Keys for Healthy Weight Loss

Fad diets tend to have lots of very restrictive or complex rules, which give the impression that they carry scientific heft, when, in reality, the reason they often work (at least in the short term) is that they simply eliminate entire food groups, so you automatically cut out calories. Moreover, the rules are almost always hard to stick to and, when you stop, you regain the lost weight.
Rather than rely on such gimmicks, here we present 18 evidence-based keys for successful weight management. You don’t have to follow all of them, but the more of them you incorporate into your daily life, the more likely you will be successful at losing weight and—more important—keeping the weight off long term. Consider adding a new step or two every week or so, but keep in mind that not all these suggestions work for everyone. That is, you should pick and choose those that feel right for you to customize your own weight-control plan. Note also that this is not a “diet” per se and that there are no forbidden foods.

 

1. Start with a healthful diet.

That means a diet that’s rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes and low in refined grains, sugary foods, and saturated and trans fats. You can include fish, poultry, and other lean meats, and dairy foods (low-fat or nonfat sources are preferable to save calories). Aim for 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day from plant foods, since fiber helps fill you up and slows absorption of carbohydrates. A good visual aid to use is the USDA’s MyPlate, which recommends filling half your plate with vegetables and fruits. Grains (preferably whole grains) and protein foods should each take up about a quarter of the plate. For more details, see 14 Keys to a Healthy Diet.

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