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Walking for just a few minutes every day can help you reach a healthy weight.
A 2012 investigation by the Federal Trade Commission found that hundreds of weight-loss advertisements tell readers and viewers confusing, contradicting or outright wrong dieting information. If you're confused by the weight-loss tips out there, you're not alone. For a beginner, it can seem daunting and overwhelming. Thankfully, all it takes is a few simple lifestyle changes to start seeing healthy results the next time you step on the bathroom scale.
Eat breakfast, one of the foundations of simple weight loss, according to the Harvard Medical School. Try pairing oatmeal with a sliced banana or a piece of whole-grain toast topped with peanut butter. For the best results, Harvard recommends picking a meal that has a minimum of 6 grams of fiber. Fiber helps you achieve your weight-loss goals because it regulates blood sugar and insulin levels, thus helping to curb your appetite. It also keeps you feeling full longer so you're less likely to overeat later.
Switch out all your juices, sodas and sugary beverages for water. Water is the No. 1 weight-loss choice, compared to its sugar-laden alternatives, reports the University of Rochester Medical Center. In fact, simply drinking a single 20-ounce bottle of soda every day can lead to weight gain of 25 pounds in just one year. If you don't enjoy the taste of plain water, try green tea, which has catechins that may help you to lose weight.
Track the calories in what you eat. All weight loss boils down to one thing: eating fewer calories than you burn. Unfortunately, many people estimate their food intake incorrectly. Use one of the many dieting apps available for smartphones, or keep a notebook and pen with you at every meal, and track your caloric intake daily to get an idea of how much you're eating.
Cut calories as necessary by swapping out high-calorie foods for lower-calorie alternatives. While factors like your genetics play a role, Yale Health reports that most people need to reduce their daily caloric intake by only 500 calories to lose 1 pound of weight in one week. For example, switch out your 2 percent milk and use 1 percent milk instead -- it has similar taste but fewer calories per serving. Similarly, pick leaner meats like chicken over fattier meats like steak.
Exercise to burn calories and increase your caloric deficit, which leads to weight loss. For example, let's say your goal is to reduce your daily calories by 500 so you lose a pound this week. If you make food swaps that cut 250 calories from your diet, you still need to reduce your overall caloric intake by another 250 calories -- this is where exercise can help. Try a beginner exercise routine, like walking for 30 to 45 minutes every day or as needed to hit your goals. In general, you can expect to burn approximately 100 calories for every mile you walk, reports Harvard Medical School.
Get seven to eight hours of sleep every night. Poor sleep habits can cause an increase in stress hormones that encourages fat retention in your body, while not getting enough sleep can also cause increased hunger cravings.
Items you will need
Food-tracking smartphone app or a pen and paper
Eating mindfully by paying attention to what you eat instead of eating while you're watching TV or otherwise distracted can help you to eat less and lose more weight. For the best results, try to set aside at least 20 minutes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This can help guard against overeating.
Talk to your doctor before trying to lose weight and before you start any type of exercise. Everyone's body is different, and any pre-existing medical conditions that you have may affect what works best for you.