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How can I achieve long-term weight loss?

When it comes to weight loss, it is important to set realistic goals and time frames. A good starting point would be aiming to lose one to two pounds per week, or losing 10% of your initial weight within a six month period. One pound of body fat is equivalent to 3,500 calories. Therefore, creating a daily caloric deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories should result in a one to two pound weight loss each week.

It's also important to realize that weight loss will take time. You did not gain weight overnight, and you will not lose weight overnight. Commit to making small, gradual lifestyle changes that you will be able to maintain for life. There is no magic pill, fad diet, or temporary exercise program that will give you long term weight loss success. To maintain weight loss for life you need to commit to living a healthier lifestyle by becoming more physically active, along with consuming a more nutritious diet on a daily basis. If you are new to exercise start by increasing your activities of daily living each day. For example, walk your dog, mow your lawn, do some yard work, play with your children, and take the stairs instead of the elevator when shopping or at work. Over time you will notice that you have more energy and will be able to continue these activities for longer durations.

There is no quick fix for successful long-term weight loss. Weight loss is a journey, and can sometimes be a very frustrating one. Be patient and do not give up. Surround yourself with a good support group who can help encourage you and keep you on track. The most important thing for successful long-term weight loss is that the positive changes you make along the way, need to be changes that stay with you for life.
The key to weight loss and long term weight loss control is a change in lifestyle. There are 3 ingredients to this change: diet, exercise and setting realistic goals. The combination of the 3 is what will lead to your success.

The first part of this change is modifying your eating habits. An extreme calorie reduction diet, for instance, may produce good results for a few weeks but in the end the weight loss stops, you get frustrated, and end up going back to your old eating habits, and, in a lot of cases, actually gain some weight back. Learning new eating habits (replacing fatty, sugary type foods with healthier alternatives) will greatly increase your chance for success.

The second part is exercise. A cardio type exercise routine is the calorie burner and resistance training is the metabolism booster. A cardio workout can be as simple as walking for 30 minutes a day. Resistance training helps build lean body mass (muscle). Muscle requires more calories for maintenance which means your metabolic rate will increase (burn more calories at rest).

Finally you need to set goals for yourself that are realistic. You should set long term goals as well as short term goals. If the goals are set too high you will set yourself up for failure (losing 30lbs in 30 days for example). So first, decide how many pounds you need to lose. Next, how long it should take to reach this goal. A short term goal of 1lb a week is a realistic goal. So for example if your goal is to lose 30 lbs, figure on a long term goal of 30 weeks. By setting a goal that is realistic you will see slow but steady progress. Working with a fitness professional would be a good way to help you develop a diet, exercise, goal setting plan that will become your new life style.

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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.