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January is National Lose Weight Month

It’s no surprise that, with all of the resolutions being made by nearly half the country, January just happens to be Weight Loss Month. Though losing weight can be beneficial in terms of long term health,  longevity, physical fitness and other facets of life, it should be a personal choice made because the person wants to lose weight for him or herself—not because it’s what your mother, your spouse, or society in general expects of you. It’s true that there are many obese people who could benefit from weight loss; it’s equally true that many of them function just fine, and that there are also plenty of healthy, slender people who believe themselves “fat” and plan on dieting to become “model thin.”

The best thing to do before embarking on a weight loss journey is talk to a doctor you trust. He or she can direct you to a healthy weight, let you know if you are really as “fat” as you think you are, and make some recommendations for safe, healthy weight loss. Once you have made the decision to lose weight, here are some strategies you might consider.

Keep a food journal. This is a tried and true method used by thousands of people in losing weight. Even if you don’t stick with it, it helps you see just how many calories you consume each day and where you might want to make a few cuts. Perhaps you’re drinking many of your calories without even realizing it; many people do. In your food journal, simply note everything you eat—from condiments to main courses and everything in between, as well as beverages—and how many calories each food has. You can get that information from an online source, such as CalorieCount. Then, at the end of the day, add up your totals.

Drink plenty of water. This will help you feel fuller and keep you from overeating. It will also help you stay hydrated without adding calories to your diet.

Swap a meal with a salad. If you use a very light dressing you could probably even eat as much as you like.

Move your body. Take the stairs, enroll in a class, grab an exercise DVD—whatever you do, make sure you sweat for at least twenty minutes a day. It’s okay to start smaller with just a minute or two if you need to and work your way up.