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5 Ways to Reach a Healthy Weight

If you are overweight and your doctor recommends that you lose weight, dieting may not be the way to go. That's because many diet plans want you to cut way back on calories or give up certain foods. This approach may work in the short run, but most dieters gain back the weight they lost when they go back to their old eating habits.

So what's the best way to drop excess weight? Create a new normal and focus on healthy behavior! Replace old, unhealthy habits with new, healthier ones. Here are 5 ways to make that happen:

  1. Skip the sugary drinks. Sugary drinks, such as soda, juice, sweet tea, and sports drinks, add extra calories with little or no nutritional value. People who regularly drink sugary beverages are more likely to be overweight. Choose water or low-fat milk most of the time.
  2. Exercise.Regular physical activity burns calories and builds muscle — both of which help you look and feel good and can help keep weight off. Walking the family dog, cycling to school, and doing other things that increase your daily level of activity can make a difference. If you want to burn more calories, increase the intensity of your workout and add some strength exercises to build muscle.
  3. Reduce screen time. People who spend a lot of time in front of screens are more likely to be overweight. Set reasonable limits on the amount of time you spend watching TV, playing video games, and using computers, phones, and tablets not related to school work. Turn off all screens at least an hour before bedtime so you can get enough sleep.
  4. Watch portion sizes. Big portions pile on extra calories that can cause weight gain. Choose smaller portions, especially when eating high-calorie snacks. When eating away from home, try sharing an entree or save half your meal to take home.
  5. Eat 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day. Fruits and veggies are about more than just vitamins and minerals. They're also packed with fiber, which means they fill you up. And when you fill up on fruits and veggies, you're less likely to overeat.
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: January 2021