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6 Ways To Control Your Weight

Losing weight can help you not only live longer, but also enjoy a healthier life. For many people, this isn’t easy.  But it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task, and you can get health benefits even if you only lose 10 or 15 pounds.

Almost one-third of Americans are considered clinically obese, with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. With that designation comes a host of potential health problems.

People who are obese are at higher risk for a wide range of diseases and conditions, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • High cholesterol
  • Sleep apnea
  • Osteoarthritis

You may be 50 pounds overweight. But that doesn’t mean you need to lose all 50 of those pounds to reap the rewards of weight loss.

Before getting started, make a commitment to your weight loss journey. You might write down the reasons you want to lose weight. Maybe you’re concerned about diabetes or your family’s history of heart disease. Perhaps you just want to wear different clothes. Having a clear idea of why you want to lose weight can help you focus.

With that in mind, let’s look a few strategies that can put you on the right path.

Set realistic goals: If you need to lose 50 pounds, don’t think you will lose them all in three months. Break your weight loss goals into manageable chunks. Start with one or two pounds a week, with an overall goal of losing 5 percent of your weight. Also think about how you are going to meet these goals.

Eat healthier: A significant portion of your weight loss (about 80 percent) will come from nutrition and diet. So, the most important thing you can do is focus on reducing the number of calories you consume. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your meals.

Try to eat at least four vegetable servings and three fruit servings each day. Instead of refined grains, eat whole grains. Look for healthier fats (like olive oil, avocados and nuts) and cut back on sugar. Eat low-fat dairy and avoid fattier meats, in favor of poultry and fish.

Plan meals: Start each week with a plan for what you will eat each day. And prepare as many of your own meals as possible so you can maintain better control over the ingredients. When you don’t have a plan, you’re more likely to find yourself eating fast food or at restaurants, where food is more likely to be calorie-laden.

It’s not a diet: Don’t think of your weight loss plan as a diet with a finish line. Instead, you are changing your way of life. If your plan is simply to lose 20 pounds, there’s a real danger that you will regain that weight afterward. Maintaining weight loss can be more difficult than losing the weight in the first place. So, when you change your mindset to adopt a healthier lifestyle, you have a stronger chance of keeping the weight off for good.

Exercise: While improving your nutrition is the biggest key to losing weight, it also helps to be more active. For starters, it can boost your mental health by relieving symptoms of anxiety and depression. Developing a more active lifestyle doesn’t mean you need to spend an hour a day in the gym. In the early stages, start with a brisk walk through the neighborhood.

Make it social: Think of it as a buddy system. Finding someone else (a family member, friend or coworker) who also wants to lose weight can provide a huge boost to your effort. Studies have shown that having a committed partner will help you stick with and achieve your goals.

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