Losing weight and keeping it off is a challenge and a long-term struggle for many people. So, it’s no wonder quick-fix approaches and products are so alluring. But most people find lasting change comes from making mindful, sustainable changes to their lifestyle and eating habits.
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Losing weight and keeping it off isn’t just about what you’re eating and how much. It’s about striking a balance between healthy eating, exercise and lifestyle habits that keep you energized and well.
“For weight loss, you need to burn more calories than you consume — 500 calories or more every day,” says registered dietitian Annalise Pratt, RD. “But long-term success also means thinking carefully about how and what you eat, and how you can be healthier in all areas of your life, such as exercise.”
How many calories do I need to lose weight?
Current dietary guidelines recommend adults should consume between 1,600 and 3,000 calories (energy from food) per day. People who are active, especially athletes, need more calories than those who are not. And if you’re younger, you need more calories than an older person whose metabolism has slowed with age.
To lose about 1 or 2 pounds per week, you need a deficit (more calories burned than consumed) of 500 calories each day. You can do this by limiting your intake of higher-calorie, less nutritional foods and burning extra calories with physical activity. You can use a heart rate monitor, smart watch or an activity tracker or app to keep track of the calories you burn.
8 top tips for safe weight loss
Losing weight and keeping it off may be easier than you think when you focus on developing positive eating and lifestyle habits. Here are some to try:
1. Find a nutritious balance
To maximize your health while losing weight, cut calories by replacing foods that don’t have much nutritional value with foods that pack a bigger nutritional punch.
For instance, opt for fewer carbohydrate-heavy snacks like pretzels or canned fruit, and choose an added portion of vegetables at each meal. For lunch and dinner, try to plan meals that are 50% vegetables, 25% carbohydrate or starch and 25% lean protein.
“This will help control calories while still eating a balanced meal and allowing for flexibility,” Pratt says. “Following a rigid, very restrictive …….