Achieving healthy weight loss isn’t about a “diet” or “program” but a lifestyle with healthy eating patterns, regular physical activity, and stress management. Medications taken for other conditions may also make it harder to lose weight. If you are concerned about your weight or have questions about your medications, talk with your health care provider.
When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s natural to want it to happen very quickly. But people with gradual and steady weight loss (about 1 to 2 pounds per week) are more likely to keep the weight off.
Once you’ve achieved a healthy weight, rely on healthy eating and physical activity to help maintain health over the long term.
Losing weight isn’t easy, and it takes commitment. But if you’re ready to get started, we’ve got a step-by-step guide to help get you on the road to weight loss and better health. Before starting on the guide, it’s important to approach the changes with self-compassion and to understand your readiness and motivation. Creating a supportive environment, both physically and with the people in your life, can help you achieve your goals.
Even Modest Weight Loss Can Mean Big Benefits
Even a modest weight loss of 5% to 10% of your total body weight is likely to produce health benefits, such as improvements in blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugars.1
For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, a 5% weight loss is 10 pounds, bringing your weight down to 190 pounds. While this weight may still be in the “overweight” or “obesity” range, this modest weight loss can decrease your risk for chronic diseases related to obesity.
So even if the overall goal seems large, see it as a journey rather than a final destination. You’ll learn new eating and physical activity habits that will help you live a healthier lifestyle. These habits can help you maintain your weight loss over time.
Healthy Eating For A Healthy Weight
An eating plan that helps manage your weight includes a variety of healthy foods. Add an array of colors to your plate and think of it as eating the rainbow. Dark, leafy greens, oranges, and tomatoes—even fresh herbs—are loaded with vitamins, fiber, and minerals. Adding frozen peppers, broccoli, or onions to stews and omelets gives them a quick and convenient boost of color and nutrients.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020–2025[PDF-30.6MB], a healthy eating plan:
- Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
- Includes a variety of protein foods such as seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), soy products, nuts, and seeds.
- Is low in added sugars, sodium, saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol.
- Stays within your daily calorie
USDA’s MyPlate Plan can help you identify what and how much to eat from the different food groups while staying within your recommended calorie allowance. You can also download My Food Diary [PDF-106KB] to help track your meals.