How can I lose weight without following a diet plan?

James P. Ioli, DPM
Podiatric Medicine
Many diet plans are based on the premise that certain foods are better than others for helping you lose weight. But although certain foods are healthier than others, the key to losing weight is eating fewer calories than you burn each day.

Studies have shown that any of the most widely used weight-loss diets can help you lose weight if it causes you to eat fewer calories. For example, weight-loss experts have found that diet plans that emphasize certain foods or food combinations actually succeed by making you more aware of what you eat and, as a result, leading you to limit your calories. That includes the famous Atkins diet as well as other high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets. No study has shown that any diet that restricts or advocates a particular type of food helps you lose weight without calorie reduction.

Very simply, to lose weight, you have to limit total calories and be active enough to burn those calories on a daily, ongoing basis. So choose a diet plan that you can stick with, and calorie reduction will likely result. Harvard nutrition researchers do not endorse any single diet plan, but they do recommend a three-pronged strategy for losing weight.
Audrey K. Chun, MD
Geriatric Medicine
If you don't want to follow a regimented diet plan, you can just try old-fashioned sensible eating. You can make small changes on a daily basis, perhaps eating less sugar and saturated fat, decreasing your usual portion size by a quarter or a third, eating smaller and more frequent meals, and making overall healthier food choices.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.