Tips For Losing Weight Safely

If You're Overweight, Slim Down for Better Health

 Overweight people have an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and other illnesses. Losing weight reduces the risk. This brochure tells you how to lose weight safely.

Ask Your Doctor About Sensible Goals

Your doctor or other health worker can help you set sensible goals based on a proper weight for your height, build and age.

Men and very active women may need up to 2,500 calories daily. Other women and inactive men need only about 2,000 calories daily. A safe plan is to eat 300 to 500 fewer calories a day to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week.

Exercise 30 Minutes A Day, Most Days

Do at least 30 minutes of exercise, like brisk walking, most days of the week.

The idea is to use up more calories than you eat. You need to use up the day's calories and some of the calories stored in your body fat.

Eat Less Fat and Sugar

This will help you cut calories. Fried foods and fatty desserts can quickly use up a day's calories. And these foods may not provide the other nutrients you need.

Tips for Cutting Calories and Fat

  • Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, and grain products like bread and rice.
  • Eat only small, single servings of foods high in fat or calories.
  • Eat less sugar and fewer sweets.
  • Drink less alcohol or no alcohol.
  • Choose foods whose labels say low, light or reduced to describe calories or fat.
  • Choose 1 percent or skim milk products and reduced fat cheeses.
  • Replace ice cream with fat-free frozen yogurt.
  • Replace sour cream with fat-free or low-fat plain yogurt.
  • Make sure fish, poultry and meat are lean. Trim skin and fat.
  • Broil, roast or steam foods.

Eat a Favorite Rich Food, Sometimes

That may keep you from craving it. But eat only a small amount.

Make sure your other foods that day are low in fat and calories.

Eat a Wide Variety Of Foods

Variety in the diet helps you get all the vitamins and other nutrients you need.

Watch Out for Promises of Quick And Easy Weight Loss

Fad diets aren't good because they often call for too much or too little of one type of food. As a result, you may not get important nutrients you need daily.

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn't true.

What About Diet Pills?

Diet pills you buy without a prescription won't make a big difference in how much you lose each week or how long you keep the weight off. If you do use them, read the label carefully. Because of possible side effects, like high blood pressure, never take more than the listed dose.

Also, be careful about taking cough or cold medicines with diet pills you buy without a prescription. These medicines may contain the same drug used in diet pills, or a similar drug with the same effects. If you take both products together, you may get too much of the same type drug. This can hurt you.

Ask your pharmacist if it's OK before taking a cough or cold medicine while using diet pills.

Prescription diet pills may help some people but they can be dangerous too. If you use them, follow your doctor's directions very carefully.

Ask Questions Before Signing Up For a Weight Loss Program

Does the Company:

  • Explain possible health risks from weight loss?
  • Explain all costs?
  • Include weight control over a long time?
  • Have proof of success, not just praise by other people?
  • Give a clear, truthful statement of how you're going to lose weight, including how much and how fast?
  • Teach how to eat healthfully and exercise more?

A good weight loss program should do all of these things.

Do you have more questions about weight loss? Ask your doctor.

Contacting the US Food and Drug Adminnistration

  • 1-888-INFOFDA (1-888-463-6332).
  • Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration, 5600 Fishers Lane (HFI-40), Rockville, MD 20857

(FDA) 98-1247 1