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How to Safely Change Your Diet for Weight Loss

CEO Tinh Phung
Gradual lifestyle changes lead to successful weight loss. When embarking on a weight loss journey, you may feel tempted to dive headfirst into a new, strict diet plan. However, drastic changes to your lifestyle can...

lifestyle changes to lose weight Gradual lifestyle changes lead to successful weight loss.

When embarking on a weight loss journey, you may feel tempted to dive headfirst into a new, strict diet plan. However, drastic changes to your lifestyle can be challenging and often result in failure. Instead, consider adopting a more gradual approach that allows you to make sustainable changes and still enjoy the foods you love.

Set Realistic Goals

In order to successfully change your diet, it's crucial to set realistic goals. According to the Harvard Special Health Report "Lose Weight and Keep It Off," start by setting a master goal, such as reducing your body weight by 5% to 10% in six months. Break this goal down into smaller, achievable mini-goals that you know you'll be able to maintain.

Mini-Goals for Success

The specific lifestyle changes you make will depend on your current eating habits. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Cook dinner three times a week. When you cook at home, you have control over portion sizes and ingredients.
  • Pack your lunch at least three times a week. By bringing your own lunch, you can save calories and money. Use leftovers from dinner to make it easy and convenient.
  • Reconsider your beverage choices. Replace sugary drinks like soda with water, coffee without sugar, unsweetened iced tea, or sparkling water. For added flavor, infuse your water with slices of cucumber or fresh berries.
  • Opt for healthier fast food options. If you can't completely avoid fast food, look for lighter options on the menu.
  • Avoid high-calorie foods. Some foods make weight loss nearly impossible due to their calorie content. Examples include onion rings, taco salad, lo mein, and mozzarella sticks. Gradually replace these with healthier options.

Take It Slow and Steady

Once you've successfully implemented one lifestyle change, move on to another. By gradually introducing new habits, you'll find that healthy eating becomes more natural, and the pounds will start to come off. Remember, it's important to be patient with yourself and avoid rushing the process. Sustainable weight loss is a gradual journey.

For even greater success, combine a healthier diet with an exercise plan. But always remember that slow and steady wins the race. Your desired weight is the ultimate prize, and with persistence and dedication, you will achieve your goals.

By Heidi Godman
Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter

For a range of weight-loss solutions that can be tailored to your needs, buy the Harvard Special Health Report Lose Weight and Keep It Off: Smart approaches to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

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