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  • More than 60% of American adults and over 30% of American children weigh more than they should.
  • Find out your BMI (body mass index), waist circumference, and waist-to-hip ratio to determine if you are overweight.
  • Being overweight puts undue strain on your heart and contributes to serious health problems, like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, and sleep apnea.
  • To lose weight, you must burn more calories than you consume. This sounds simple, but it is not easy.
  • Changing your lifestyle is essential for losing weight and keeping weight off. There is no way around this, even with medicine or surgery.
  • Making slow, progressive changes leads to new and lasting habits.
  • Belief in yourself and in your weight loss approach are important first steps towards successfully losing weight.
  • Treat each attempt to lose weight as a new beginning, a fresh start, and learn from your former attempts.
  • Avoid yo-yo dieting and fads. To lose weight in a healthy way and keep it off, aim for no more than two pounds per week and be sure to include physical activity.
  • Exercise is essential for weight loss. Start out with low-impact activities to protect your joints. Build up slowly, adding more vigorous activity as you shed the pounds.
  • When losing weight, you must not only eat fewer calories, but make sure that your diet has a balance of essential nutrients, including vitamins and minerals.
  • Substitute whole grains, fruits, and vegetables for fat and sugar.
  • Keep track of what you are eating and when, especially in the beginning. This can help you identify problem foods and problem times of day. Counting calories, however, quickly becomes tedious and does not guarantee a healthy, balanced diet.

Review Date: 6/28/2011

Reviewed By: Jeffrey Heit, MD, Internist with special emphasis on preventive health, fitness and nutrition, Philadelphia VA Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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