What's the best way to lose weight?

Changing Your Relationship with Food

The first step is changing the way you think about food. As your great-grandmother might say, "You eat to live, you don't live to eat." Food is what feeds our bodies. Eating can, and should, also be a pleasurable experience, but it's primarily fuel.

You wouldn't put the wrong kind of gas in your car because you wouldn't want to hurt the engine. Treat your body at least as well as you'd treat your car -- after all, you can buy another sedan, but extra human bodies in working condition aren't so easy to find. (We know, we checked Craigslist.)

Our bodies work best on several small meals a day, not the big three we were raised on. You should never feel so full you could burst, or so hungry that you wouldn't bother to take the plastic off whatever you're about to devour. Instead, you want to keep a steady stream of healthy snacks coming.

And the actual foods you're eating? They should be things that treat your body well. Lean protein, fruits, veggies, whole grains -- you can find out more at ChooseMyPlate.gov, the "new food pyramid" that's a lot less confusing than the old one.

You don't have to cut out all of your favorite treats -- you might find that a single slice of pizza with veggies can satisfy your cheesy cravings and still fit into your daily calorie count.

The best news? People who are motivated to switch to healthy eating just by losing weight often find that they love the way it makes them feel -- and that's why they stick to it. No more sluggishness, no afternoon slump temporarily resolved by a candy bar. This is a love affair that's made to last.

Soon, sticking to a healthy diet won't be a chore. It will be a pleasure -- just like a small portion of mom's famous pasta.

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  • Kovacs, Jenny Stamos. "The Dos and Don'ts of Counting Calories. WebMD. Feb. 4, 2009. (July 2, 2011). http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/dos-donts-counting-calories
  • Mayo Clinic. "Over the counter laxatives for constipation: Use with caution." April 23, 2011. (July 2, 2011). http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/laxatives/HQ00088
  • Rufus, Anneli. "How comfort foods work like Prozac." Salon.com June 23, 2011. (July 2, 2011). http://www.salon.com/food/feature/2011/06/23/comfort_food_psychology
  • Zelman, Kathleen. "Lose Weight Fast: How to Do It Safely." WebMD. Nov. 17, 2010. (July 2, 2011). http://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/lose-weight-fast-how-to-do-it-safely