How to lose weight the healthy way
by Janel Funk, RD

If you ask ten different people how to lose weight the healthy way, you’ll likely get ten different responses. These days, our ideas of healthy weight loss are clouded by fad diets, celebrity weight loss success, quick fixes, and new food products on the market. Fortunately there is only one way to lose long-term weight the healthy way, and that is to eat less and exercise more. However, most people want to see weight loss results fast. The truth is people who lose weight gradually – about a pound or two a week – have better success at keeping the weight off. Incorporating long-lasting lifestyle changes into your diet and exercise habits that you can stick with will result in healthy long-term weight loss.  
One pound is equal to 3,500 calories, so in order to drop about a pound a week, you’ll want to have a calorie deficit of about 500 calories per day. This should be from a combination of eating fewer calories, and burning more calories through exercise. This simple ratio of calories in versus calories out equals healthy weight loss. But you don’t have to count every single calorie to be successful. Instead, stick to the following five habits for healthy weight loss:
Cut calories– This doesn’t mean you need to cut out entire meals or skip snacks. Eating less can come from small changes that add up over time. Instead of dining off of large dinner plates, swap to a smaller dessert-sized plate to decrease the amount of food you dish out. Or instead of polishing off the whole snack bag of pretzels that contains two or more servings, try eating only half and see if that satisfies you. Cutting calories doesn’t mean you need to seek out low calorie or fat free foods. Instead, choose nutritious foods that fill you up, and use portion control.
Move more – You don’t have to be an all-star athlete to achieve healthy weight loss. Engaging in physical activity most days of the week, about 60 minutes or more at moderate intensity, will help you reach your goals. Even if you’re not a gym junkie or have no desire to run a race you can find physical activity that interests you. Dancing in the living room with your kids or taking your dog out for a long walk are fun ways to fit exercise into your day.
Eat more plants– Sounds silly but it’s simple. Plant-based foods like beans, nuts, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are high in water, fiber, and vitamins and antioxidants while being low in calories. This means they’ll fill you up without filling you out, and will keep you satisfied, so pick plants for healthy weight loss.
Start smartYou’ve heard breakfast is the most important meal of the day but in truth, all meals are important. It’s crucial to not skip any meals in an effort to save calories, and starting your day with breakfast is the first step. Eating breakfast may prevent you from overeating later in the day. A full sit-down morning meal isn’t necessary; a piece of fresh fruit, handful of whole grain cereal, or half of a granola bar is enough to get the metabolism – your calorie burning furnace – going.
Strike a balanceMake sure to balance out the contents of your meals and snacks with some complex carbs and lean protein. This powerhouse combination ensures your food will satisfy you so you’re not faced with a grumbling stomach. Complex carbohydrates like whole grain cereal, fruit, and brown rice take longer to digest, so you won’t feel that carbohydrate crash after eating them like you may with cookies, white bread, or candy. Protein found in food like fish, beans, and nuts keeps you satisfied longer, meaning you will tend to eat less overall – great news for those watching their weight.  
By gradually changing your daily habits, you’ll be more likely to maintain healthy weight loss over time.

*Please keep in mind that the information on this site does not constitute medical advice. Before embarking on any weight loss plan or making dietary changes, you should consult your doctor.

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