We all know that it's important to maintain a healthy weight. Keeping to a healthy weight will give you more energy and self-confidence and improve your overall health. Each day we are bombarded with advertisements for diet pills and programs promising quick weight loss. These may be tempting, but there is no such thing as a quick healthy weight loss that lasts.

The best way to lose weight and stay healthy is by creating a plan that encompasses diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes. Before beginning any weight loss program, talk with your doctor. These steps will help get you started.

  1. Assess your current weight. How much do you want to lose? Set an overall goal, perhaps wearing a certain dress for your daughter's wedding, but be realistic about your time frame.
  2. Set short term goals. Most people shouldn't lose more than two pounds per week. Monthly goals (such as losing 5 pounds) are less intimidating than yearly goals.
  3. Edit your diet. Eat mostly whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean meats. Choose low-fat dairy products and limit sweets and fats. Pay attention to portion size.
  4. Exercise. Start slowly and increase activities gradually. Choose an activity you enjoy, either solo or with a group. An exercise partner may motivate you to stick to your plan.
  5. Make lifestyle changes. Watching less TV, walking your dog nightly, or playing catch with your kids every weekend gets you off the couch and away from the refrigerator.

Marlene Veloso