In order to lose weight, it is necessary to consume fewer calories than you expend while participating in an appropriate exercise program. Reducing the intake of high-calorie items and substituting with more nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains can be an appropriate first step in this process. Weight loss strategies really work. Consider these when attempting healthy weight loss goals:

1. Eat Balanced Meals and Snacks

Make sure to include sources of lean protein and fiber-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

2. Stay Hydrated With Water or Low-Calorie Fluids

Limit your intake of sodas, juices or other high-sugar fluids. Adding mint or fresh slices of lemon, lime or other fruit can help enhance the flavor of your water.

3. Have a Meal or Snack Every 3-5 Hours

Prevent excessive hunger and overeating. When possible, include a protein source with each snack.

4. Include a Fruit and/or Vegetable With Each Meal

Fruits and vegetables are low in calories, add bulk to your meals, and have fiber, which can help you feel full. Half of your plate should consist of fruit and vegetables.

5. Limit or Avoid Alcohol

Each form of an alcohol is a significant contributor of unnecessary calories.

6. Move Your Body

If you spend most of your time sitting at a desk during the day, aim to get up and move. Walk around, stretch or take the stairs whenever possible.

7. Eat Meals at a Table With No Television or Electronics

Focus on eating your food and spending time with others rather than mindlessly eating.

8. Plan and Prepare Meals Ahead of Time

Help prevent overeating or making unhealthy choices last minute by having your meals ready to go.

9. Choose Grilled, Baked or Broiled foods

Avoid fried foods.

10. Choose Lean Cuts of Meats and Low-fat Milk or Dairy Products

Limit intake of fatty meats such as bacon, sausages, or meat with heavy marbling.

11. Reduce Portion Sizes

Use smaller plates, bowls and serving spoons.

12. Be Conservative With Use of Oils, Dressings and Butters as Well as Other High-fat Foods Such as Nuts and Cheese

Fats are an important part of the diet, but can lead to excessive calorie intake when portions are too large.

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