To lose weight, it’s important to make lifestyle changes with a focus on reducing calories from food and beverages, a healthy eating plan, and portion control.
Healthy Eating Plan
A healthy eating plan gives your body the nutrients it needs every day while staying within your daily calorie goal for weight loss. A healthy eating plan also will lower your risk for heart disease and other health conditions.
A healthy eating plan:
• Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
• Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
• Is low in saturated fats, trans fat, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars
• Controls portion sizes
To lose weight, most people need to reduce the number of calories they get from food and beverages (energy IN) and increase their physical activity (energy OUT).
For a weight loss of 1–2 pounds per week, daily intake should be reduced by 500 to 1,000 calories. In general:
• Eating plans that contain 1,000–1,200 calories each day will help most women lose weight safely.
• Eating plans that contain 1,200–1,600 calories each day are suitable for men and also may be appropriate for women who weigh 165 pounds or more or who exercise regularly.
If you eat 1,600 calories a day but do not lose weight, then you may want to cut back to 1,200 calories. If you are hungry on either diet, then you may want to boost your calories by 100 to 200 per day. Very low calorie diets of fewer than 800 calories per day should not be used unless you are being monitored by your doctor.
Be Physically Active
Being physically active and eating fewer calories will help you lose weight and keep the weight off over time.
While people vary quite a bit in the amount of physical activity they need for weight control, many can maintain their weight by doing 150 to 300 minutes (2 ½ to 5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity activity such as brisk walking.
People who want to lose a large amount of weight (more than 5 percent of their body weight)—and people who want to keep off the weight that they’ve lost—may need to be physically active for more than 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week.
Healthy Weight Tools
The BMI Calculator is an easy-to-use online tool to help you estimate body fat. It is a measure of your weight relative to your height. Combining BMI with waist circumference measures and other risk factors for heart disease can yield your risk for developing obesity-associated diseases.