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One of the best things you can do to improve your overall health and longevity is to lose weight. However, losing weight can be quite challenging, as you may know all too well. Although there are many fads and gimmicks for weight loss on the market, the only lasting results will come from eating a sensible diet and getting regular exercise.

A vital part of successful weight loss is your diet – the foods you eat can help support your weight loss goals, or they can hinder them. The choice is yours. If you are like many of us, you likely have a nagging feeling that your diet could be healthier. It will be more difficult, however, to adopt a healthy diet without a clear idea of exactly what it is that you eat on a regular basis. We can often be surprisingly unaware of what we put into our mouths! Keeping a food diary can be an excellent way to become far more conscious about what you eat. In your food diary, you will record every single item of food that you eat, including all snacks. This food diary will be beneficial for at least two reasons. Once you record everything you eat for several weeks, you’ll be able to look at all your entries and get a far more accurate idea of how your diet measures up in terms of your average daily caloric intake, the amount of protein, carbs, and fats you consume on a daily basis, etc. Another reason to keep a food journal is that many people find that recording every single thing they eat has the unintended consequence of making them eat less and making healthier food choices.

Along with a healthy diet, regular exercise is a vital part of any weight loss plan. Once you start exercising, record the amount you exercise in your food journal. Recording all of your exercises – the amount of time you work out, along with the date – will help you stay accountable to yourself. And looking back on your exercise log will help you feel proud of yourself and will help motivate you to keep it up. Find some type of exercise that you enjoy. Do you like hiking? Running? Dancing? Engage in some type of physical activity at least four times a week for an hour each time. (Of course, you’ll want to run all of your exercise plans past your doctor first.)

Resist the temptation to let the numbers on the scale define how you feel about your diet and exercise endeavors. Weigh yourself once a week and if the numbers don’t move, focus on how your clothes are fitting. Muscle weighs more than fat, so it is very possible to weigh the same but be leaner than when you started.

Losing weight – and successfully keeping that weight off – will require both diet and exercise changes. Keeping a record of your exercising and eating activity will help you stay accountable. Focus more on how your clothes are fitting, rather than on your weight.

We have not received any compensation for writing this post. We have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that we have mentioned.