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How can I lose weight safely and keep it off?

Losing weight should be easy, right? Just eat fewer calories and exercise. As many of us know, it's not always that simple. Many people soon regain weight that they lose. Whether you can lose weight and keep it off depends a lot on how you lose it in the first place. Your attitude is important, too.

If you have already been eating healthy, balanced meals and getting exercise, keep it up! If not, changing an unhealthy diet to a healthy one will definitely help reduce your risk for heart disease. So will increasing your activity level. Either way, there are some strategies that you can use to lose weight safely and keep it off.

Prepare Yourself Mentally for the Change

Your current eating habits and activity level are so routine that changing these may feel quite uncomfortable at first. Think about other times when you had to make adjustments - like having a new addition to your family or getting used to a new job. It might have been awkward. But you probably felt less stress about the changes if you had a sense of humor and gave yourself time to adjust to all the new ways of doing things. When you first start to change what you eat and how much you exercise, try approaching it with the same patience. It takes practice to develop new habits. But you will gain skill and confidence about eating the right foods and being more active.

Review the Basics for Healthy Eating and Exercise

To learn the basics of healthy eating and exercise, see:

Consider Getting Support

Consider getting some professional weight-loss help. Start by talking with your doctor or your dietitian about developing a weight-loss program that works for you. This can be especially important if you are more than 20% over a healthy weight for your height. It may also be helpful if your BMI is around 30 or more. Depending on your weight-loss goals and health concerns, you may want to ask your healthcare team whether a commercial program might be helpful. One such program is Weight Watchers.