Medically Proven Ways to Lose Weight (cont.)

7. Do it slowly
The average adult gains 1-3 pounds per year, according to the surgeon general. One pound of fat equals 3,500 calories. So what makes you think you can take it all off -- and keep it off -- in just a few short months? The best and most successful approach is slow and steady, at a rate of 1-2 pounds per week. Weight lost at this rate is primarily fat and has a much better chance of remaining lost forever.

Clinic Tip: The WebMD Weight Loss Clinic expert nutrition system takes your usual calorie intake and reduces it by 500-1,000 calories per day. Combine this calorie reduction with daily physical activity and you'll have a loss of 1-2 pounds per week. Slow, steady weight loss is the kind that stays off forever.

8. Buddy up
Getting support from others is a great way to help you maintain your new eating and physical activity habits. Successful losers have great support systems, according to research from Brown University published in The Journal of the American Medical Association. Find someone with the same goals as you, then help one another discover those habits that led to overeating and inactivity. Then brainstorm ways to change them into new healthy behaviors.

Clinic Tip: Don't have a buddy? Check out our community! We have excellent experts to offer advice and suggestions, and plenty of folks just like you who will be thrilled to be your dieting pal.

9. Eat a rainbow of colors and plenty of whole grains
Colorful produce and whole grains contain complex carbohydrates, a wealth of disease-fighting phytonutrients, very few calories, and virtually no fat. Fruits and vegetables are chock full of fiber, vitamins C, A, and K, folate, and potassium. The deeper the color, the richer the nutrients and the potential for greater health benefits. Whole grains not only provide an excellent source of carbohydrate, vitamins, minerals, and fiber, but researchers have found more phytonutrients that help fight cancer, heart disease, and prevent diabetes. Whole grains are digested more slowly and therefore are more satisfying for a longer period of time. Read the label and choose foods made of 100% whole grains. We recommend you choose a wide variety of healthy carbohydrates to get all the vitamins and minerals you need each day.

Clinic Tip: Check out registered dietitian Elaine Magee's recipe collection to help boost the fiber in your diet or let her help you make over your favorite recipe with the addition of fibrous fruits and vegetables.

10. Reward yourself
Have a list of incentives to choose from when you hit small goals such as 5 or 10 pounds of weight loss or getting regular exercise. That will boost your self-esteem, and studies say self-esteem can keep you from succumbing to emotional eating. The only warning, don't use food as a reward. Try a spa service, detailed car wash, go to the movies in the afternoon, call or write an old friend, or my favorite, go shopping.

Clinic Tip: We are all about rewards here at the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic. Your weekly analysis provides you with positive feedback, and our supportive and dedicated team of staff members are available to cheer you on!

The WebMD Weight Loss Clinic is based on science and is dedicated to help you successfully lose weight and keep it off . We will be there for you every step of the way, helping you make small changes in your lifestyle and eating habits that will reward you with life-long results.

Originally published April 22, 2003
Medically updated Feb. 11, 2005.

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