Work Out to Lose Weight

You know that in order to lose weight you need to take in fewer calories than you burn off. We’ve already talked about various ways to give yourself a weight loss edge by eating healthy, low fat foods. The other piece of the puzzle is to exercise regularly to burn off excess calories.

It’s not necessary to join a gym or participate in aerobics classes to burn up fat. You can burn calories by just climbing the stairs, cleaning the house, riding a bike, working in the garden, or just by walking thirty minutes every day. You don’t even have to work up a sweat to burn calories while exercising. Studies have proven that people who take a brisk walk for thirty minutes every day burn body fat, improve their physical fitness, and lower their blood pressure, as much as, if not even more than, people who work out at a gym three to four days per week. Even two fifteen minute walks per day will give you the same fitness and fat burning benefits as a thirty minute walk every day.

And weight loss isn’t the only reason you should get moving. A recent study from a major university showed that sedentary women, in addition to gaining weight in their abdomens, buttocks, and thighs, increased their deep fat that surrounds the internal organs of the body. This increases the risk of heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes. The study also showed that moderate exercise five times per week for thirty to forty minutes decreased the deep fat by more than 35 percent and resulted in considerable weight loss over a three month period.

Exercise will help boost your energy as well. With the advent of the computer age, people are forced by design to do less and less physical labor. It would seem logical that this would result in more energy being available for other activities. However, how many times have you noticed that the less you do, the more tired you feel, whereas the more active you are, the more energy you have for other activities? Exercise improves the efficiency of the lungs, the heart, and the circulatory system in their ability to take in and deliver oxygen throughout the entire body. This oxygen is the catalyst that burns the fuel, food, we take in to produce energy. Consequently, the more oxygen we take in, the more energy we have for all of our activities.

Oxygen is the vital ingredient that is necessary for our survival. Since oxygen can’t be stored, our cells need a continuous supply in order to remain healthy. Exercise increases your body’s ability to extract oxygen from the air so that increased amounts of oxygen are available for every organ, tissue, and cell in the body. Exercise actually increases the total volume of blood, making more red blood cells available to carry oxygen and nutrition to the tissues and to remove carbon dioxide and waste products from the body’s cells. This increased saturation of the tissues with oxygen is also aided by the opening of small blood vessels, which is another direct result of exercise.

So let’s take that first step for energy, fitness, and real weight loss. Exercising every day whether by walking, riding your bike to work, taking the stairs, or hitting the gym will keep a fresh supply of oxygen surging through your blood vessels to all of your body’s hungry cells. Don’t disappoint these little fellows, because you depend on them as much as they depend on you. If you shortchange them on their daily oxygen supply, they’ll take it out on you in the form of illness and disease, but if you give them what they need, they will repay you with better health.

Don’t Believe the Cellulite Myth

They are all over: the special creams, diets, and exercises that are meant to target the nastiest of all nasty fats cellulite. Well, whatever they are selling, don’t buy it, because cellulite is actually a myth.

In the end, it’s no different than any other fat cell, and it doesn’t require any special treatments to get rid of it. When fat cells immediately beneath the skin enlarge, sometimes the strands of fibrous tissue that connect these fat cells don’t stretch.

This gives ordinary fat a lumpy appearance on the hips, thighs, and buttocks, which has been given the mythical name cellulite by gimmick diet promoters.

In a recent study conducted at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, fat biopsies were taken from people with lumpy fatty tissues (the mythical cellulite) and from people with regular fat deposits. The result: all of the biopsy specimens were identified under the microscope as ordinary fat cells.

There was no tissue identified as cellulite!

So don’t be fooled by the cellulite myth and buy any special cellulite treatments. And don’t be discouraged if you notice that the fat on your hips, thighs or buttocks has a lumpier appearance than elsewhere.

The truth is that cellulite is ordinary fat that you can fight through ordinary means. A low fat diet combined with a regular aerobic walking program will melt away fat wherever it is located on your body.

How To Break The Weight Loss Plateau

Remember, no one loses weight in a straight line. When you are on a diet, you initially lose weight, and then your weight loss levels off. This occurs even though you are eating exactly the same amount as you were when you lost the initial weight. This leveling off period or plateau is the single most hazardous part of any diet program because once this plateau is reached, you begin to become discouraged and say, “I’m still on the same diet, but I haven’t lost a pound in over a week.”

Discouragement leads to frustration, and next you’ll say, “The heck with the diet. I may as well enjoy myself and eat something I really like, since I haven’t lost weight anyway.” At this point, 90 percent of all diets are doomed to failure, since the weight loss pattern now reverses itself and becomes a weight gain pattern.

The thing to remember is that this plateau period is always temporary. If you can stick it out, you’ll be surprised to see that the weight loss begins to pick up speed again. It may take a week or two, at the most, but if you are patient, you will again start to lose those unwanted pounds.

No one has ever satisfactorily explained this plateau period; however, physiologists believe that it is probably due to a temporary readjustment of the body’s metabolism in response to the initial weight loss. No matter what the reason is, however, you will always break through the plateau period, providing you don’t become discouraged or frustrated. Weight loss will again resume its downward progress toward your goal.

Shred That Gut With These Fat Busting Tips

We all have our own weight loss problem zone, the place we’d really like to trim down. Unsightly belly fat is one of the most common problem areas. Here are some tips that will target your tummy and help you trim down.

Avoid Saturated Fats
People whose diets are high in saturated fats are prone to storing fat in the abdomen, surrounding vital organs such as the liver, pancreas, and intestinal tract. This type of fat is referred to as visceral fat and puts these individuals at risk for developing diabetes, fatty liver, and heart disease. This abdominal or visceral fat is the direct result of eating saturated fats such as fatty meats, deli meats, cheeses, butter, whole milk products, and prepackaged foods made with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils that contain the bad trans fats.

Unfortunately, in some cases, genetics plays a role in developing excess abdominal fat. In these cases you should make an extra effort to limit saturated fat products to no more than 10 percent of your total daily calorie intake. In those individuals who have the genetic trait for developing excessive abdominal fat and also have high levels of blood fats no matter how hard they try to diet, a physician should be consulted regarding the possibility of taking a cholesterol lowering medication.

Avoid Refined Carbs
The refined carbohydrates we eat are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, which causes a sudden spike in insulin production. This excess amount of insulin causes the digested refined carbohydrates to head straight into our fat cells. Because the fat cells in the belly are located close to the digestive tract and because the abdomen contains the most concentrated number of fat cells in the body, most of the fat from refined carbohydrates heads straight to the belly. Once the excess insulin has done its work of dropping the blood sugar and packing fat into your belly fat cells, it results in low blood sugar that causes another round of carbohydrate cravings. It’s a lose/lose combination.

As we age, we crave more carbohydrates, and the more carbs we eat, the more calories are stored as fat in our abdomens. Due to certain hormonal changes that regulate our digestive system, we become less able to burn carbs as fuel, thus making carbs more likely to be stored as fat. This becomes a vicious cycle, because the carbs we store as belly fat actually cause an increase in our craving for more carbohydrates. Stored abdominal fat suppresses the formation of a fat burning hormone called leptin, which helps to keep blood sugar steady. Consequently, the more abdominal fat you store, the easier it becomes to gain more weight, because less leptin is being produced and subsequently less fat is being burned.

If you avoid saturated fats and refined carbs, you will begin to lose abdominal fat. If you can lose abdominal fat, then you will diminish carbohydrate cravings, and subsequently lose more unwanted belly fat.

White Bread and Abdominal Fart
According to a new study from Tufts University in Boston, people who eat too much white bread have larger waistlines than those individuals who eat whole grains. White bread appears to go straight to the abdomen to be stored as belly fat. People who ate the most white bread were also the fattest and had a higher risk of heart disease compared to those who didn’t carry the extra weight around the belly.

What Is The 20/20 Weight Loss Formula

To meet your target weight loss, try this easy 20120 formula: eat no more than 20 grams of total fat calories daily, and eat at least 20 grams of dietary fiber daily.

Eat Less than 20 Grams of Total Fat a Day

Excess fat in the diet causes heart disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and breast and uterine cancer. Less fat in the diet results in
more stored fat being burned as fuel so both you and your fat cells ‘I
become nice and thin.

• Fat contains 9 calories per gram, whereas both carbohydrate and protein contain only 4 calories per gram. (One pound of body fat contains 3,500 calories.)
• Fat is the number one killer of both your heart and your figure.
• Consult a chart for the total grams of fat in various foods and keep a record of what you eat.
• To maintain your ideal weight, eat no more than 20 grams of fat daily.

Eat at Least 20 Grams of Dietary Fiber Daily

• Fiber helps you lose weight because eating fiber rich foods leads to slower emptying of the stomach that makes you feel full earlier. Fiber contains fewer calories for its large volume (called a high bulk ratio) so that it satisfies your hunger center more quickly and fills you up without filling you out. It has the ability to absorb lots of water and therefore regulates the progression of food through the digestive system.

Fiber helps to lower blood cholesterol and also decreases the risk of heart disease, hypertension, and stroke. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are not only high in fiber but also contain many nutrients and antioxidants. Consult a chart for the total grams of fiber in various foods and keep a record of what you eat. To maintain your ideal weight, eat no less than 20 grams of dietary fiber daily.

Nuts Can Help You Lose Weight

Recent studies have shown both the health benefits and the weight reduction properties of nuts. Nuts are chock full of nutrition. They contain folic acid, vitamin D, copper, magnesium, fiber, and healthy monounsaturated fats. Nuts are also packed with protein, which is good for you and acts as a natural appetite suppressant because it is digested slowly and is subsequently slowly absorbed into the bloodstream.

Almost all of the energy contained in the protein you eat is burned as fuel for your body’s metabolic functions; hardly any of the calories contained in dietary protein are converted into fat storage. Therefore, nuts are not only good for you, but they don’t put on extra weight, providing you limit the amount you consume.

Consuming four to five servings of nuts per week has been shown to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by as much as 50 percent. Nuts have also been shown to decrease total cholesterol by 5 to 10 percent and LDL cholesterol by 15 to 20 percent. This is all thanks to the monounsaturated fats that nuts contain that have heart-protective properties and help to suppress your appetite so that you eat less. The monounsaturated fats block the production and absorption of bad LDL cholesterol; less bad cholesterol in the bloodstream equals less heart disease. These monounsaturated fats can also help to reduce blood pressure by retaining your blood vessels’ natural elasticity, which keeps the arteries open.

Nuts, particularly walnuts and almonds, cause the brain to release a hormone called cholecystokinin, which actually shuts down the appetite control mechanism in the brain and prevents hunger. Two ounces of almonds will release this appetite suppressing hormone. And what’s more, nuts taste good. Just remember to limit portion size to a handful.

Low Fat Alternatives for Desserts and Snacks

When you’re craving something sweet or a high fat snack, try these low fat alternatives:

  • Angel food cake with fresh fruit and nonfat whipped cream makes a tasty nonfat dessert. Angel food cake has less than 1.5 grams of fat, as opposed to a slice of cheesecake or chocolate cake that has an exorbitant 14 grams of fat.
  • Sherbet, sorbet, frozen fruit bars, and nonfat frozen yogurts are excellent substitutes for your ice cream sweet tooth.
  • Salad dressing and mayonnaise are no no’s in a low fat diet plan. Substitute nonfat dressings or nonfat mayonnaise. Or go without dressing or get the dressing on the side and dip your fork gently into it every two or three bites of salad. That way you’ll get the taste without the added fat calories.
  • Nonfat popcorn is an excellent low fat, high fiber snack. Don’t add butter or salt. Use hot air popper or microwave nonfat varieties.
  • Dried or fresh fruits, raisins, peaches, apples, plums, apricots, and bananas all make excellent fat free snacks.
  • Nonfat hard or soft pretzels and rice cakes are excellent low fat snacks.
  • Spread jelly, honey, fruit preserves, and all fruit jams on your toast instead of margarine or butter.
  • Have a baked potato with the skin or nonfat corn chips in place of French fries or potato chips.
  • Low Fat Snacks That Keep You Healthy

    There are tons of tasty low fat snacks out there. Check out these healthy options with their serving sizes.

    Grains

    When you are in the mood for complex carbs, try one of these low fat options:
    • Low fat, low sugar cereal bars
    • Low fat whole wheat pretzels (2 small)
    • Fat free baked potato (1 small)
    • A handful of corn chips without trans fats
    • Rice cakes (2)
    • A handful of roasted peanuts in the shell
    • Low fat or fat free popcorn (1 Y2 cups)
    • A handful of sunflower seeds
    • 1 small slice of angel food cake
    • A few gingersnap cookies
    • A handful of high fiber, low sugar cereal with or without skim milk
    • 1 tablespoon peanut butter on 2 or 3 nonfat crackers

    Fruits

    Fruits always make for a good high fiber snack:
    • 1/2 cup raisins, grapes, strawberries, or blueberries
    • 1/2 cup orange, grapefruit, or pineapple wedges
    • 1/3 cup dried fruit without added sugar
    • 1 sliced banana, pear, or apple
    • 3 or 4 pitted prunes

    Vegetables

    These veggies make for great snacks, alone or dipped in nonfat dip, fat free dressings, or salsa:
    • Celery or carrot sticks (%4 cup)
    • Wedge of lettuce, broccoli, or cauliflower (1 cup)
    • Sliced cucumbers (1/2 cup)

    Dairy

    These dairy options make for a delicious mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack:
    • V2 cup nonfat yogurt with or without fruit topping
    • 8 ounces skim milk
    • Y2 cup fat free cottage cheese or sour cream with or without fruit topping
    • Y2 cup nonfat, low sugar ice cream

    Sweet Snacks

    Let’s face it: we all crave something sweet sometimes! Here are some good low fat snacks to satisfy your sweet tooth:
    • 1 low fat peppermint patty
    • Y2 cup sherbet, frozen yogurt, or fat free ice cream
    • 1 frozen juice bar
    • 6 jelly beans
    • 4 sugar free hard candies (made for diabetics)
    • 1 tablespoon fat free fudge
    • Small dollop fat free whipped cream for fruits

    Drinks

    These low fat drinks will quench your thirst without packing on the pounds:
    • Decaffeinated diet soda, iced tea, or coffee
    • Bottled water
    • 8 ounces skim milk
    • 8 ounces vegetable juice without added sugar
    • 6 ounces nonfat latte or cappuccino with skim milk and no whipped cream. Add small amount of mocha, if desired.
    • Protein shake with 1 cup skim milk or yogurt plus fruit of choice, blended with ice and 1 tablespoon wheat germ or whey protein

    Boost Energy and Control Hunger with Protein

    Protein is found in all of your body’s cells. It is the essential nutrient that is responsible for the maintenance and repair of all of your organs, tissues, muscles, brain, and bones. This individual built in repair kit occurs at the cellular level in our bodies. Protein regulates everything from our blood circulation to our metabolism and our immune system.

    All foods are sources of energy; however, protein provides a greater boost in energy levels because it is absorbed slowly and thus produces a constant source of energy. Protein has real energy staying power for your active, healthy lifestyle. Fats and carbohydrates produce quick bursts of energy but do not provide the body with a continuous source of energy, since they are digested and metabolized more quickly than protein. Fats and carbohydrates also tend to be stored as fat in the body for later use.

    Individuals who lack sufficient protein in their bodies have weaker immune systems than people who consume adequate protein in their diets. Also, people who are constantly on yo yo diets where they lose and gain weight back frequently become protein deficient and have weaker immune systems. Researchers have found that yo yo dieters have about a third fewer killer cells than normal individuals. These so called killer blood cells are essential for the immune system to function properly.

    In order to reap the benefits of protein rich foods and avoid unnecessary saturated fat, eat lean protein such as lean meats, fish, skinless poultry, seafood, egg whites, low fat dairy products, legumes, beans, soy foods, and good fat nuts. Lean proteins are also excellent sources of selenium, which is a mineral that protects the body against dangerous free radicals that can destroy normal cells in the body. These free radicals can damage many different types of cells including connective tissue, which causes joint and muscle inflammation.

    High saturated fat protein products like fatty meats, hard cheeses, whole fat dairy products, whole eggs, mayonnaise, and luncheon and smoked meats including bacon, sausage, and hot dogs are not ideal sources of energy. Even though these products have protein content, this value is offset by their saturated fat content. The saturated fat in these foods does more harm to the body in the form of heart disease, strokes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and some forms of cancer than the protein does good. For this reason, these are called harmful proteins and are not recommended for any healthful weight loss program.

    For appetite control, lean protein tops the charts for staying power. By adding a small portion of lean protein to your meal, you’ll control hunger pangs for hours. Lean protein also has the advantage of being lower in calories than many other foods, particularly saturated fat protein products, refined carbohydrates, and other saturated fat foods. Saturated fat protein products defeat the appetite controlling factor of the protein. The fat content of saturated fat protein foods prevents the brain’s appetite control center from shutting down. In other words, soon after you enjoy that cheeseburger, hot dog, or bacon, you’ll be hungry again.

    How Much Protein Is Enough?

    Your body needs between 15 and 30 percent of its total daily calories to come from protein. To determine the number of grams of protein your body needs for a fairly active individual, multiply your body weight in pounds by 0.5. For example, if you weigh 130 pounds, multiply that by 0.5 and you’ll find that you need approximately 65 grams of protein daily for your body to function efficiently. If you’re very active, then you multiply your weight in pounds by 0.7. If you’re sedentary, multiply your body weight by 0.4. Eating too much protein, more than 35 percent of your total daily calories, however, can be dangerous, because it strains the kidneys. This is one of the reasons to steer clear of low carbohydrate, high saturated fat protein diets.

    Weight Loss For Life

    There are many ways to lose weight, but it is not always easy to keep the weight off. The key to successful weight loss is making changes in your eating and physical activity habits that you can keep up for the rest of your life. The information presented here may help put you on the road to healthy habits.

    Can I benefit from weight loss?

    Some Weight-related Health Problems

    diabetes
    heart disease or stroke
    high blood pressure
    high cholesterol
    gallbladder disease
    some types of cancer
    osteoarthritis (wearing away of the joints)
    sleep apnea (interrupted breathing during sleep)

    Health experts agree that you may gain health benefits from even a small weight loss if:

    You are considered obese based on your body mass index (BMI) (see BMI chart below).

    You are considered overweight based on your BMI and have weight-related health problems or a family history of such problems.
    You have a waist that measures more than 40 inches if you are a man or more than 35 inches if you are a woman.

    A weight loss of 5 to 7 percent of body weight may improve your health and quality of life, and it may prevent weight-related health problems, like type 2 diabetes. For a person who weighs 200 pounds, this means losing 10 to 14 pounds.

    Even if you do not need to lose weight, you should still follow healthy eating and physical activity habits to help prevent weight gain and keep you healthy over the years.

    Body Mass Index

    BMI is a tool that is often used to determine whether a person’s health is at risk due to his or her weight. It is a ratio of your weight to your height. A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered healthy, a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, and a BMI of 30 or more is considered obese. You can find your BMI using the chart below, and you can also see the weight range that is healthy for your height.

    BMI

    Height
    19
    20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 58 91 96 100 105 110 115 119 124 129 134 138 143 148 153 158 162 167 172 177 181 186 191 59 94 99 104 109 114 119 124 128 133 138 143 148 153 158 163 168 173 178 183 188 193 198 60 97 102 107 112 118 123 128 133 138 143 148 153 158 163 168 174 179 184 189 194 199 204 61 100 106 111 116 122 127 132 137 143 148 153 158 164 169 174 180 185 190 195 101 206 211 62 104 109 115 120 126 131 136 142 147 153 158 164 169 175 180 186 191 196 202 207 213 218 63 107 113 118 124 130 135 141 146 152 158 163 169 175 180 186 191 197 203 208 214 220 225 64 110 116 122 128 134 140 145 151 157 163 169 174 180 186 192 197 204 209 215 221 227 232 65 114 120 126 132 138 144 150 156 162 168 174 180 186 192 198 204 210 216 222 228 234 240 66 118 124 130 136 142 148 155 161 167 173 179 186 192 198 204 210 216 223 229 235 241 247 67 121 127 134 140 146 153 159 166 172 178 185 191 198 204 211 217 223 230 236 242 249 255 68 125 131 138 144 151 158 164 171 177 184 190 197 204 210 216 223 230 236 243 249 256 262 69 128 135 142 149 155 162 169 176 182 189 196 203 210 216 223 230 236 243 250 257 263 270 70 132 139 146 153 160 167 174 181 188 196 202 209 216 222 229 236 243 250 257 264 271 278 71 136 143 150 157 165 172 179 186 193 200 208 215 222 229 236 243 250 257 265 272 279 286 72 140 147 154 162 169 177 184 191 199 206 213 221 228 235 242 250 258 265 272 279 287 294 73 144 151 159 166 174 182 189 197 204 212 219 227 235 242 250 257 265 272 280 288 295 302 74 148 155 163 171 179 186 194 202 210 218 225 233 241 249 256 264 272 280 287 295 303 311 75 152 160 168 176 184 192 200 208 216 224 232 240 248 256 264 272 279 287 295 303 311 319 76 156 164 172 180 189 197 205 213 221 230 238 246 254 263 271 279 287 295 304 312 320 328

    Source: Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults, National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, September 1998.

    *Height in Inches

    **Weight in Pounds

    *** Without Shoes

    ****Without Clothes

    How can I lose weight?

    To lose weight you need to take in fewer calories than you use. You can do this by creating and following a plan for healthy eating and a plan for regular physical activity.

    You may also choose to follow a formal weight-loss program that can help you make lifelong changes in your eating and physical activity habits. See below for more information on weight-loss programs.

    Your Plan for Healthy Eating

    The Nutrition Facts label from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is found on most packaged foods. It tells you how many calories and how much fat, protein, carbohydrate, and other nutrients are in one serving of the food. For more information on the Nutrition Facts, see “Other Resources” at the end of this brochure. It may be hard to stick to a weight-loss “diet” that limits your portions to very small sizes or excludes certain foods. You may have difficulty making that work over the long term. Instead, a healthy eating plan takes into account your likes and dislikes, and includes a variety of foods that give you enough calories and nutrients for good health.
    Make sure your healthy eating plan is one that:

    Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products.

    Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, bean, eggs, and nuts.
    Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.

    Your Plan for Regular Physical Activity

    Regular physical activity may help you lose weight and keep it off. It may also improve your energy level and mood, and lower your risk for developing heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.

    According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, experts believe all adults should be physically active. Some activity is better than none, and individuals who engage in any amount of physical activity may gain some health benefits. The majority of your physical activity should be moderate to vigorous in intensity. However, adults should aim to include muscle-strengthening activities as well. For more information on the Physical Activity Guidelines, see the “Other Resources” section at the end of this brochure.

    You can be physically active every day for one extended period of time, or you can break it up into shorter sessions of 20, 15, or even 10 minutes. Try some of these physical activities:

    walking (15 minutes per mile or 4 miles per hour)
    biking
    tennis
    aerobic exercise classes (step aerobics, kick boxing, dancing)
    energetic house or yard work (gardening, raking, mopping, vacuuming)

    What types of weight-loss programs are available?

    There are two different types of weight-loss programs—clinical and non-clinical. Knowing what a good program will offer and what to look for may help you choose a weight-loss program that will work for you.

    Non-Clinical Program

    What it is: A non-clinical program may be commercially operated, such as a privately owned weight-loss chain. You can follow a non-clinical program on your own by using a counselor, book, website, or weight-loss product. You can also join others in a support group, worksite program, or community-based program. Non-Clinical weight-loss programs may require you to use the program’s foods or supplements.

    A safe and effective program will offer:

    Books, pamphlets, and websites that are written or reviewed by a licensed health professional such as a medical doctor (M.D.) or registered dietitian (R.D.).

    Balanced information about following a healthy eating plan and getting regular physical activity.

    Leaders or counselors who show you their training credentials. (Program leaders or counselors may not be licensed health professionals.)

    Program cautions:

    If a program requires you to buy prepackaged meals, find out how much the meals will cost—they may be expensive. Also, eating prepackaged meals does not let you learn the food selection and cooking skills you will need to maintain weight loss over the long term.
    Avoid any diet that suggests you eat a certain formula, food, or combination of foods for easy weight loss. Some of these diets may work in the short term because they are low in calories. But they may not give you all the nutrients your body needs and they do not teach healthy eating habits.

    Avoid programs that do not include a physical activity plan.
    Talk to your health care provider before using any weight-loss product, such as a supplement, herb, or over-the-counter medication.

    Clinical Program

    What it is: A clinical program provides services in a health care setting, such as a hospital. One or more licensed health professionals, such as medical doctors, nurses, registered dietitians, and psychologists, provide care. A clinical program may or may not be commercially owned.

    Clinical programs may offer services such as nutrition education, physical activity, and behavior change therapy. Some programs offer prescription weight-loss drugs or gastrointestinal surgery.
    Prescription Weight-loss Drugs. If your BMI is 30 or more, or your BMI is 27 or more and you have weight-related health problems, you may consider using prescription weight-loss drugs. Drugs should be used as part of an overall program that includes long-term changes in eating and physical activity habits. Only a licensed health care provider can prescribe these drugs. See “Additional Reading” for more information about prescription medications for the treatment of obesity.
    Bariatric Surgery. If your BMI is 40 or more, or your BMI is 35 or more and you have weight-related health problems such as diabetes or heart disease, you may consider bariatric surgery (also called gastrointestinal surgery). Most patients lose weight quickly. To keep the weight off, most will need to eat healthy and get regular physical activity over the long term. Surgery may also reduce the amount of vitamins and minerals that are absorbed by your body. The rapid weight loss as a result of bariatric surgery may also cause gallstones. See the “Additional Reading” section for more information about bariatric surgery.

    What a safe and effective program will offer:

    A team of licensed health professionals.
    A plan to help you keep weight off after you have lost it.
    Program cautions: There may be side effects or health risks involved in the program that can be serious. Discuss these with your health care provider.

    Regardless of the type of weight-loss program you choose, be sure you have follow-up visits with your health care provider. He or she may suggest ways to deal with setbacks or obstacles you may face along the way, as well as answer any questions you may have as you move forward.

    It is not always easy to change your eating and physical activity habits. You may have setbacks along the way. But keep trying–you can do it!