The Best Way to Lose Weight

The best way to lose weight is to make lasting lifestyle changes, like a healthy eating plan and regular physical activity. Talk with a registered dietitian to learn what’s right for you.

Start by limiting liquid calories. Choose a diet that allows whole foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains.


Exercise is important to overall health and can be helpful in weight loss, but it won’t help you achieve your goal unless combined with diet and other healthy lifestyle changes. It’s best to start small, making one or two changes at a time that you know you can stick with for long-term results.

Aerobic exercise such as brisk walking, jogging and swimming is good for burning calories, improving endurance and breathing, and strengthening muscles. It’s recommended that you try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week.

HIIT (high intensity interval training) is another great workout to try, as it combines cardio and strength training. This type of exercise involves short bursts of intense activity followed by short periods of rest.

Experiment with different types of exercise to find what you enjoy most. Once you find something that you enjoy, schedule it in and make it a part of your daily routine.

Eat Right

Research has shown that the most effective way to lose weight is to eat healthfully and move more. That’s because the most important factor in losing weight is balancing calories from what you eat with calories burned through movement.

Start by understanding your current eating habits. Try keeping a food and beverage diary [PDF-127KB]. This will help you understand how many calories you are consuming versus the energy you are burning.

Focus on consuming a variety of whole foods, particularly those high in fiber and water (like fruits, vegetables and low sugar yogurts). Eat more lean protein to keep your hunger satisfied — choose from eggs, unsweetened milk, nuts, seeds, unsalted poultry, fish and low-fat or fat-free meat.

Avoid fried and breaded foods, which are often higher in calories. Instead, try baking or grilling foods. Bulk up sandwiches with veggies or use a low-calorie salad dressing. Try adding berries or diced bananas to low-sugar cereal to enjoy the sweetness without the extra calories.

Eat Less

You’ve probably heard it before, “eat less and move more.” That makes perfect sense on paper — expend more energy than you take in and the body will burn through excess fat and lead to weight loss. But it rarely works in practice.

Small smart decisions make a big difference when trying to lose weight. For example, use smaller plates to help moderate portion sizes. It also helps to sit down to eat, avoiding distractions such as TV or laptops. Try to chew each bite thoroughly and pause before taking another bite. This is called mindful eating and has been shown to reduce overeating.

Load your plate up with veggies, not meat. Aim for at least half of your meal to be vegetables. Try adding vegetarian refried beans to your burritos and tacos, or stir fry with tofu instead of chicken. When you eat meat, keep your portions small. A serving is 3 ounces, the size of a deck of cards.