facebook_event_1434198726871488Most people who try to lose weight focus on one thing: weight loss. However, if you set goals, eat healthy foods, and are physically active, then you may be more successful at losing weight. Here’s how you can do that!

1. Be a SMART planner. Follow the “SMART” goals framework (Specific, Measured, Appropriate, Realistic, Time-bound). For example, if your goal is to eat healthy, write down what foods you plan to eat, how many fruits and vegetables you can realistically eat each day, and for how long. Start with small and short goals and work your way up.

2. Make yourself an offer you can’t refuse. Offer yourself a promise — and keep it! “If I reach my goal this (date), I will treat myself to a well-deserved (reward).” Don’t be afraid to reward yourself frequently as you reach your goals.

3. Keep on eye on the size. Did you know that we eat most of what is on our plate no matter what the size of the plate? (Check out this fascinating research by Brian Wansink).  Try using smaller plates, eat smaller portions, and share an entree with your friend, a family member, or significant other.

4. Balance your food checkbook. Keep a food diary and record what you eat and how much physical activity you get each day. Record your weight weekly. Share this information with your provider and plan to find the best way to achieve your goal. If you like mobile apps, try the MyFitnessPal food and exercise diary app.

5. Am I full yet? It’s kind of a trick question! It takes 15 minutes or more for the message “I am full” to get from our stomachs to our brains. So, think twice about jumping in too quickly for the next helping! Getting your daily dose of water can fill you up and also keep you refreshed. Raw vegetables and fruits also help you feel fuller — and they are packed with healthy vitamins and nutrients.

6. How much exercise is enough? Thirty minutes of moderate physical activity daily is essential most days of the week to help you burn unwanted calories. Daily activities such as using the stairs, gardening, and walking count. Remember to reward yourself when you get your thirty minutes in!

Get more tips from NHLBI’s “Aim for a Healthy Weight.”

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