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What a Healthy Weight Loss Plan Really Looks Like

Contributors: Ruth Frechman, MA, RDN, CPT

Published: June 06, 2018

Reviewed: April 23, 2021

Woman weighing herself - What a Healthy Weight Loss Plan Really Looks Like
Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Blend Images/Thinkstock

For individuals looking to lose weight, following a very low calorie diet may result in rapid weight loss in the short term, but slow and steady wins the weight loss race. The most successful weight loss plans combine diet, exercise and behavioral therapy. Talking to a registered dietitian nutritionist is a good first step.

Identify the Problem Areas

Every person has a different situation, so the approach to losing weight depends on the individual. The first step is to identify what's going on. Are you doing something that is making weight gain more likely? Some of these behaviors may include:

  • Eating too many foods and beverages with added sugars and solid fats
  • Eating big portions
  • Skipping meals
  • Eating a lot of meals away from home
  • Grazing all day on high-calorie snacks
  • Frequently drinking high-calorie drinks
  • Consuming too much alcohol
  • Eating for emotional reasons
  • Eating in front of a screen such as mobile device or television

Make Changes

Ultimately, the best way to lose weight is to change the habits that are causing the extra weight. For the best results, pick one habit at a time to change. For example, try limiting sweets and treats, cutting out fried foods or only eating out once a week. Replace those old habits with new habits, such as trying new fruits and vegetables or a new exercise routine.

Keep Track

Studies show that people who self-monitor their meals lose more weight and keep it off.

Put It All Together

If you want to achieve your weight-loss goals, tracking your food intake and conducting regular weigh-ins are practical lifestyle-based methods for losing weight. A registered dietitian nutritionist can help you reach your individual weight goals and serve as a support. 

Find a Nutrition Expert

Looking for credible nutrition information and recommendations? The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' network of credentialed food and nutrition practitioners are ready to help!