How should I lose weight?

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Successful, long-term weight loss is always going to come down to reducing calories either through diet, exercise or both. Several weight-loss drugs are available both by prescription and over the counter but should be used under a physician’s supervision due to risks and side effects. Finally, procedures that surgically reduce the size of the stomach such as gastric banding, gastric sleeve and gastric bypass have helped the severely obese lose weight and are becoming more widely used.
Special diets may help you lose weight fast. But they are often unhealthy. They can be hard to keep up. And most people who lose weight quickly gain it back quickly too.

If you need to lose weight, do it the right way. Lose no more than 1 or 2 pounds a week. Do it by making healthy, lifelong changes in your eating and exercise habits.
  • Be aware. Keep a diary for a few days. You may not realize you have bad habits until you see them on paper. Write down what you eat, how much you eat, and where you eat it. Write down how much activity you get. Try to figure out what makes you eat poorly or skip exercise. Then make a plan to handle things in a better way.
  • Be more active -- every day. Regular exercise is a key to losing weight and keeping it off. Add at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise most days of the week. (Even more is better.) But remember, all physical activity adds up to better health. So look for ways to be more active throughout the day.
  • Make healthier food choices. Eat foods low in fat and sugar. Eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Drink more water. Give up soda.
  • Eat smaller portions. Most Americans eat too much. For example, an average fast-food value meal is more food than most people should eat in an entire day! So learn what "normal" portion sizes are. Then get in the habit of serving them to yourself and your family.
  • Keep track. Set goals and track your progress in a journal. Make goals for your weight, your activity, and your eating habits. Write down your progress. Celebrate small successes along the way. And if you get off track, don't give up. It takes time to make lasting changes -- but your health is worth it.

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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.