6 proven strategies for weight-loss success (2023)

Weight loss: 6 strategies for success

Follow these proven strategies to reduce your weight and boost your health.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Hundreds of fad diets, weight-loss programs and outright scams promise quick and easy weight loss. However, the foundation of successful weight loss remains a healthy, calorie-controlled diet combined with increased physical activity. For successful, long-term weight loss, you must make permanent changes in your lifestyle and health habits.

How do you make those permanent changes? Consider following these six strategies for weight-loss success.

1. Make sure you're ready

Long-term weight loss takes time and effort — and a long-term commitment. While you don't want to put off weight loss indefinitely, you should make sure you're ready to make permanent changes to eating and activity habits. Ask yourself the following questions to help you determine your readiness:

  • Am I motivated to lose weight?
  • Am I too distracted by other pressures?
  • Do I use food as a means to cope with stress?
  • Am I ready to learn or use other strategies to cope with stress?
  • Do I need other support — either from friends or professionals — to manage stress?
  • Am I willing to change eating habits?
  • Am I willing to change activity habits?
  • Do I have the time to spend on making these changes?

Talk to your doctor if you need help addressing stressors or emotions that seem like obstacles to your readiness. When you're ready, you'll find it easier to set goals, stay committed and change habits.

2. Find your inner motivation

No one else can make you lose weight. You must undertake diet and exercise changes to please yourself. What's going to give you the burning drive to stick to your weight-loss plan?

Make a list of what's important to you to help you stay motivated and focused, whether it's an upcoming vacation or better overall health. Then find a way to make sure that you can call on your motivational factors during moments of temptation. You might want to post an encouraging note to yourself on the pantry door or refrigerator, for instance.

(Video) Unlock the Secrets to Successful Weight Loss 6 Proven Strategies!

While you have to take responsibility for your own behavior for successful weight loss, it helps to have support — of the right kind. Pick people to support you who will encourage you in positive ways, without shame, embarrassment or sabotage.

Ideally, find people who will listen to your concerns and feelings, spend time exercising with you or creating healthy menus, and share the priority you've placed on developing a healthier lifestyle. Your support group can also offer accountability, which can be a strong motivation for sticking to your weight-loss goals.

If you prefer to keep your weight-loss plans private, be accountable to yourself by having regular weigh-ins, recording your diet and exercise progress in a journal, or tracking your progress using digital tools.

3. Set realistic goals

It may seem obvious to set realistic weight-loss goals. But do you really know what's realistic? Over the long term, it's smart to aim for losing 1 to 2 pounds (0.5 to 1 kilogram) a week. Generally to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week, you need to burn 500 to 1,000 calories more than you consume each day, through a lower calorie diet and regular physical activity.

Depending on your weight, 5% of your current weight may be a realistic goal, at least for an initial goal. If you weigh 180 pounds (82 kilograms), that's 9 pounds (4 kilograms). Even this level of weight loss can help lower your risk of chronic health problems, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

When you're setting goals, think about both process and outcome goals. "Walk every day for 30 minutes" is an example of a process goal. "Lose 10 pounds" is an example of an outcome goal. It isn't essential that you have an outcome goal, but you should set process goals because changing your habits is a key to weight loss.

4. Enjoy healthier foods

Adopting a new eating style that promotes weight loss must include lowering your total calorie intake. But decreasing calories need not mean giving up taste, satisfaction or even ease of meal preparation.

One way you can lower your calorie intake is by eating more plant-based foods — fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Strive for variety to help you achieve your goals without giving up taste or nutrition.

Get your weight loss started with these tips:

(Video) The science is in: Exercise isn’t the best way to lose weight

  • Eat at least four servings of vegetables and three servings of fruits daily.
  • Replace refined grains with whole grains.
  • Use modest amounts of healthy fats, such as olive oil, vegetable oils, avocados, nuts, nut butters and nut oils.
  • Cut back on sugar as much as possible, except the natural sugar in fruit.
  • Choose low-fat dairy products and lean meat and poultry in limited amounts.

5. Get active, stay active

While you can lose weight without exercise, regular physical activity plus calorie restriction can help give you the weight-loss edge. Exercise can help burn off the excess calories you can't cut through diet alone.

Exercise also offers numerous health benefits, including boosting your mood, strengthening your cardiovascular system and reducing your blood pressure. Exercise can also help in maintaining weight loss. Studies show that people who maintain their weight loss over the long term get regular physical activity.

How many calories you burn depends on the frequency, duration and intensity of your activities. One of the best ways to lose body fat is through steady aerobic exercise — such as brisk walking — for at least 30 minutes most days of the week. Some people may require more physical activity than this to lose weight and maintain that weight loss.

Any extra movement helps burn calories. Think about ways you can increase your physical activity throughout the day if you can't fit in formal exercise on a given day. For example, make several trips up and down stairs instead of using the elevator, or park at the far end of the lot when shopping.

6. Change your perspective

It's not enough to eat healthy foods and exercise for only a few weeks or even months if you want long-term, successful weight management. These habits must become a way of life. Lifestyle changes start with taking an honest look at your eating patterns and daily routine.

After assessing your personal challenges to weight loss, try working out a strategy to gradually change habits and attitudes that have sabotaged your past efforts. Then move beyond simply recognizing your challenges — plan for how you'll deal with them if you're going to succeed in losing weight once and for all.

You likely will have an occasional setback. But instead of giving up entirely after a setback, simply start fresh the next day. Remember that you're planning to change your life. It won't happen all at once. Stick to your healthy lifestyle and the results will be worth it.

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(Video) Stop Sabotaging Your Diet: 6 Proven Strategies to Get Out of Your Own Way

(Video) Weight Loss 6 Strategies for Success

Dec. 07, 2021

  1. Hensrud DD, et al. Ready, set, go. In: The Mayo Clinic Diet. 2nd ed. Mayo Clinic; 2017.
  2. Duyff RL. Reach and maintain your healthy weight. In: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Complete Food and Nutrition Guide. 5th ed. John Wiley & Sons; 2017.
  3. Losing weight: Getting started. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/losing_weight/getting_started.html. Accessed Nov. 15, 2019.
  4. Do you know some of the health risks of being overweight? National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/weight-control/health_risks_being_overweight/Pages/health-risks-being-overweight.aspx. Accessed Nov. 15, 2019.
  5. 2013 AHA/ACC/TOS guideline for the management of overweight and obesity in adults: A report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines and The Obesity Society. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2014; doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2013.11.004.
  6. 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines. Accessed Nov. 15, 2019.
  7. Physical activity for a healthy weight. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/physical_activity/index.html. Accessed Nov. 15, 2019.

See more In-depth

See also

  1. Calorie calculator
  2. Carbohydrates
  3. Check your weight-loss readiness
  4. Counting calories
  5. Weight-loss plateau
  6. Hidradenitis suppurativa: Tips for weight-loss success
  7. Keep the focus on your long-term vision
  8. Losing weight: 5 tips that work
  9. Maintain a healthy weight with psoriatic arthritis
  10. BMI and waist circumference calculator
  11. Weight gain after menopause
  12. Metabolism and weight loss
  13. Metabolism boost for weight loss?
  14. Foods for weight control
  15. Solutions for weight-loss setbacks
  16. Two types of goals for weight loss
  17. Weight Loss After Breast Cancer
  18. Weight loss: Set a realistic goal
  19. Weight-loss readiness



What are six strategies for healthy weight loss? ›

Six strategies for healthy weight loss. Set and reward realistic goals, monitor eating, limit screen time, change thoughts, enlist support of friends and family, speak with a healthcare professional.

What has been proven to be the best way to lose weight? ›

9 weight loss tips
  1. Eat a high protein breakfast. ...
  2. Limit sugary drinks and fruit juice. ...
  3. Stay hydrated. ...
  4. Choose weight-loss-friendly foods. ...
  5. Eat more fiber. ...
  6. Drink coffee or tea. ...
  7. Base your diet on whole foods. ...
  8. Eat slowly.

What are the 7 tips for weight loss? ›

Lifestyle changes to lose weight
  • Set a weight loss target.
  • Eat within a 12 hour window.
  • Don't skip breakfast.
  • Take time to eat mindfully and chew properly.
  • Thirst, not hunger.
  • Eat your greens and look after your gut.
  • Move more.
Sep 29, 2020

What are the 3 keys to weight loss? ›

Cardio work, strength training and counting calories and macronutrients (protein, carbs and fat) are the three big components of weight loss. You should be doing all three, but each of these is not created equally when you're trying to lose weight.

What are the 6 principles of diet planning? ›

The diet-planning principles of adequacy, balance, calorie (energy) control, nutrient density, moderation, and variety are important concepts in choosing a healthful diet.

What is the simple evening ritual for weight loss? ›

Bedtime Rituals To Lose Weight:

All you need to do is to steep peppermint leaves in hot water for a few minutes and strain the tea and drink it warm. You can also add some honey to it. This will not only help burn fat but also help you wake up refreshed. During REM sleep is when our bodies can burn the most calories.

What is the biggest factor in weight loss? ›

"Weight loss is about food intake more than anything else," Dr. Tariq explains. Exercise is good for your overall health and longevity, but it's only a small component of weight loss. The majority of weight loss comes from making dietary changes and consuming fewer calories than you can burn in a day.

What do the biggest losers do to lose weight? ›

How the Biggest Loser diet works. Like many other weight loss diets, the Biggest Loser diet is a low calorie eating program. It also stresses regular exercise. Its meal plans provide 1,200–1,500 calories per day and include 3 meals, plus 2–3 snacks from whole foods.

What food is key to weight loss? ›

The following foods can support weight loss and boost your overall health in a variety of ways.
  • Lean Protein. Lean protein sources like chicken, turkey and grass-fed lean beef help keep you full, decrease cravings and stabilize blood sugar, says Feit. ...
  • Eggs. ...
  • Vegetables. ...
  • Avocados. ...
  • Apples. ...
  • Berries. ...
  • Nuts and Seeds. ...
  • Salmon.
Feb 1, 2023

What is a realistic weight loss goal for a month? ›

So what is the magic number to lose weight and keep it off? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) , it's 1 to 2 pounds per week. That means, on average, that aiming for 4 to 8 pounds of weight loss per month is a healthy goal.

What is a realistic goal for weight loss? ›

But do you really know what's realistic? Over the long term, it's smart to aim for losing 1 to 2 pounds (0.5 to 1 kilogram) a week. Generally to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week, you need to burn 500 to 1,000 calories more than you consume each day, through a lower calorie diet and regular physical activity.

What is the golden rule for weight loss? ›

Its simple. You need to burn more calories than you consume every day for losing weight and fat.

What is the Chinese method of weight loss? ›

Acupuncture. Acupuncture is a commonly used method for weight loss in China. For instance, acupuncture helps curb cravings, increase energy, and increase nutrient absorption. When the needles are inserted into certain vital points, they improve and restore the flow of life energy called “Qi”.

What is the fastest way to lose 3 pounds? ›

How To Lose 3 Pounds In 2 Days With 4 Important Tips
  1. Drink Lots Of Water.
  2. Pro Tip: This means eliminating sodas, energy drinks, and anything else that may have carbonation. ...
  3. Eat More Vegetables.
  4. Pro Tip: Avoid snacks, sugars, sweeteners, and sodium. ...
  5. Set Realistic Goals.
Apr 8, 2021

What are the ABCs of healthy eating? ›

Here are the ABCs of this heart-healthy eating plan:
  • A. Avoid unhealthy fats, and choose healthy fats. ...
  • B. Buy beans, fish and other lean proteins. ...
  • C. Choose carbs carefully. ...
  • D. Drink with deliberation. ...
  • E. Eat a wide-variety of foods—especially from plants. ...
  • F. Limit your sodium. ...
  • G. Get your exercise.

What is the first thing to have in the morning for weight loss? ›

Drink a Glass (or 2) of Water

One or two glasses of plain H2O before you eat breakfast may help you lose weight. Water has no calories, but it's satisfying and curbs your appetite, so you may not want to eat such a big breakfast afterward. It also stimulates your metabolism to help you burn calories.

What can you drink first thing in the morning to lose weight? ›

The best morning drinks for weight loss that you can choose from include warm lemon water with honey, cumin water, fenugreek water, cinnamon water with honey, and fennel water. Avoid having drinks that are high in sugar while on a weight loss journey.

What makes it harder to lose weight? ›

Why Is It So Hard to Lose Weight? Your body is designed to hold onto as much fat as possible to store for times when food may be scarce. That makes losing weight difficult for most people. Factors at play include genetics, age, race and ethnicity, diet, physical activity, hormones, and social factors.

At what age should you stop gaining weight? ›

Men tend to gain weight until age 55, and then slowly start to lose it in the years that follow. This could be because men produce less testosterone after this age. Women, on the other hand, usually stop gaining weight once they hit age 65.

What is the biggest struggle weight loss? ›

  • #1 Obstacle You can't stop snacking in between meals. ...
  • #2 Obstacle Snacking after dinner or late night. ...
  • #3 Obstacle You try to fix your boredom by eating. ...
  • #4 Obstacle Emotional or stress eating. ...
  • #5 Obstacle You can't stop drinking alcohol. ...
  • #6 Obstacle You have no time to cook. ...
  • #7 Obstacle You think healthy food is expensive.
Oct 29, 2020

How do I get drastic weight loss? ›

15 Expert-Backed Tips for Safe and Sustainable Weight Loss
  1. Implement Long-Term Lifestyle and Behavior Changes. ...
  2. Focus on the First 5% to 10% ...
  3. Reduce Your Intake of Ultra-Processed Carbs and Sweets. ...
  4. Eat More Plants. ...
  5. Pump Up Your Protein. ...
  6. Drink More Water. ...
  7. Eat a Well-Rounded Breakfast. ...
  8. Stand Up and Move More.
Feb 16, 2023

What is the unhealthiest way to lose weight and keep it off? ›

Unhealthy ways to lose weight
  • Skipping meals. Skipping meals is not an effective way to lose weight. ...
  • Cutting out certain food groups. ...
  • Only drinking weight loss shakes. ...
  • Working out on an empty stomach. ...
  • Being too restrictive. ...
  • Sticking to a liquid diet. ...
  • Taking supplements without medical approval. ...
  • Undereating or starving yourself.

How to get rid of belly fat quickly? ›

18 Effective Tips to Lose Belly Fat (Backed by Science)
  1. Eat plenty of soluble fiber. ...
  2. Avoid foods that contain trans fats. ...
  3. Moderate your alcohol intake. ...
  4. Eat a high protein diet. ...
  5. Reduce your stress levels. ...
  6. Don't eat a lot of sugary foods. ...
  7. Do aerobic exercise (cardio) ...
  8. Cut back on carbs — especially refined carbs.

What are the 5 foods that burn belly fat? ›

7 Foods that Burn Belly Fat
  • Beans. “Becoming a bean lover can help you lose weight and whittle your middle,” registered dietitian Cynthia Sass told Today. ...
  • Swap your beef for salmon. ...
  • Yogurt. ...
  • Red bell peppers. ...
  • Broccoli. ...
  • Edamame. ...
  • Diluted vinegar.

What speeds up metabolism fast? ›

Factors that may increase a person's metabolic rate include consuming an appropriate number of calories, favoring protein over carbohydrates and fat, getting enough sleep, and some types of exercise, such as resistance training.

What vitamin is best for metabolism? ›


These essential vitamins play a big role in boosting our metabolism by converting food into energy. Carbohydrates, fats, proteins, you name it, Vitamin B complex will help metabolize it. So, if you're trying to lose weight, Vitamin B is your friend.

Which fruit speeds up metabolism? ›

Watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew—these are naturally good for metabolism. Watermelon may even help with weight loss because it contains the amino acid arginine, which was found in a study of obese mice to reduce body fat gains by 64 percent.

How can I drop 20 pounds fast? ›

Here are the 10 best ways to quickly and safely drop 20 pounds.
  1. Count calories. ...
  2. Drink more water. ...
  3. Increase your protein intake. ...
  4. Reduce your refined carb consumption. ...
  5. Start lifting weights. ...
  6. Eat more fiber. ...
  7. Follow a sleep schedule. ...
  8. Set reasonable goals and stay accountable.
Aug 13, 2018

How often should you weigh yourself? ›

Daily weigh-ins.

If you're really committed to losing weight, weighing yourself every day can be helpful. Research shows that people who weigh themselves every day have even more success with weight loss than those who weigh in once a week.

What percent of American adults are considered obese? ›

Obesity in adults

It's estimated that a little over 42% of American adults have obesity, while about 30.7% are overweight. Overall, more than two-thirds of U.S. adults in the United States are overweight or have obesity. Adults between ages of 40 and 59 are more likely to have obesity.

What exercise burns most calories in 30 minutes? ›

Running at even a slow pace burns a lot of calories for 30 minutes. On average, running burns between 10.8 to 16 calories per minute and putting it at the top of the list of workouts that burn the most calories.

What is a 6 week shred? ›

The 6-Week Shred program provides five strength-centered workouts every week for six weeks, each about 60 minutes in duration. The workouts rotate through a focus on the chest, back, shoulders, legs, and biceps and triceps.

What exercise burn the most belly fat? ›

Your first step in burning off visceral fat is including at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise or cardio into your daily routine.
Some great cardio of aerobic exercises for belly fat include:
  • Walking, especially at a quick pace.
  • Running.
  • Biking.
  • Rowing.
  • Swimming.
  • Cycling.
  • Group fitness classes.
Nov 10, 2020

What is realistic weight loss in 3 months? ›

A safe, healthy, and realistic goal is to lose 0.5-to-1% of your body weight per week, which is around 1-to-2 pounds of weight loss per week for most people. In other words, you can expect to lose 12-to-24 pounds in a 3-month period.

What is a realistic 2 month weight loss goal? ›

Although everyone's body is different, in general people can expect to lose one to two pounds a week if they are doing so in a sustainable manner. "Over the course of two months or eight weeks, a healthy weight-loss goal is eight to 16 pounds," White said.

What are 5 successful strategies for weight loss? ›

Consider following these six strategies for weight-loss success.
  • 1. Make sure you're ready. Long-term weight loss takes time and effort — and a long-term commitment. ...
  • Find your inner motivation. No one else can make you lose weight. ...
  • Set realistic goals. ...
  • Enjoy healthier foods. ...
  • Get active, stay active. ...
  • Change your perspective.

What are 5 healthy ways to manage weight? ›

5 Ways to Reach a Healthy Weight
  • Skip the sugary drinks. ...
  • Exercise. ...
  • Reduce screen time. ...
  • Watch portion sizes. ...
  • Eat 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day. Fruits and veggies are about more than just vitamins and minerals.

What are the best strategies to maintain healthy body weight? ›

Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight includes healthy eating, physical activity, optimal sleep, and stress reduction. Several other factors may also affect weight gain. Healthy eating features a variety of healthy foods.

What are the 8 steps to losing weight? ›

Here are eight baby steps to take today.
  1. Add an extra 500 steps. ...
  2. Leave a few bites on your plate. ...
  3. Eat intuitively. ...
  4. Ditch the sugary sodas. ...
  5. Keep a food journal. ...
  6. Do basic body-weight exercises. ...
  7. Eat one less serving of processed food each day. ...
  8. Eat within a 12-hour window.
Apr 24, 2021

Are there any vitamins that help with weight loss? ›

Vitamin B, D, iron, and magnesium are 4 popular supplements for weight loss.

How can I lose weight fast and permanently naturally? ›

12 tips to help you lose weight
  1. Do not skip breakfast. Skipping breakfast will not help you lose weight. ...
  2. Eat regular meals. ...
  3. Eat plenty of fruit and veg. ...
  4. Get more active. ...
  5. Drink plenty of water. ...
  6. Eat high fibre foods. ...
  7. Read food labels. ...
  8. Use a smaller plate.

How to stop being obese? ›

The best way to treat obesity is to eat a healthy, reduced-calorie diet and exercise regularly. To do this you should: eat a balanced, calorie-controlled diet as recommended by your GP or weight loss management health professional (such as a dietitian) join a local weight loss group.

Why am I gaining weight even though I exercise and eat right? ›

You're Consuming More Calories Than Your Body Needs

Incorporating a few days of exercise into your weekly routine is likely to increase your appetite-especially if your body is burning more calories than it's used to. Unfortunately, this can cause many of us to trip up and consume more calories than we really need.

What is the 1st step to lose weight? ›

Step 1: Make a commitment.

Making the decision to lose weight, change your lifestyle, and become healthier is a big step. Start by making a commitment to yourself.

What is the best way to lose weight over 50? ›

Reduce your intake of refined sugars and starches, eat more protein and whole foods, and exercise regularly,” Yancy suggests, echoing the results of a number of studies, including one published in 2018 in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.


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