Make a promise to eat well, move more, and get support from family and friends. If you need to lose weight, do it slowly over time.
Remember that to lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn.
Set realistic goals.
Start out by setting small goals, like:
- I want to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week.
- I will add 10 minutes of physical activity to my daily routine.
- I will avoid second helpings of meals this week.
Keep a food and activity diary.
- When you eat
- What you eat
- How much you eat
- Your physical activity
Print a food and activity diary or make your own. When you know your habits, it’s easier to make changes.
Move more to balance the calories you take in with the calories you use.
- Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes of activity a week.
- Try to be active for 30 minutes 5 times a week.
- If you don’t have time for 30 minutes of activity, get moving for shorter 10-minute periods throughout the day.
Remember that some physical activity is better than none. Check out these resources for tips and ideas:
Make your calories count. Use this interactive tool to practice using the nutrition facts label to make smart food choices.
Here are some easy ways you can eat healthy.
- Choose fat-free or low-fat versions of your favorite foods.
- Drink water or fat-free milk instead of soda or other sugary drinks.
- Fill half your plate with vegetables and fruit.
- When you eat out, ask for sauces or dressings “on the side” so you can control how much you use.
- Try this menu planner for healthy meal ideas.
Eat smaller portions.
Eating healthy food is important. But you also need to pay attention to how much food you eat. Take the Portion Distortion Quiz to test your knowledge.
Here are some tips for watching your portions:
- Start the day with a healthy breakfast.
- Eat small, healthy snacks during the day. This will keep you from overeating at mealtimes.
- Put a small amount of food in a bowl instead of eating out of the package or container.
- Serve food on plates and leave the main dish on the stove. You will be less tempted to go back for seconds.
- If you are eating out, only eat half of your meal. Take the other half home.
- Read the label to find out how many servings are in a package. There may be more than one!
- Eat slowly – this will give you time to feel full.
- Don’t eat in front of the TV. It’s harder to keep track of how much you are eating.
Get tips to help you enjoy your food while eating less [PDF - 520 KB].
Ask your doctor for help.
You may also want to talk to a doctor or nurse about different ways to lose weight. Your doctor can explain your options, like joining a weight-loss program. Check out these questions to ask your doctor about losing weight.
What about cost?
Screening and counseling for obesity are covered under the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform law passed in 2010. Depending on your insurance plan, you may be able to get these services at no cost to you.
Check with your insurance provider to find out what’s included in your plan. For information about other services covered by the Affordable Care Act, visit HealthCare.gov.