Weight loss is the main reason nearly two-thirds of American’s are on a diet, yet only 1 in 8 people have an accurate idea of how many calories they really need to accomplish their goal. According to a survey from the International Food Information Council Foundation, more than half of the people were unable to even guess the number of calories necessary to maintain their weight and 25% wouldn’t even attempt a guess.

The health implications of this finding are of critical importance to those overweight or obese individuals who are unsuccessfully trying to lose weight. Excess fat, especially in the mid section is directly linked with increased incidence of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, many cancers and even Alzheimer’s disease.

The fact that so many people don’t know their daily caloric intake, and more importantly, the calories required to lose weight and attain a desired goal, means they are destined to fail in any weight loss attempt. These tips will provide the essential basics to begin a healthy weight loss lifestyle and reduce the inherent risks of carrying those excess pounds.

Tip 1. Monitor Calories and Track with Nutritional Software

The basis of any weight loss program requires a firm understanding of the number of calories consumed. The first step is to determine the number of calories required to hit your weight loss goal, and then the calories necessary to maintain that weight. Online calculators can provide the correct counts for you, based on your particular metrics and physical activity.

Once you have an idea of your daily calories, you’ll need to keep a record of all food and drink consumed using Nutritional Tracking Software. It’s important to be accurate, especially until you get a good feel for the calorie content of different foods. Choose foods from all different food groups, and avoid processed carbs, sugary sweets and fried foods. You’ll find you no longer have room for those empty calories, as you fill up on virtually unlimited quantities of nutritional, low calorie raw leafy greens and vegetables.

Tip 2. Set a Realistic Weight Goal and Time Frame

One of the primary reasons that dieters fail to achieve their weight goal is because they haven’t set an attainable goal and time frame. It’s important to keep in mind that your excess weight didn’t appear overnight, and you’ll need to allow enough time to drop the pounds in a healthy way. Also, don’t set your end goal too low, as your body will switch into survival mode and resist dropping below a certain plateau weight. Plan to drop between .5 to 2 pounds per week, as losing faster than this will cause the fat to release stored toxins into your blood which can have negative health implications.

Tip 3. Pull It Together with Exercise

Most people attempting to lose weight know that they need to eat less and exercise more. The vast majority of people trying to lose weight don’t incorporate any type of regular exercise into their plan. While it’s possible to drop weight without physical activity, you are destined to fail because you significantly increase the chance of hitting a weight block plateau.

Dieters who incorporate exercise are 4 times more likely to avoid the body’s natural resistance to a reduced calorie diet, and achieve a healthy weight. Get serious about a regular fitness program, and plan 20 – 30 minutes at least 3 days a week. Use an exercise chart to keep track of your progress.

Weight loss requires a total commitment and lifestyle change to deliver the permanent results your body deserves. In order to achieve your goal, you must understand the mechanics of weight loss. Set your weight goal and time frame, and determine your daily calorie requirements to drop to a realistic weight. Get physical and avoid the weight loss plateau, the most common cause of failure. Dropping weight isn’t easy, but the reward is a happier and healthier you.

Author's Bio: 

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John Phillip is a Health Researcher and Author who writes regularly on the cutting edge use of diet, lifestyle modifications and targeted supplementation to enhance and improve the quality and length of life. Visit My Optimal Health Resource to continue reading the latest health news updates.