal doesn't need to be overly complicated, but the more information entered, the better. Try to write down everything you eat (including amounts/portion sizes), how much water you drank, how much exercise you did and—if you really want to get bold—how you felt. Were you hungry? Did something stressful happen? Journals allow you to take better control over your environment.

Get some exercise

The data on exercise with regard to short-term weight loss is limited. However, this might be related to the amount of exercise required to lose large amounts of weight. The fitter you are to start, the more likely you will be able to burn enough calories through exercise to help. Nonetheless, there is credible data to confirm that exercise is one of the most important factors in sustaining weight loss. Furthermore, physically fit people have fewer incidents of heart attacks and strokes regardless of their weight. It is never too late to become active.

Start with attainable goals

Losing weight, particularly large amounts of it, can be mentally exhausting. Avoid the classic pitfall of trying to live up to unreasonable initial expectations. Rather than saying you want to get down to an "ideal" weight, try aiming for an initial 10 percent weight loss and work from there. This pertains to individual components of your program as well. If you are currently inactive, do not sign up for a marathon just yet. Try to get out for more walks or do something active every day.

Avoid fad diets and over-the-counter stimulants

Even "natural" products can have negative effects. While it is true that several naturally found herbal stimulants can help you lose weight in the short term, the overuse of stimulants can be dangerous and will almost always result in a rebound weight gain once stopped.