5-Step Weight-Loss Plan

Always be sure to check with your health care provider before beginning any activity plan or increasing your activity.

It always helps to ask:

  • What activities are right for me?
  • How much should I do each day?
  • How many days a week?

It's also important to ask your health care provider what your target heart rate is to help determine what exercise intensity is appropriate for you.

Safety Tips for Active Weight Loss

  • Check with your health care provider before you start any activity.
  • Ask about appropriate activities for you. You may need to start with activities that put limited stress on your bones and joints, such as swimming or cycling.
  • Ask whether you need testing for heart disease or diabetes, or whether any medications you are taking may affect your ability to be active.
  • Find out about what to do for limitations such as flat feet or a bad back.
  • When starting or increasing physical activity, proceed slowly and gradually.

One way to lose weight is to eat fewer calories and get more active at the same time, according to a recent report by the National Institutes of Health. For example, if a 200-pound man starts walking briskly for 1½ miles each day and eats 250 fewer calories every day as well, he will lose about 40 pounds in 1 year.

Check with your health care provider before starting an activity plan. He or she can advise you about safety concerns, as well as which activities are best for you.

After you've talked to your health care provider, follow this 5-step plan to help you lose a few pounds.

  1. Pick a goal or goals. Think about what you want to accomplish. Think about both your long- and short-term goals. Reaching short- term goals can help you feel accomplishment along the way. For example, a long-term goal might be: Lose 5 pounds in 2 months. A short-term goal might be tied to an activity: Walk an extra 5 minutes a day for 2 weeks.
  1. Create a weekly or monthly schedule. To guide you, post your schedule where you'll see it, and use it every day.
  2. Track your progress. This can be as simple as checking off each activity on your schedule as you finish it. Better still, add some quick notes about how you felt, what you accomplished, and any changes you want to make. To monitor your weight, you can use a weight/BMI tracker.
  3. Reward yourself. When you reach your short- and long-term goals, reward yourself with something small or large that's meaningful to you (but not food-related). This can reenergize you for your next session.
  4. Review regularly. Every week, take a look at how your activity plan is going. For example, if you feel like you're not meeting your goals, pick a new goal with a shorter time frame and try to get back on track. If things are going great and you're on schedule, consider a bit more activity or adding a different activity. Regular reassessments make adjustments easier.
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